Those who follow my adventures will be aware that I have recently started volunteering at a local elementary school twice a week. This is a type of therapy for me, helping me to avoid my agoraphobic tendencies and adding to my mental and physical exercise while providing a bit of help for a few teachers and students in the process. Yesterday I told a newly graduated teacher that I had not gone to Kindergarten and that there were no Preschools when I was a child. I'm not sure she actually believed me. The year she was born I was helping monitor preschoolers in family childcare.
Due to my October birthday I entered first grade at the age of five, so what I'm seeing at school probably mirrors my first grade experience. I don't remember doing the story writing that modern American school children engage in. After the initial shock of leaving my mother and entering school I have two memories of my first year at school. One was learning to write. I was one of perhaps 4 or 5 children in my huge first grade class who was left-handed. The class was instructed on how to place the paper on the desk and how to hold the pencil, then the lefties were instructed to slant the paper the opposite way while holding the fat blue pencil in our left hands. I remember being in the midst of the righties with my paper turned the leftie way and succumbing to that early peer pressure and tilting my paper their way. (This is what encourages the hook-handed posture of many lefties.) I battled the peer pressure/teacher pressure till I went home that evening. My father asked me what I had learned in school that day and as I started to demonstrate writing he observed my method of coping and told me in no uncertain terms that I would turn my paper the proper way for a leftie and keep my wrist flat on the desk. After all, neither my mother nor sister hooked their hands in such an awkward way to write. I often wonder what would have happened if I had been born into a right-handed family. My second memorable first grade experience had to do with numbers. I don't really remember what we were learning about them, but I wasn't learning it. Apparently several chances had been given to comply with an assignment and I had failed to comply. The punishment was to stay indoors while the rest of the class went outside for recess and working on the now forgotten concept.