Author Topic: Bad School Memories  (Read 4358 times)

Offline ercillor

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Bad School Memories
« on: August 24, 2010, 03:57:09 PM »
I thought it might be useful -- for so many of us -- to have a place in which we might record some of the hurts which came along with being 'educated' inside the NY Public School System of long, long ago; A sort of catharsis where we could relate -- perhaps for the first time in our lives -- what it was like to be 'taught' by some who should not have been teaching at all, but who wound up as 'teachers' in Jackson Heights. Whether you attended PS69, PS148, or any of the other public schools, here is a place where you can rid yourself of some very bad memories while sharing them with your fellow sufferers.

Please change their names in order to protect the innocent or, perhaps, the not-so-innocent.

Offline ercillor

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Re: Bad School Memories
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2010, 07:54:32 PM »
I thought it might be useful

Many years ago when I was about ten years old and the earth's surface had just begun to cool -- or so it seems now -- I attended class at PS148 where I met a Miss Katz whose many and varied neurotic 'difficulties' had been overlooked by the NY Public School authorities when they decided that she should be crowned with the title of 'teacher.'  Unfortunately the head which wore that crown was filled with so many wiring problems that the children who were assigned to her were hard put to learn anything and were sorely tormented in the process.

On one occasion our Miss Katz slapped a young girl classmate of mine who was French and did not yet speak English fluently enough for our tormentor (yes, Renee, if you ever read this please know that I still remember that day and your tears). The matter was resolved when my classmate's mother visited the school, entered into conversation with Miss Katz in the hallway outside our classroom and, somehow, was unable to prevent our 'teacher' from falling down a flight of stairs. The mother had survived Hitler's extermination camps and, quite apparently, knew how to deal with the Miss Katz's of this world in a definitive manner.

I did not possess such skills, however, and Miss Katz simply terrified me as was her intent. I travelled to school each morning in great fear of what would happen to me that day and wended my way home in fear of the day to follow. Finally I decided to run away. I left a note for my parents and walked from 90th St. and 34th Ave. all the way to Flushing Meadow park where I spent the day thinking what I might do next; the thought of suicide was not absent from a child's mind. Finally it began to grow dark and so, like many another runaway -- Beaver Cleaver comes to mind -- I began to walk home. That week I was taken out of Miss Katz's classroom and placed into a more hospitable -- and sane -- environment but I never forgot Miss Katz or the terrors which she had caused to well up inside me.

At seventy four years of age I'm very glad to have the opportunity to tell this story to whomever reads or writes here. I've never told it before -- ashamed to I guess -- and it strikes me that it may help some others, with similar experiences, to make a certain peace within themsleves.

    

Offline Kestral342

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Re: Bad School Memories
« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2010, 12:23:03 PM »
OMG  so many bad memories of the beloved school system that existed in the 50's and 60's. 1st of all I am sure I had ADHD but rather than be helped and counciled I of course was punished. I was put in the "bad row" in 4th grade. Sent to do time with the kindergarten kids, not allowed to go on school trips, told to sit in a coat closet. I was told by a teacher "Not to try anything" so I didn't   I was virtually the "King of Detention"  In junior high I was a small puny kid so I was bullied alot. How I escaped from the NYC school system alive is beyond me.
Irony of irony most of my professional life was spent as a tech support person for a high school district in New Jersey (28 years )

Offline ercillor

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Re: Bad School Memories
« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2010, 12:36:02 PM »
OMG  so many bad memories of the beloved school system that existed in the 50's and 60's. 1st of all I am sure I had ADHD but rather than be helped and counciled I of course was punished.

Kestral,

Care to say what school you attended, and when?  Your story sounds oh so familiar.  Welcome to the great society.

Offline Lilybell

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Re: Bad School Memories
« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2010, 02:41:55 PM »
My goodness, that Mrs. Katz sounds like a monster.  It amazes me what teachers used to get away with.  That woman should not have been allowed near children.  I'm glad you got out of her class.

I was lucky to attend a very good public school out on the east end of Long Island, but I did have an awful male 5th grade teacher that would hang boys by their ankles out of a 3rd floor window for punishment.  Oh, and a 3rd grade teacher tried to kiss me when I was in 7th grade (this was a small school so we were all in one building). I reported him and no one did anything.  I still can't believe how dumb I was - even though I reported him, I never told my parents because my dad was the police captain and I didn't want it to become a big thing.  That teacher later started a "relationship" with another young girl in my class and multiple people complained to the school administration and still nothing happened.  It was such an eye-opener for me that doing the right thing doesn't always help.

Offline Kestral342

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Re: Bad School Memories
« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2010, 05:33:33 PM »
Oh geeez Senior moments I attended good ol' PS-69  Dis-favorite teachers were Miss Hald (2nd grade teacher that banished me to the kindergarten class) Mrs Audrey Schlang (4th grade teacher that put me in the last seat in the last row the "bad row" and prevented me from attending school trips) and Finally Miss McKee that had me sit in the coat closet. Also attended JHS-145 were I was bullied on a regular basis. Fond school memories?    NOT!!!!

Offline Really4rob

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Re: Bad School Memories
« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2010, 06:16:48 PM »
Wow, I had my share of horror stories as a kid in Jackson Heights schools too ...

I was on a free ride to Garden School for 1st thru 3rd grades, as I was almost two years younger than my classmates, but supposedly really bright.  My third grade teacher, Eluto I think her name was, would punish me for talking in class by taking away my multiplication stars (earned for each row of the table you memorized).  She was eventually sanctioned when teh Hofstra Gifted program, who funded my tuition, came in to get involved.  (Keep in mind, I was 6 at the start of 3rd grade.)  My 2nd grader teacher, I forget hername, but I recall finishing the ENTIRE SET of workbooks the first weekend we got them, and bringing them in to show her my 'surprise.'  Her response was 'that's not a good surprise."

Fourth grade and fifth I went to PS 69.  I was a bit of a behavior problem there too, mostly from a combination of boredom and undiagnosed hyperactivity, but my fourth grade teacher Ms Lutin really got me, and I spent Fridays in the office 'working' for Mr, Stienberg, the principal.  She was so cool!

However, my 5th grade teacher was a neurotic mess.  He would wing chalk at us, yell at kids (I recall a threat to my friend that there would be "one less black student in this class.), and generally had no patience.  He gave us all books for Christmas, biographies he said.  Mine was Captians Couragoes, not a biography.  Why is that a big deal?  Our homework over the break was to write a report on the biography he bought us.  I did my report, I bought it in.  He accused me of losing the book he bought for me.  Andf gave me an F.  I walked right out the room to the principal (who was on last days before becoming principal of my soon to be junior high IS 145), and told him.  The teacher followed me to say what he bought me, yadda yadda, and that I shouldn't walk out of class, etc.

I brought the book, complete with his "Merry Christmas Robert" insciption in the cover, into school the next day.  One of the coolest things I did as a kid, I opened it up in front of the teacher, and said do I ask for pass to go downstairs, or do I get my recess periods back (they were taken away for 'losing the book').  Let's just say punchball that day was great.

(At 145, being 9 going on 10 and a 6th grader, I was lucky that the assistant princiapl Ms Mayo connectedw ith me, andguided me through the world of junior high.  The only bad teacher I there was Franzoni, who somehow nearly failed me in math despite me being one of the stars of the math team.)

Sounds like an elementary school horror story, huh?  Happy ending ... graduated Bronx Sceince at 16, college at 20, and a 4.0 in my Masters in Special Ed soon after.  I've been teaching special education for the city for almost 20 years, my class is videoed for exemplary teaching practices almost every year (a national DVD that wasreleased by the DOE just last year features me teaching both within and as the credits) ...

I'll hopefully have a better 'old days story though' ... see my son, also on the spectrum, has his own horror stories to tell about neighbor schools.  A combination of great teachers, bad teachers, great support staff, horrible principal, superior assistant principal, threats from parents, and apology calls to my home from the superintendant ... I actually had a hand in creating a program for him by fighting the DOE to make it happen ... that is a tale that makes my own trials seem like nothing ... but as this is about memories, I'll let him post in 20 years ...
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Offline sl

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Re: Bad School Memories
« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2010, 09:26:34 PM »
At IS 145, the worst memory was the day they informed us that a fellow student was stabbed to death when some thugs tried to steal his walkman. I don't know the student but it was quite tragic.

Offline ercillor

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Re: Bad School Memories
« Reply #8 on: August 26, 2010, 11:00:00 AM »
At IS 145, the worst memory was the day they informed us that a fellow student was stabbed to death when some thugs tried to steal his walkman. I don't know the student but it was quite tragic.

Yes, Jackson Heights and its school scene has changed a lot over the years. The crimes are much worse than before.

Offline Hank Stamper

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Re: Bad School Memories
« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2010, 11:22:42 AM »
 My years at PS 69 were great and I had wonderful teachers - with the exception of 3rd Grade when I had Mrs. D (I will not use her name here out of a sense of decency).  Three incidents stand out: During a penmanship lesson (yes that was a subject back then) we were leaning script and the first letter we learned was e. This was followed by i and then t. The assignment was to write an entire page of these three letters. I did that and then showed some initiative by linking the three and spelling "tie."  I was so proud of myself. Mrs. D walked up and down the rows inspecting our work and when I pointed out how I linked the letters and spelled a word she yelled at the top of her lungs” WHO TOLD YOU TO LNK THE LETTERS" and promptly ripped up my paper.  Good encouragement for learning.

On an afternoon in late November, I went to the bathroom and some of the older kids were standing around talking in a shocked manner -- President Kennedy was shot.  I went back to class and told Mrs. D, who then proceeded to ream me out in front of the class about how foolish I was to listen to rumors. A few minutes later the news was shared with the school. She never apologized or even acknowledged her mistake.

Finally, it was the last week in June – you remember, when school was basically over and they didn’t know what to do with us, so they invented activities and filled the time with nonsense.  At 2PM we were marched down to the cafeteria to find, the tables filled with books -- mostly discarded textbooks and library books. We were told that we could take any book we wanted.  My friend and I walked around and around looking for a "cool" book on something like sports, rocks, planes...  Mrs. D came over and us what was taking so long? We told her we were looking for a really cool book. She yelled at us to "find a book and get the hell out of here!”

My friend and I looked at each other, grabbed a book and left the building. We had had a few early dismissals over the previous two weeks so this made sense. The next day we arrived at school and our classmates told us we were in major trouble for leaving school.  We had to go to the principal’s office and were interrogated by him individually.  He then called Mrs. D down and we told our story in front of her. She denied it and we both emphatically jumped all over it.  She hemmed and hawed a bit and clearly the principal believed us. We were dismissed and she had to stay behind. She returned to the classroom a bit shaken.  I’ve kept these stores to myself for 47 years. Thanks for allowing me to vent.

Offline taggie

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Re: Bad School Memories
« Reply #10 on: August 27, 2010, 11:57:18 AM »
Am posting this account which relates to Rob's story of my father in laws NYC education. He was also considered bright
and not being challenged in class and was skipped in a number of grades including 9th and 11th. He was in the first
graduating class of Newtown High which had him finished with school at 15. He went to a conservatory for music about
20 hours from home and was so ill equipped to handle life in college he came back to Lubet Street and went in the
military after a year. He was married by 19 and had a house full of kids by age 25. He was a life long learner but
sadly, the times were not able to mesh with his academic abilities and emotional age. As Rob notes, it seems a lot
better now and hopefully will improve with every generation. Does anyone know of a talented/gifted program here
in Jackson Heights? Or do these kids have to travel far away?

Offline ercillor

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Re: Bad School Memories
« Reply #11 on: August 27, 2010, 01:10:49 PM »
He was in the first
graduating class of Newtown High which had him finished with school at 15.

What year was that?

Offline taggie

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Re: Bad School Memories
« Reply #12 on: August 27, 2010, 02:59:16 PM »

He was in the first
graduating class of Newtown High which had him finished with school at 15.

What year was that?

He's gone a couple years so I can't ask.  But if I do the math that I know about it seems like he
would have been 15 in about 1943. This doesn't compute with the Newtown HS as I now checked
but wonder if there was some new aspect/building/program that he was referring to. First name
was Eugene and he was a jazz musician.

Jackson Heights Life

Re: Bad School Memories
« Reply #12 on: August 27, 2010, 02:59:16 PM »