My daughter finished seventh grade this past week, and I think I was more relieved than she. She had a world of medical challenges this year, but somehow she managed to push on through. I couldn’t be more proud of her, but all her schooling — the classroom assignments and homework — exhausted me.
I realize my memory is fading like blue jeans in bleach, but I don’t recall 7th grade being so demanding. I found myself wondering whether I would need to attend some kind of refresher homework seminar just to be able to help her with some of her studies.
Fortunately, she had amazing teachers. They not only tried to understand her challenges, but they also worked with her from first day to last. In my experience with the Clark County School District, I have long found this to be the case. While public education gets criticized, often by people whose children don’t actually attend public school, the teachers I’ve encountered have been qualified and professional.
It is to them I dedicate this remembrance of being “self taught” by St. Mark of Missouri.
From a story called “Taming the Bicycle,“ Twain wrote, “The self-taught man seldom knows anything accurately, and he does not know a tenth as much as he could have known if he had worked under teachers; and, besides, he brags, and is the means of fooling other thoughtless people into going and doing as he himself had done. There are those who imagine that the unlucky accidents of life – life’s "experiences" – are in some way useful to us. I wish I could find out how. I never knew one of them to happen twice. They always change off and swap around and catch you on your inexperienced side.”
Here’s to not being caught on our inexperienced side.