Looking back now, would you say you were a good, fair, or struggling student?
I was a fair student for most of my schooldays. I got A’s, B’s and C’s in most subjects although I did badly in things like art, home science and sports.
How often were your school efforts reported to your parents?
We got our reports at the end of every term. Back in those days we had a three-term school year not the four terms common in Australian schools today.
Did you receive letter grades, i.e. A, B, C, etc?
Yes, I did. The worst thing you could get was “U”. That was a fail. I can’t recall being told why we used the letter U along with A, B, C, D.
Was your behavior reported on your progress reports or report cards?
There was usually a space for the teachers’ comments in the little booklet our reports came in.
In what subjects did you excel and which subjects were a challenge?
Not surprisingly I was good at English and I enjoyed it. I did quite well in History and Geography. I was OK at Science and Maths. When I was in my first two years of High School, I did French and German and I was quite good at those until I had to change schools because we moved. The new school taught French in a totally different manner from my old one. That school had concentrated on speaking and understanding, the new school had a grammar-based curriculum and I was lost because I had not been taught it. I went from an A to a fail and had got back up to a C by the end of the year.
I was bad at art; it wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy it but I couldn’t seem to produce nice work. I actually don’t think we should have been graded on our art works as it was very subjective. The teacher either liked your work or they didn’t. I always tried. We were not studying art theory or anything that would have involved research and answering questions. I would have been better at that. I think I usually just passed it.
I hated domestic science. I was bad at sewing and didn’t like cooking at school that much either, as the teachers I had were nasty. I always seemed to fail that subject or just scrape by.
I was totally uncoordinated then as I still am and I didn’t enjoy sport. I was afraid of being hit in the face by balls and breaking my glasses, I was scared of falling and didn’t want to jump or climb and I didn’t run fast. I usually tried to avoid that class if I could. I didn’t enjoy being expected to shower and dress in five or ten minutes along with twenty other girls either. It was uncomfortable to put on a uniform with a shirt and tie when I still felt damp. I had long hair in those days too.
Did you ever try to change your grade? Turning a C into a B for example?
Not really. I was never interested enough to work for grades. If I enjoyed a subject, I worked hard at it. If I didn’t, I did enough work to pass. I usually did my homework so that I wouldn’t get into trouble with the teacher but I didn’t really care about it.
Did you keep any of your report cards?
There are a couple of them around somewhere. I haven’t seen them for a long time but I know I still have at least one.
Did you get rewarded for good grades? Punished for ‘bad’ grades?
I was never punished for bad grades. In Primary school mum would sometimes buy me a book if I had a good report card. That she was pleased was usually enough for me though.
Did the subjects you excelled in prove to be where you excelled in life?
Well, I have been a blogger for nearly nine years now so I guess that enjoyment of English did lead to this.
What was your biggest detraction from your school work?
If I’m honest I didn’t enjoy school very much. I was shy, I didn’t like teachers who yelled or were sarcastic and I didn’t like having to perform in front of others or do group activities that I wasn’t good at. I did enjoy some subjects and I liked being able to read, write and listen to discussions even though I didn’t take much part unless I was asked. I had a few teachers I really liked because they made lessons interesting and because they talked to us about things that I thought were important. My life outside school was much more important to me though. I wanted time to read, play with my dolls, go out to see different places, often with my camera in hand, or just be at home with my family and pets. Anything rather than be at school really. I didn’t even want to join the Girl Guides as I felt it would just be another version of school. I was never bored in the holidays and could not understand why other kids were.