A few days ago I talked about junior high and said that I was excited to be there at Lakeview Junior High. Well, let’s move onto high school. I went to Downers Grove South High School which was in the same school district as Lakeview. Now some students love high school and some hate it. So you have a love and hate relationship with students. Guess where I fell under?
That’s right. I hated it with a capital H. I felt like I was in jail for four years. Why did I hate it so much? I will talk about three reasons for hating high school so much.
No Aide in Class
The first thing was that I had no aides with me in my classes. You are saying so what. When you have to rely on other students for notes, you have to listen really well in class or read the textbook. Most of the time you couldn’t read them at all. The handwriting was terrible. Another reason was that the student might not have written something down that might be important because they didn’t think it was important or they knew it already. So I couldn’t do anything about it.
Besides bad notes, I could not start doing homework if the teacher gave us time to start it. If it was like ten minutes of class, I could not find a person in the special education room and start my homework in ten minutes. So I just sat there and waited.
I did all of my homework at home. Everything took time. I was up until midnight or later doing homework. I was so tired and couldn’t think straight. Weekends were fun. Right? The answer is a big and fat NO! I worked on homework Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday. I said that high school was a jail for me.
When tests came especially English and math, they always took longer than the class time. Four of the five days I had therapy during my study hall. Finish a test instead of going to therapy was against the law. I felt like education was not important for the staff there. I had tests waiting to be finished for days. I had a math test right before Christmas break. I had to wait for two weeks to finish it. It was no fun at all.
The second thing was making friends. That was not on my radar. I am not saying that I didn’t want to have friends rather I didn’t have time to talk with friends. Between classes, we just had five minutes to get to our next class, and we had three floors with one elevator. We had between 3000 and 4000 students in the halls. The hallway was jam-packed so when I used my power chair, I hit students by accident, some of them called names at me.
Back in the 80’s, there was no bullying like today. I feel bad for the students who are being bullied because it really hurts when students call you names. In my high school, the students didn’t remember that I hit them so that helped somewhat. I didn’t want to use my power chair because I was scared of hitting people and be called names.
Friends from Junior High
Like I said before that I had friends in Junior high. Since we moved to the same high school, why didn’t I hang out with them? That is a valid question. Now Downers Grove South High School is huge compared to Lakeview. You could not find your friends. I have to be fed so I ate in the special ed room rather than in the regular cafeteria. So I could not find them during lunch if I wanted to. Besides that, there were six periods for lunch so I might not find my friends even though I ate in the cafeteria.
You are asking about parties. Since I didn’t have any close friends, nobody invited me to parties at all. You see why I call high school jail. I went to the homecoming dances every year, but they were not fun as in Junior high because most of the students had girlfriends or boyfriends. When you saw girls who you liked with guys, you felt lonely and out of place.
I know that all of this sounds morbid, but I wanted to give you a clear picture of what high school was like for me. If you are a parent of a child with a disability, your child might have the same experience as me or it might be worse. Who knows. I wanted to give you a clear picture of what I felt like during high school.
Did my parents know how I felt? The answer is no. If I told them back then, what could they do? I don’t think they could do much. If my mom talked to the staff, they would say to drop some classes and go one more year to high school. I didn’t want to do that at all. During my Junior year, they asked me if I wanted to stay one more year or two. I said one more year and I knew that they didn’t like it. I didn’t care one bit.
Looking back on high school, I made the right decision. You will understand why in the next blog post will be about college.