First, Last; High, Low; Smart, Slow

Share Now

I was in elementary school the first time I remember getting angry at a teacher. From third grade through sixth grade, the students in each grade were divided by academic ability. Each grade had a top class, a middle class, and a lower class–and we all knew which was which. Isn’t that just terrible!

I have a feeling that we were grouped by ability in the second grade, too. It wasn’t as obvious to me then, perhaps because I was too young to understand quite yet. I’m pretty sure I was not in the top class.

Charlene cropped
Judging from the status of my teeth (or lack thereof), I think I must have been in second grade here. I am wearing one of my school dresses. We all wore dresses every day.

After second grade, I was always in the top classroom, which does not mean that I was better than any other kid. I was just learning how to jump through the academic hoops. I mention it only because you need to know my class to understand my story.

Our class program is the only educational activity I remember in detail from my first experience in a top class. I was a bunny. Mother made me white flannel footed pajamas (so I could sleep in them later) and a white flannel hood with bunny ears.

Fellow “top student” Delia Hallums, who took ballet and tap, taught us bunnies how to do the most basic tap dance. I have never forgotten the steps. Sometimes when we stop at a service station to use the bathroom and I have eaten too many snacks in the car and I am feeling like some exercise might do me some good and there are no other ladies in the ladies room, I do Delia’s tap dance:

Tap, step, tap, step, heel, toe, step, clap,
Side step, side step, step, jump, jump!

Since a few of my childhood friends read this, I won’t tell you which year I got mad at our teacher, because then they would know who she was. I wouldn’t have mentioned which level I was either in if that information wasn’t pertinent to my story.

When we were in the ____ grade, our teacher got upset with one of my close friends. I’ll call her Debbie. The teacher told her in front of all of us that she had barely made it into the top class and that she was the lowest student in our class. My young heart was appalled and I hurt so much for my friend.

First, last; high, low; smart, slow–Jesus had some things to say about that.

They came to Capernaum; and when He was in the house,
He began to question them, “What were you discussing on the way?”
But they kept silent, for on the way they had discussed with one another which of them was the greatest.
Sitting down, He called the twelve and said to them,
“If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.”
Mark 9:33-35

Share Now

One comment

  1. Thanks for sharing this very poignant story, Charlene. My heart hurts for little Debbie too – even though it was so many years ago. I’ve never understood the people who told me I was doing my children a disservice by sheltering them from the hurts they would likely have experienced in “regular” school. To my way of thinking, my girls were rare and beautiful orchids who would thrive best in a protected greenhouse, rather than strewn willy-nilly on the unpredictable, stormy ground outside. Thank goodness for God’s greenhouse of homeschool! 🙂 Oh, and everyone who ever meets my girls (now 14 and 16) marvels at how “socialized” they are, how they can easily relate to and converse with others in any setting they find themselves in. LOL!! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *