My Education: The First Memory

I am starting a new series on how I remember my education. By some miracle I went from a special ed classroom to four post-secondary degrees and a steady career in higher education. I know there is a story there. I just need to find it.

This little series I will revisit on this blog will share how I remember my journey as a student, a teacher, and a person who supports teaching and teachers. I will tag all of these with My Education for future reference (for me and the reader).

Some of these posts will be fragments and some will be longer vignettes and anecdotes. Hope you enjoy my self-exploration.


We stood up to say the pledge of allegiance and I screamed it in a high-pitched, funny voice. Ms. McQueen took me out of the classroom and I was not allowed to say the pledge with the rest of the students for the rest of that week. This is the earliest and most enduring memory of my education.

That morning another kid in the class was also acting out. Why not mimic something that was getting a laugh from the other kids in the class, I thought. There is no better feeling than being the center of attention for a kid. I had a deep urge for some kind of positive attention.

When the teacher scolded me for my little display of disrespect to the flag and the class I felt dread. I could hear my heartbeat as the numb sensation of blood rushed to my head. Her voice sounded muffled and my vision blurred. My eyes we stuck on my feet. For one moment I felt like a horrible person. I had done something wrong and had to pay for that offense through isolation. Feeling left out was the worst punishment I could have had. My teacher succeeded.

Maybe she succeeded a little to well. From that 10 minutes of shame onward I never felt part of the “in” crowd but always a little on the outside looking in. My voice was stolen from me that day. I took a rear position in the society of schooling. My strategy became drafting off of the charisma of others hoping to get validated just for keeping up.

This was kindergarten.