Did you struggle in Elementary School more than later years?

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05 Dec 2017, 10:49 am

I was always getting in trouble in Elementary School. I had problems with hitting/throwing things at other kids and not doing my work; I remember we got these packets of things to do each week, and I would often fall behind and have to do them at home. Then I started to hide them in my desk so I wouldn't have to do them, and my parents were impressed that I had stopped having to take them home. But after I was found out, I not only had to take them home, but I had to stay inside during recess to do them. I was also bullied a lot during those years, which was often why I acted so aggressive (although I would also react violently to nice kids when I was in a bad mood). I can recall multiple instances where the teacher(s) had to try and get me to stop crying. Once when my grandmother came to pick me up after school, she had to come into the classroom to get me because I was hiding behind the teacher's desk yelling stuff like "What's wrong with me?!" and "Nobody likes me!" I think that might've been my first experience with loneliness.

I was picked on a lot in Middle School too, but it was mostly verbal then, whereas in Elementary School it was both verbal and physical. And while I did most of my homework in Middle School, I had to retake almost every test because I kept getting low scores. Now I almost never get bullied, and I've gotten much better at keeping up with my work (although I've been on a bad procrastinating streak as of late).

Is this similar to anyone else's experience?


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06 Dec 2017, 7:57 pm

Even at age 54, I still do my own thing. I've just gotten much better choosing a context where it appears normal.

For example, during recess in kindergarten and elementary school I can remember wandering aimlessly around. And somehow, an occasional other kid would find this so offensive that he would hit me in the face. People would also do this dirty trick where one person would pretend to talk to me in a friendly way, while someone else would get on their hands and knees behind me, and then the person talking to me would push me backwards over this person.

Now, I still take walking breaks after intellectual work. For example, after doing work on the Internet at the library, I often take a long walk through a nice neighborhood, no problem! :D

------------------

And I can kind of remembering becoming an adult in 5th grade (age 11). Our teacher who I didn't like had talked about how the buses were dangerous. And I can remember looking at the school buses and deciding, I know how to take care of myself.



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09 Dec 2017, 4:49 am

I had a lot of problems in skewl due to bullying & learning problems due to my physical, learning & mental disabilities. Things got better for me in the middle of 6th grade cuz my parents found out about a skewl for dyslexia which I have & I switched to that skewl. Things went at a much slower pace & learning was a lot more individualized. I also wasn't bullied too much there. It didn't do high-skewl thou so I went to a high-skewl for my last 4 years of skewl. I wasn't bullied too much in high-skewl at least overtly but looking back I can realized that some other kids were making fun of me in fairly obvious ways but I was just too simple to realize it. Some of my classes were harder than others for me but I took more & more easy classes each year due to taking more & more electives & taking the easiest classes I could. It was a college-prep skewl but I had NO desire at all to go to college due to my learning problems. I also didn't have a clue what jobs I could do that needed a college degree due to all my disabilities. I never regretted not going.


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MariaTheFictionkin
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09 Dec 2017, 4:58 am

nick007 wrote:
I had a lot of problems in skewl due to bullying


Same. That was pretty much my reason why I struggled a lot. I personally don't have a learning disability nor any problems passing my classes in that regard, but the stress from being mistreated made me procrastinate a lot and struggle with keeping focus on school work without thinking about what my classmates would do to me the next day.

Although I never repeated a grade throughout my elementary and high-school years... I did have to drop out from a college due to not being able to cope with my anti-social issues and other stress to be able to keep up with school work....My mother was very upset with me that day and didn't take into consideration all that I was going through...She wouldn't let me see a therapist and forced me to work for a while... But now I'm back in college again, doing online courses. It's a bit better now...


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09 Dec 2017, 11:35 am

I had my share of rough patches in elementary school mainly between kindergarten and second grade. Honestly, I'm still surprised I didn't repeat first grade. That year was horrible for me. But, it was mainly because I acted out and my mom thought I had lead paint poisoning until it was proven otherwise. Part of it was mainly because my home life was so messed up (e.g. abusive stepfather, my mom and him arguing back and forth, sexual abuse, etc.) While things didn't really change for the better due to my mom's emotional instability, I started going on my best behavior between third and fifth grade. However, I still had some rough days here and there but not as bad as kindergarten and first grade.

Going forward to middle and high school, that's when I knew I was different. I was still placed in special ed classes until maybe 7th grade when I was put in an inclusion program with kids who didn't have IEPs. Needless to say, lots of kids teased and bullied me for being in a special homeroom. It was so embarrassing especially at the first middle school I went to. What made matters worse was how it was in an upper class area which meant some kids automatically looked down on others who had less than them. Once I got out of special ed, I was teased for other things including acting slow.

By high school, the teasing tapered off a little bit. 9th grade there was a girl in my gym class who teased me for being slow in sports and said I was retarded along with her friend. 10th grade was a bad year for other reasons related to my mom's declining mental state. 11th and 12th grade, although I did have a bad patch in my junior year, were pretty much a blur and I was just too focused on graduating so mom could get off my back.



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05 Feb 2018, 11:49 am

Yeah, Primary school was a difficult time for me. :(

I think the main problem with my Primary school was the overall general lack of care. There were times where the school was left completely unattended, and that’s not an exaggeration. I remember coming back to the school from the dentist with my dad, to find that we couldn’t find the head teacher, or any teachers for that matter. No one was watching the kids in the playground, and after searching the staff room, all the classrooms, the playground, and the cafeteria, we eventually found one dinner lady. My dad asked her where all the teachers were, and she just shrugged and went back to mopping the floor.

This was actually a fairly common occurrence, I didn’t realise that it was unusual until I moved up to Secondary school and told people about it. Often year 6’s were expected to act like substitute teachers, and that was a lot of pressure for a 10-year-old.

People would tell me “You are 10 now, so you have to be responsible”, and the teachers would sometimes leave the school unattended at break times, leaving us (the year 6’s) to look after the younger years by ourselves.

Leaving five 10-year-olds to look after two classes (reception and year 1) is not the best of ideas. For starters, we didn’t know what on Earth we were doing, none of us had ever gone through any form of teacher training, how were we supposed to look after 60 pupils? (about 30 or so in each class).

Also, have you ever tried to get a 4 or 5 year old to listen to you when you’re 10? Usually they just retorted “Well why should I listen to you? After all, you are just a kid like me and not a grown up” to which I would usually reply “I know that, but the teachers aren’t here right now, they put me in charge, and I just want to keep you safe and out of trouble”, but often it was no use.

I couldn’t be everywhere at the same time, so I had to keep switching between pupils trying my best to solve situations, and stop kids from killing either themselves or each other. The stress was down right unbearable at times. Always running around going “No, stop hitting that girl with toy trucks”, “Don’t run with those scissors”, “That’s not where the equipment goes”, “Don’t put that around your neck”, and “Books are for reading, not hitting each other with”, it was just chaos.

Looking back, I don’t think I was anywhere near emotionally ready to control a classroom, it put a lot of emotional strain on me, but I knew that I couldn’t give up because I had responsibilities, and someone had to keep them alive and stop them from strangling themselves with rope/string.

Keep in mind that I was just 10 when I had to deal with all this. Sometimes I think that a part of my childhood was taken away from me really, I couldn’t stop and enjoy being a child when I was 10 because I was expected to act like an adult, and take care of everyone even though I wasn’t emotionally ready to do so, and it should never have been my responsibility in the first place.

I was doing the job of the teachers, and not even being paid for it, because the teachers were often absent, and I grew up with this great pressure on me to look after everyone, and keep everything in control in a chaotic environment.

During Primary school I felt depressed and stressed a great deal of the time. The teachers knew I was being bullied but often did nothing about it, I got kicked throughout every single lesson, every single day throughout the year.
I just got used to having bruises down my leg and walking with a limp as every step ached with pain, because I didn’t have time to care about the pain I was going through, since I had two classes to take care of, and sometimes my back hurt as well since I got pushed into walls by this girl.

The receptions would sometimes beat us with sticks because there were no teachers around to stop them, we were left to our own devices a lot of the time and I felt hopeless. I dreaded school each day, but I didn’t want to give up on my responsibilities, I wanted to keep the young kids safe even if they sometimes beat me with sticks.

Lessons weren’t great either. They told me that there were no wrong answers when we did these subjective exercises, but then I would get in trouble for giving an answer that they didn’t like.

There were so many conflicting messages from my Primary school, that I was often left feeling unsure of myself and confused about what they wanted from me.

When they said that there were no wrong answers, what they really meant was “There are wrong answers, and what we just asked you was a leading question, but we’re not going to admit that it’s a leading question because we want it to seem like you reached the same conclusion as us by your own, even though it was totally set up so that you would reach that conclusion and only that conclusion, plus if you don’t reach the same conclusion as us we’re going to judge you even though we lied and said previously that any conclusion is fine because it’s a subjective exercise, but we’re going to treat it as if it’s objective”.

I often failed to pick up on this unwritten expectation, and gave answers that they didn’t like.

For example, there was a question about what we would do if we got stuck on a mountain. We were told that there was no wrong answer.

The expected answer was “Jesus would save me” (it was a religious school) but I didn’t say that.

I asked “But why am I stuck on a mountain? Did I climb it and not plan how I would get down? What equipment do I have? Is it possible for me to save myself? What about if I call a rescue squad? Can I get phone reception? How big is the mountain? What if Jesus doesn’t save me and someone or something else does? Maybe I’d be saved by a cat or a mountain lion or something, what do you think?”.

At this point the teacher grew annoyed at me. “The mountain part doesn’t matter! Jesus would save you, OK?”. I looked at her, and replied “But I thought you said there were no wrong answers”. The teacher faced me sternly “That is correct, yes”. I was confused. “But, if there are no wrong answers, then why can’t I be rescued by a cat instead of Jesus? I like cats, and that is what I imagined when you told us to imagine who would save us on the mountain”.

I wasn’t trying to be difficult on purpose, I was just an inquisitive child that liked to question things, and my teachers didn’t like that, and would’ve preferred if I just gave the answer they wanted.

So, I started to try and given them the answer they wanted, but I couldn’t quite get it right. One time the teacher wrote her answer on the board to yet another “subjective exercise”, so I copied it down hoping that I’d finally have an answer they like.

Instead, the teacher had a go at me and said that I needed to reach my own conclusion. “But, whenever I reach my own conclusion on things you say that it’s wrong! So, there’s clearly a set of answers that you want from me, so why shouldn’t I copy down your answer when it’s the answer you seem to want from us? If I sit here and put the honest conclusion I come to, you say it’s incorrect which suggests that there’s an objective correct answer” I complained.

“No, it’s subjective and you have to put your own conclusion” the teacher argued. “But I don’t even understand the question or any of these exercises, they don’t make any sense to me, you say it’s subjective but then congratulate students that put the answer you wanted, so how is it not objective? I don’t get it!” I remarked.

There was also another time, where I had to do candle meditation. We had to watch this candle flicker in the darkness, and then write what we saw. The expected answer was that we were to write in the picture of the candle things like “friends and family” and that the candle would help us focus on the things that are important in our lives.

At the time I didn’t realise that this was the point of the exercise, and took “write what you saw” too literally.

Personally, I didn’t see my friends and family, I saw a candle flickering and daydreamed about being stuck in a room, then had “Mama Mia” stuck in my head (“there’s a fire within my soul” is the lyric that made me start thinking about it).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CN6ZMsnB_2E

So, I wrote about that, and they were not impressed. I saw everyone else’s work and realised. Everyone else had put the same thing as each other, it was clear that people must’ve copied from someone in the room.

There was no originality what so ever, everyone had friends and family among other things in the same spot on the page, the teacher happily marked them correct, and as I stood in the queue I felt a sense of dread as I knew that I would not receive the same pleasant smile when I reached the front.

My teacher looked at my workbook, puzzled. “This is um…interesting…” she wrote. I felt like such an idiot. :x


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kraftiekortie
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05 Feb 2018, 11:57 am

Yep....a ridiculous amount of responsibility put on a ten-year-old. This indicates that they didn't think you were, in any sense, "disturbed" then. This seems like a school which really lost control.

I went to a more "strict" elementary school, where if you did something like chew gum in class, you might be suspended. If you misbehaved in class, you were sent to the hall, or the principal. And this was a "special" school for kids with all sorts of disorders. I was called "brain-damaged," then. Some of the other kids were "emotionally disturbed" or (sometimes) "retarded."

I struggled quite a bit. I was sent out to the hall often; once in a while, to the principal's office. I was bullied even by the other "disturbed" kids. The teachers were pretty good---but I frustrated them.



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05 Feb 2018, 4:31 pm

kraftiekortie wrote:
Yep....a ridiculous amount of responsibility put on a ten-year-old. This indicates that they didn't think you were, in any sense, "disturbed" then. This seems like a school which really lost control.


No, I wasn't considered disturbed, rather "a bad kid" or, at times, "crazy". I had a habit of acting out, and messed up a lot. Primary wasn't easy, I ended up hurting people that I really shouldn't have done.

The head teacher didn't like me, and I didn't like waiting outside her office much. She had these creepy life-like dolls on the seats outside her office, and I used to throw them on the floor, because I disliked the idea of sitting next to them. I got in fights with other kids, and would freak out when people got too close to me due to personal space issues.

Sometimes people would ask why the dolls were on the floor, I usually muttered something about not wanting to look into their "dead, unblinking eyes", and how I disliked the feel of them being near me. I realised it was for the most part irrational, but there was something about how they stared at you and had a big creepy smile that was unsettling.

Overtime, I stopped throwing them on the floor, and just turned them away from me, so I didn’t have to look at their creepy faces. I would sit on the edge of the seat as far away as possible from them.

When I think about it, I think my fear wasn’t completely about the dolls, but rather what they represented. They showed a fake emotion, an exaggerated happiness that simply wasn’t realistic and made me feel uncomfortable as a result.

I knew teachers which also showed this exaggerated happiness, but it never lasted, and they often snapped with time. One of the scariest concepts as a kid for me, was the idea of an unstable adult.

When my school counsellor had a mental breakdown in front of me, I didn’t know what to do. She said I was stupid, that I hadn’t learnt anything and that I was “Just making life harder for myself” and I “should just do things correctly”.

For a while I blamed myself for what happened, I thought “This is just what I do, I ruin people’s lives because I’m a terrible person, and I’m stupid for not knowing what people want from me, I’m a bad kid”.

Overtime I realised that it was probably because of something in her life, rather than because of me, but even so I had developed a fear of accidentally pushing people too far, to the point where I became anxious at the idea of asking teachers for help. “What if I ask something and they think it’s stupid? Maybe they would yell at me and lose control like my counsellor did. Better not risk it, I guess I can figure it out by myself”.

Unfortunately, my grades started to be affected by this. I fell behind, which only added to my belief that I was stupid.

Looking back, I realise that a lot of my self-esteem issues at the time were directly caused by the mistreatment I experienced. My counsellor made me believe that I was beyond hope and utterly stupid. That I was a bad kid, and I didn’t want to a bad kid but I felt doomed to be.

Everyone else seemed to think I was a bad kid.

The school…it wasn’t fair with how it treated its pupils. I remember when a teacher left, and told us that she’d left gifts in the drawers for a few students whom she liked. Throughout the day I kept checking my drawer, but no gift. I saw some people with gifts, and I kept hoping that mine would show up but it didn’t.

So, I spent the rest of the week wondering what I did wrong, I actually ended up crying because I thought the lack of gift was just more evidence that I was a bad kid.

Most teachers at least try to be subtle about who their favourite is, but not her. She said to us that she “Put gifts in the draws of people she liked”, which was basically another way of saying “If I don’t like you, then you don’t get a gift”.

The school really had lost control, and it had teachers and counsellors that made me feel terrible about myself, and it took a lot of time and reflection for me to get over some of my insecurities which previously held me back.

kraftiekortie wrote:
I went to a more "strict" elementary school, where if you did something like chew gum in class, you might be suspended. If you misbehaved in class, you were sent to the hall, or the principal. And this was a "special" school for kids with all sorts of disorders. I was called "brain-damaged," then. Some of the other kids were "emotionally disturbed" or (sometimes) "retarded."

I struggled quite a bit. I was sent out to the hall often; once in a while, to the principal's office. I was bullied even by the other "disturbed" kids. The teachers were pretty good---but I frustrated them.


Yeah, my Primary school definitely wasn’t strict. It was more anarchy. Personally, and it’s probably surprising hearing a student say this, I think the school really could’ve done with more discipline.

My teachers didn’t care enough to be strict with us, they held the attitude of “Well, if you mess up then it’s your fault and never mine”. Student safety wasn’t a concern to them. I remember my dad complaining to my teacher about the considerably big hole in the playground, they’d put a sign over it, but students kept taking the sign and playing with it, which unfortunately led to pupils straining their ankles from falling in the hole.

He asked my teacher why they didn’t just fill the hole to fix the problem, to which my teacher replied “Oh, we don’t have that kind of funding”. So, then my dad replied “Well, I guess that’s what happens when you spend your budget extending the staffroom instead of on basic safety repairs :roll:”.

The look on my teacher’s face was just priceless. :lol:

But my dad had a point though, the school had received a donation and they said that they would spend it to make the school have better facilities, but all they did with the money was improve the staffroom.

Not too long ago I found my school’s old OFSTED inspection reports, and the standard of teaching was ranked “satisfactory” which is the second lowest grade you can get. But PE lessons were ranked excellent, so the school received an overall “Good with no concerns”. Um, satisfactory teaching isn’t a concern? Anything below “Good” tends to suggest poor quality.

I read what they put, “Teachers fail to track students' progress well enough, and do not provide extra-curricular activities. Not enough is currently being done to make sure their students are on track”, personally I’d say that was a concern, OFSTED. :?


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kraftiekortie
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05 Feb 2018, 6:53 pm

Yep. The teachers really did terrible things

The thing about the gift: inexcusable!

And those friggin' dolls! That would have annoyed me, too---though I was definitely too scared to thrown them down.

Similar things happened to me in school. I wasn't exactly well-liked, even though I wasn't really rebellious. I guess, maybe, I was more of the "passive-aggressive"-type rebel then.

I didn't mind following rules, actually.

But I still came close to being expelled because I was constantly kicked out of classes.

I'm glad you've gone beyond the crap now, and are now moving forward with your self.



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05 Feb 2018, 7:29 pm

kraftiekortie wrote:
Yep. The teachers really did terrible things

The thing about the gift: inexcusable!


On the plus side, the experience taught me that you shouldn't rely too much on others for your own self-worth. :) There will be people whom dislike you, but that doesn't automatically make you a bad person.

kraftiekortie wrote:
And those friggin' dolls! That would have annoyed me, too---though I was definitely too scared to thrown them down.


Ugh, tell me about it. I personally hate realistic looking dolls with overly fake emotions. 8O They creeped me out, those things. I wouldn't be able to touch old porcelain dolls, one time I went to look around an old mansion with my parents (it was basically a bunch of museum exhibits in what used to be the home of a rich family) and I walked into the old nursery, took one look at the porcelain dolls and thought "NOPE, NOT GOING IN THIS ROOM!"

Sadly, it was one way so I had to go through those rooms to leave the mansion, but thankfully my parents agreed to guide me through with my eyes closed.

The dolls outside the head teacher's office were thankfully not porcelain, but still creepy all the same. I could pick them up and place/ throw them on the floor, but looking into their faces was deeply unpleasant.

kraftiekortie wrote:
I'm glad you've gone beyond the crap now, and are now moving forward with your self.


As am I. :)


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07 Feb 2018, 1:38 pm

I am trying to find out more about why kids with autism/autistic kids (whichever you prefer) hit or kick other kids in school. I have read what the "experts" have to say about this, but I am really interested in what you remember about your experiences and what was going on in your heads when you did this.

There is some research that suggests that aggressive behavior is closely linked with sleep deprivation. Do you remember how well or badly you slept while you were in school? Did you tend to act out more when you were tired?



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07 Feb 2018, 3:09 pm

All of my teachers hated me all through primary school. I could read very well and do math before I started kindergarten. I read all the textbooks in the first month of school. The rest of the year I was bored listening to them teach what I already knew. They would never call on me or try to involve me in lessons. So I ignored them too. I quietly read library books in class all day. I got excellent marks on my class work, quizzes and tests, but since I never did homework or projects, I barely passed each year.

The only reason I started doing homework in middle school and high school was to get into college. Teachers only called on me when I fell was asleep. It was an improvement.

Looking back at all of the freedom (being ignored) in my childhood, I am surprised I was not a wild child. Maybe I was positively influenced by my unrestricted and uncensored reading.


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07 Feb 2018, 7:25 pm

I was autistic. I didn't go around kicking or hitting other kids. I was pretty much of a "pacifist," actually.

More often, the autistic child is kicked or hit---than he/she hits or kicks other kids.

It's much more correct to say that there kids, either autistic or non-autistic, who hit and kick other kids.
And that there are autistic and non-autistic kids who don't hit and kick other kids.

I used to stay up late, without my parents knowing it (usually). I used to get up pretty early without the "tired" feeling. I probably got adequate sleep most of the time.



Last edited by kraftiekortie on 07 Feb 2018, 10:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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07 Feb 2018, 8:05 pm

TiredMom,

From what I remember, I was never in need of more sleep during those days. My parents always wanted me to go to bed at 8, and they were fairly strict about it.

I think part of the reason I hit other kids was because I felt they weren't respecting me. Sometimes they would ignore what I was trying to say, and I got mad and wanted their attention, so I hit them. It also might've been because I wanted to get even with the kids who picked on me, and hurting them seemed like the only way to do that; whenever I told an adult, they usually said something like "I'll keep an eye on him." and wouldn't actually do anything. Sometimes they would take action, but it was rare for that to happen.


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08 Feb 2018, 1:36 pm

Kraftiekortie,
I am NOT trying to argue that autistic kids are more likely to be violent than other kids. I am trying to respond to the "scientific" literature that just ASSUMES that they are. So, assuming that most didn't, I want to know whether ASD kids who DID happen to hit or kick or bite were sleep deprived, or had something else going on. I hope this clarifies things a bit.