You would think all that time I spent going through educational trials and tribulations in Trinidad, I would get to Florida and it would be a lot easier. Secondary school had provided teachers that were excellent, and I was academically ahead. When I got to Florida, they looked at my transcripts, the strange school name, the country of origin that they never knew existed, and decided that my third world education couldn’t be anything but sub par. Despite me having completed 3 full years of secondary school, taking many of the same courses, and passing them, I had to take those exact classes over in high school. Not only was I angry, but the teachers were insensitive, and predetermined that I would fail anyway because I did poorly on the numerous pre- assessments. I wasn’t used to worksheet instruction, secondary school in Trinidad was rigorous, but in a way that you looked forward to the classes because the teachers brought passion with their content on a daily basis. Not paying attention wasn’t possible, you had to keep pace with the teacher to get the notes, or you didn’t stand a chance, and please don’t make the mistake of being absent. This was my new educational normal, and how dare anyone pass a worksheet off as teaching.
I learned from my friend Kim, that in honors classes, teachers did much more, but sad to say, my teachers commented that “I wasn’t honors material” based on my current class performance. It was then I began to work, simply to prove a point, and with little effort I pulled all of my grades except math back to passing. Math was a struggle for me, I am not sure why, to this day, I am intimidated by math. Had I not gotten lucky being placed in Ms Austin’s class, a black woman from Panama, and if I remember correctly one of very few black teachers at the school, I never would have passed. Seems like she understood my academic confusion with returning to the states, having an understanding of the Caribbean school system since she was Panamanian. It seems like I spent all of my free time attending tutoring, before school, after school, on weekends, and still my brain just wouldn’t cooperate with math, any math. Her ability to simplify information helped me pass both geometry and algebra with a low C and I celebrated because I had done my best, worked hard, and that was the end result. I don’t know how many other students benefited from her magic, but I will forever be thankful.
Much love from the brown girl, sharing short stories for Blogtober! Keep writing, even if no one is reading ❤️