August, 1995

I walk into the counselor’s office at a swift pace, wanting to figure out solutions to my scheduling problem right away. Classes were set to begin in two days and the sudden cancellation of my general psychology course is not an expected turn of events. Looking at options in my community college’s course description booklet, I was not impressed. I want to take a class that will help me understand the grown-ups I will be working with in my business career. I don’t see any classes that fit that description and will work in my schedule. Oh boy.

“Hello, how can I help you?” the counselor looked up eagerly.

“My psychology class was just cancelled,” I explained.

“Let’s take a look, how about we start with your name?” She replied.

I quickly responded, “Allyson Wisner, thank you so much for your help!”

I sit down while she looks over the course booklet and pulls up my schedule.

“It looks like the only option you have is Educational Psychology, it will fulfill the humanities requirement and fits right into your schedule. What do you think?”

I sigh, “Well, the last thing I want to be is a teacher, but if it will do the job, let’s go ahead and schedule me into that class.”

Walking out, with schedule in hand, I wonder if I would be the only person in the class who doesn’t want to be a teacher. I not only do not want to be a teacher, I want to be anything but a teacher. Spending the rest of my life in the school system I just got out of sounds like the worst kind of torture.

I think back to my elementary years as I walk to the parking ramp. Why did I hate school so much? I do what I often do, talk to an invisible audience inside my head.

It wasn’t really my teachers’ fault and I went to really good schools.

I just wasn’t a ‘do what you’re told, be quiet, walk in line’ kind of girl.

I was more of a ‘challenge the system, explore curiosities, talk all the time’ kind of girl.

That kind of girl and school did not mix.

I didn’t get into trouble often, but I did get looks of disapproval quite frequently. I can count the number of times I got into real trouble in elementary school on one hand. Speaking of counting, one of the first times I got into trouble was for counting…counting crayons to be exact. I was in first grade and I was what I like to call ‘inventive’. My teacher called it ‘cheating’. I was counting out math problems using the crayons in my desk. The teacher reprimanded me and had me move my desk close to hers so she could keep an eye on me. That was when I first learned that I was a little bit naughty.

Since I was a little bit naughty, I often found fun in school in despite school. I never found fun in looking up vocabulary words or long division. I never found fun in copying sentences from the board. I never found fun in dittos (we did not have “worksheets” back then). I did find fun in passing notes and in girlish drama (when I wasn’t the target).

I went to Catholic school and I have a confession to make as an example of my bad behavior in elementary school. I ate hosts when I was preparing for a church ceremony with some classmates. If you are not familiar with the Catholic church services, let me explain without too much detail–hosts are little wafers distributed to eat during communion. We were in one of the back rooms of the church one afternoon and we put flavored lip balm on the hosts and then ate them. Now, that was naughty, but, in our defense, it wasn’t really sacrilegious because they were not consecrated yet and therefore were not yet “The Body of Christ”. Okay, that might have been too much detail, but I thought you should know. I was sneaky and we never got caught.

As I said, I remember being naughty in elementary school. I remember hating those vocabulary note cards that were a staple of third grade. I remember a classmate stealing my journal and reading it to the boys in seventh grade. I remember loving to diagram sentences in eighth grade because my teacher loved diagramming sentences. I remember teachers always telling my parents that I was not living up to my potential, that I needed to work harder

There are many things I don’t remember about elementary school though. I don’t remember any teacher ever pointing out any “gifts” they saw in me. I don’t remember exploring any of my curiosities in school, only outside of school. I was a passionate reader and I would read all the time, but I don’t remember a single book I read in elementary, junior high, or high school.

I reach my car as I end the speech to my invisible audience. Talking to myself always helps me reflect. I put the key into the car door to unlock it and decide that I needed to have a better attitude about this class if I am going to get anything out of it. Maybe it will help me understand my educational experience better.

Educational Psychology, here I come!

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