"I reached high school, where I could not handle the pressure. I had suffered from minor school anxiety in middle school, but I did very well with the support of my parents and teachers. And despite suffering from minor school anxiety, I still enjoyed going to school. High school was a different story. On my first day of high school, I walked in, froze at the entrance, and found myself in the counselor’s office. I remember saying, 'I just can’t handle the pressure.' This was the first day of school – we hadn’t even done anything yet. All I had running through my mind was, 'Everything you do matters. How will I do on my SAT’s? What college am I going to? Do I have enough extracurriculars? What if I fail my final exams?' All through middle school I was reminded how scary, hard, and high-pressure/high-stakes high school was going to be, and it got to me.
Omitting the long, boring details, I ended up being diagnosed with severe school and separation anxiety. I was homeschooled for four months during my sophomore year, four years ago almost to the day: the very end of October, November, December, January, and February, and then slowly started attending one class a day until I was back in school fully around April/May. It was the absolute worst experience of my life and exposed me to the ugly side of 'schooling.' I remember sitting in the counselor’s office and having a school administrator say to me, 'I don’t get it. Why can’t you just go to school like everyone else?' I felt worthless, stupid, and I genuinely didn’t understand why I couldn’t go to school like everyone else. This experience destroyed my love of learning."
What the heck goes on in our country's middle and high schools that can make a child who formerly loved learning such a wreck? I have a guess or two...
The above quote is from this interview in a Delaware education blog called,
Exceptional Deleware: Helping Parents of Special Needs Children, Eliminating Disability Discrimination, & Understanding Special Education Rights. The post reports, "College student, Melissa Katz, currently studying to be a teacher, is a public education activist, and writes a blog of her own. It is brave to be planning a career in education at this time. I am not sure I would allow my kids to do so, which is quite sad to me. I have already told my youngest daughter that if she wants to be a teacher, she needs a second degree as a fall back. That said, if the next generation of young adults is like Melissa Katz, perhaps we have a chance at saving this important American institution.