Pray the Teachers Back to Hell
By Diana, age 18, Romania
You most probably missed the movie Pray the Devil Back to Hell, but the main idea of it was using religion as a means of finding peace in times of war. Now, I'm not going to talk about religion, but I am going to discuss the ever-present war between students and teachers. And considering I am not of the age nor mind to discuss how teachers view this conflict or what they think of it, I guess I might as well try and sort out the reasons why school always seemed (and still seems) like a prison to me and many others.
When you ask a student (whether in primary school or the final year of high school) if he or she likes school, the most likely reaction to your question will consist of a raised eyebrow, a knowing smirk, and an incredulous "Are you kidding me??" or something along these lines. Because, you see, none of the students were asked whether they wanted to go to school in the first place, or so their main argument for disliking school sounds like. Suppose they'd been more mature, and at the age of seven stomped their foot and said, "It's not like school's gonna do me any good, so I might as well stay at home." Well ... I don't see that happening anytime soon either, to be honest. Even if you did have the backbone to actually come up with such an argument, it'd probably classify as "childish nonsense" to your parents who, of course, know better than to actually pay attention to your opinion of something you "haven't even experienced yet, dear."
So there you are, standing in the cold (it is September, after all), wearing the blasted uniform that is two sizes too big in order to last you longer, and wondering what gods you must have upset to have been punished like this. Looking around, you take notice of more suffering children, same age as you (namely six or seven), with the same panicked looks on their faces. You think of kindergarten, and crayons, and painting, and karate classes, and (though you don't know it yet) you come to a rather foolish but mind-blowing realization: "Really, how bad can it be?" Well, considering that you are in an educational institution that prides itself on providing answers to all questions the young ones might have, you are about to discover just how bad things can get. And fast.
Let's start from the beginning, shall we? The first thing you have a problem with is the fact that you're being taken to a classroom by your mother or grandmother, of course, and more importantly, by the hand. At an ungodly hour when you ought to have been sleeping, too! At that moment, there are two conflicting emotions coursing through you. First, the thought that your mother had better not leave you alone in that creepy-looking, almost empty umm ... room?, with that lady you don't know (but she seems to know you, and it scares the hell out of you!) and with that group of kids that seems to have been giving you the evil eye and whispering about you ever since you stepped foot past the school gates. The second thought (and this usually applies to boys) is that you feel like a child, that you'd be better left to face this on your own (because, of course, you can handle it), and that it is downright degrading to be taken by the hand, by your mother, into a class full of kids who are probably so tough that they even came to school on their own. To be taken to class by your mother? What are you, a girl??
Now, once you have passed that first stage and discovered that the creepy know-it-all lady is in fact your teacher (whatever that might be), you are faced with yet another challenge. One that no one has told you about, namely, the alarm clock. Sure, as a kid, you slept till noon, could give your mother the puppy eyes and manage to skip kindergarten and even get a treat ... and when you did go to kindergarten, you just played all day long. Those were the times ... but not anymore. No, of course not. Because now "you're all grown up," though it sure doesn't feel like it to you, you gotta wake up early, and learn how to tie your own shoelaces, and oh God, what would your teacher say if she saw how lazy you are? Tsk, tsk ... Not that you really give a damn what she thinks; you don't even know her very well!
Supposing that you did survive the alarm from hell, when you're woken by either your mother shaking you awake (if you're lucky, at which moment you promptly turn on the other side and go right back to dreamland) or the alarm clock itself when you're older (which you are half tempted to smash to pieces or else chuck out the window). You now have the most difficult task in the history of student-kind, and that is to drag yourself out of bed and all the way to school. Which means you have to leave the warmth and comfiness of your bed and turn on the blinding light of the lamp on your nightstand and dig into the wardrobe for some clothes. Of course, things are so much easier when you're in primary school, when the troller-like schoolbag is carried by the adult walking you to school, when you're being served milk and cookies for breakfast, and when someone else has to prepare your clothes for you. However, by the time you reach high-school, you are either too lazy to make yourself something to eat in the morning and prepare your schoolbag and clothes the evening before, or else simply in too much of a rush to get out the door before you miss the bus.
To put things simply, whereas in primary school you only faced your teacher and maybe two or three others, and in secondary school teachers are more lenient and likely to forgive you for misplacing your homework or missing a class, the real battlefield is the high school. It is there that you face teachers who are as scary as the monsters in science fiction movies and more terrifying than Voldemort. It is there that you go through the worst pains imaginable, both physical (headaches) and mental (the anguish of not being able to pay the teachers back for what they're putting you through), and it is there that you first become acquainted with battle strategies.
High school is all about the survival of the fittest, and the first year is a lost battle from the start; you're lucky to make it in one piece. Or sane, for that matter.