16,506 revolutions of this planet around the yellow dwarf stars have happened since I started spinning on an accidental planet. This one. I think I’ve mentioned a few things about that to you in the last 12,853 days, since I started writing you and stopped as soon as they stopped forcing me to write a report of what I did for the day.
How many times can you write that you went to school, that you went home, that you might have played or balanced a quadratic equation? In Primary school in Trinidad and Tobago, they were determined to find out – determined in the way you think of a Catholic Nun when she approaches you with a wooden ruler. Determined, like an oversized SUV sliding at you in the middle of the road because the owner thought it was more safe despite increased braking ability. Wilfully Ignorant and Determined.
It killed my thoughts of writing as a child. I didn’t want to tell a story of my day that was as uninteresting as the one before – it wasn’t as if I would write that I got smacked at home, or that I smacked someone or got into a fight, in that diary – that they had the audacity to grade.
How do you grade a diary? “Great writer, terrible life. We’ll give him a C” versus, “Horrible writer, terrible spelling, awesome life or imagination. The bits on the magical guinea pigs – so good. We’ll give him a B”.
And so assignment is graded, kids recall that and just give up. We could tell them to buckle down and get it done – the system sucks, but we did it… but then we get back to The System Sucks, that we swore when we were too young to remember swearing that we’d fix it. We stared at things being done with the wide-eyed horror of children uncertain how to react – which is exactly what we were.
It’s crappy. Don’t grade a kid’s life. Don’t ask them to write an essay about their life and then GRADE them on it. Who are you to go around grading other people’s lives? Oh, you say you’re grading the writing, but really, you aren’t. You’re grading the writing, which includes the story, the setup, the characters… yes, you’re grading the whole thing even if you think you aren’t. You know it.
So Diary – make that so. No more of that stuff. It gave us the Kardashians, and I won’t have any truck with that. Kids lives are different. They can speak among themselves. They do anyway. Have them write stories that are imaginative or, for those lacking, reporting. Likely both, really.
Anyway, I always tell you in my diary that this is boring. My little protest logged every day. I did win that. They stopped circling it in red. I thought was clear above, but if not, circle this paragraph to get back to.
Yeah. And I wrote something after that protest.