The salty, musty stench of Play-Doh, water color paints, and sack lunches is one of the only lingering memories I have of my early childhood education. I was born December 22, 1992, and first began attending school three years later at St. Elizabeth School. St. Elizabeth is a Catholic grade-school, where most students go from age three to thirteen. Because of the extended amount of time spent with my fellow students, we became very close by our eighth grade year. I remember meeting many of my friends in Mrs. Ball's kindergarten class in the "lower" building of St. Elizabeth School. Most of our time in Mrs. Ball's class was spent learning the alphabet, coloring photos of dinosaurs, and practicing walking in a straight, single-file line. We were also taught to take nap time very seriously. I think Mrs. Ball enjoyed nap time more than any of the students did. It gave her an opportunity to rest and recuperate from the long morning, taking a break from the constant screams and sticky fingers that she couldn't seem to escape as a preschool teacher.
After first grade, my education took a turn toward less freedom, and more memorization. The dominant pedagogy at St. Elizabeth School became identical to the banking concept of education, which Paolo Freire discusses in his book, "Pedagogy of the Oppressed." According to Freire, in this banking concept, students are turned into containers to be filled by the teachers. The more completely the teacher is able to fill the receptacles "the better a teacher she is," and the better the students allow themselves to be filled, "the better students they are" (72). This method of education, dominantly used in my school, inhibited our creativity and ability to truly learn and adapt in society. .
When I was in seventh grade, our classes were divided into an A and B math class, in which the students were placed based on their academic abilities, which were quantified through our ability to repeat information that had been deposited by our teachers.