Wow, these stories take me back. There was something fundamentally depressing about going to school and I could never understand how it was a good thing. It was just something that had to be gotten through.

Interesting that Celine's father was afraid of messing things up. It's telling of a certain passivity from parents about their children. As if their involvement and direction is subordinate to an arbitrary plan prepared by bureaucrats.

Great piece.

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Yes, I think most of us had the same experience you describe--forced labor for something better on the other side. Why the process of learning itself could not also be good is something that no one seemed to ask. Thankfully, more people today are doing so.

Her father's attitude was heartbreaking to me because it truly typified the word you used: subordinate. Even as a parent who brought this child into the world, he distrusted his ability to help her learn, which is one of the most natural things we all do. Instead, he thought there was some magic that I and the other teachers possessed as the "experts." Of course, I think that mindset is something the school system cultivates and encourages because it perpetuates the system itself. If the experts are the only ones who can truly teach students, then, by golly, we must need even more of them, and they must need more money.

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