(I wrote this in March 2001, a memory of something I had forgotten about years and years ago....)
When I was in the sixth grade, our Math teacher, Miss McCormack, called Mark Wheeler (another boy in our class) and me aside and read Plato with us a couple hours a week. This immediately became my favorite part of school, something I could really bite into (American schools are not challenging).
A day before seventh grade started, I happened across a translation of the Analects/論語. I was fascinated. I wanted to learn all about it, but had too little background. What was the big deal about the kingdom of Lu魯? I searched all of the school's encyclopedias, but found nothing. The translation was just that: the words put into English with no explanation or commentary. Delighted though I was, it was too far away for me to grasp. I could find no-one who even remotely cared, so my enthusiasm flagged and eventually went dormant.
(Have I ever mentioned how much I have learned from the Analects since I learned Chinese?)
In the sixth grade, I was working hard on art and writing then, but nothing I did pleased my teacher. I was enthralled by my discovery of noses and lips, and how to draw the face quarter view, but my work received at best tepid response. The only drawing that ever got hung up for display was a self-portrait – all lips and nose – but that was for Open House, and everybody's self-portrait was hung up. I tried especially hard on Composition. The grades I received were not encouraging. We were assigned to write up the Grand Canyon. This time I wrote what the teacher wanted to read, really horrible tripe. I almost gagged. I remember one particularly meretricious sentence about a spider climbing a Canyon wall in the rays of the setting sun. For this composition, I received a very large red A+. My composition was posted at the top of the Honor Board.
I have never really cared very much about good marks since.
maybe that is why I don't have a career... oh well.