One of the issues raised for reflection in…

One of the issues raised for reflection in this week’s activity was to describe a best teacher and a worst teacher ever. And when I think of school of my infancy and adolescence this brings no good memories.
University was an adult experience and something of my choice, so a different reality.
I’m a senior and my times of school go back to fascist times. I was a regular pupil, not at all problematic, but my emotions towards school are those of being imprisoned. My comfort zone was home.
I remember some of the teachers but I don’t regard any of them as mentors or model people that I particularly respected.
The interaction resumed to listen and be quiet. Speak when you are called – the 19th century authoritarian school.
At the time, genders were separate – schools for girls and schools for boys. No contact allowed. I had a friendly relationship with schoolfellows but didn’t kept contact with any of them aftering school.
As you can imagine, I didn’t like school. It was a repressive institution, and though I was not a rebellious girl I had a strong sense of injustice.
The education system, at the time, had primary schools separate from other levels and types of schools, with two main branches: (i) liceum and (ii) technical schools (commercial/industrial), which were linked t class strata.
In Portugal, we were much influenced by the French system and culture. After leaving the primary school with a final exam, I had to do a second national exam to enter «liceum» (very rational???). With several separate subjects, we had as foreign language French. Moral and Religion was also compulsory. In a catholic and fascist country anybody with a different religion was treated as an outcast. I had a schoolfellow who was a protestant and had required to be exempt from this class. The teacher humiliated her and persecuted her until she finally got permission to leave. Things like these were normal but for me unacceptable.
I’m very much in favour of democratic education, modern school movement and other free education alternatives inspired by A,S.Neill, Freinet, Ferrer Guardia, etc.

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