OK before anything else I really should give some more extensive background info. If you read my previous post and the "About Me" section you already have the basic idea. I'm guessing there are loads of people in similar situations and I would love to hear from all of you. Here is my elementary school story.
I went to a very prominent brooklyn yeshiva for elementary school. According to my mother, although i only found out about this recently, I was already getting bad reports from rabbis in the 3rd grade. It's basically because I never had any interest in learning, none whatsoever. Even as a little kid I would ask questions like "What's the point of learning all this stuff?" and, although this may come as a shock to those of you familiar with the yeshiva system, I was never answered. Due to this lack of interest in the material i would never really pay much attention in the judaic studies parts of my day, and seeing as, even waaaay back in like 1st grade, that's the majority of the day, i kinda hated school. The real issues started in 4th grade when we have some government test in all of our general studies subjects. Suffice it to say i did extremely well and thanks to that the yeshiva had me pegged as someone who just didn't care about learning in spite of having ability. Trust me, that is not at all an envyable position to be in. I would flunk farhers with the principle and they would get really upset. I just didn't know what to tell them. My parents just could not fathom why I would get consistently awful reports from rabbis. Things just kinda proceeded like this for a few years having a 95+ avg in "english" and something way below that in "hebrew". Although it did suck wasting most of my days, it really wasn't awful. And then...8th grade happened.
Before I get into how crappy that year was, allow me to go on a slight digression. To greater understand why this was so shocking to my parents you need to understand that I have 2 older brothers who went to the same yeshiva I did who were both adored by their rebbiem (not in that way! although that does seem to be a trend these days). So after getting nothing but good reports for their boys I was really paving a totaly different trail.
8th grade was one of the worst experiences of my life thus far. 1st of all that's the age that your supposed to get "serious" about learning and davening and wearing black hats. Basically when you're supposed to become a "yeshiva bochur". Now, I had an awful, in case you didn't get that I'll repeat it, awful rabbi that year. I couldn't care less about learning and he hated me for it. I will never know why me picked on me so much compared to the other slackers in the class. Maybe I'll do another post detailing the experience but I have loads of memories from 8th grade...none of them good. Then came the day where the asst. principe "caught" me putting on teffilin alone in the class room and davening without a minyan. They started a whole campaign about it. What a tragedy! A boy just a few months after his bar mitzvah already skipping minyan. After that I just stopped davening at all. They gave speeches to the whole school about the importance of davening and blah blah blah. We took 4 big tests in 8th grade 2 regents and 2 gemarah tests. I got the highest mark in my grade on both regents and did amazingly bad on the gemarah tests. To this day i doubt i got a single question right. Oddly, they would have been happier if i would have flunked everything. That was the worst offense I could commit! It showed a lack of caring about learning. Wrong priorities! I was totally confused as a little kid not understanding what I did wrong and why they were so mad at me. If only I knew then what I know know. (Wow amazingly depressing use of cliche! that has got to be worth something as a writer, right?!?) Even at graduation it didn't stop. I don't know if all yeshivas are like this but mine only acknowledged hebrew studies as an accomplishment and I was one of only 3 kids to not receive any award. Out of 75! To not give 3 kids awards is pretty damn stupid. Kids care a whole lot about impressing their families. That lack of caring is still pretty upsetting to think about.
All in all elementary school sucked, but still paled in comparison to the craziness that is yeshiva high school. However, my HS years weren't as bad because I was less confused and had a better understanding of who I was and that most of the stuff they were saying was complete bullshit anyway. But that's for my next post. (which will be coming shortly, sorry bout the narrative like style of these posts just really need to put this stuff on the table before I can talk about anything else)