It’s true… I am, or should I say was, a parrot. Yes, unknowingly, when I was a child, I became a parrot. I do not know the exact date, but it occurred during my elementary school years. And I was one of the best parrots in the school. How did I become one? Well, because of school.
Between the ages of seven and ten, I sprouted my first set of feathers. This was probably because there were no more toys in the classroom, and we had only half-hour of playtime during the six-hour day. This made school boring. I wanted to be done as quickly as possible. The teachers did not care, and the classes were so large that no one got individual attention. The teachers had to make up tests that were a little challenging, but easy enough so everyone could pass. I was ahead of the rest of the class. When the test came, I knew I would get a good mark if I just knew the gist of what we were studying. In most of my classes, the test came right from the homework or notes, so why think? All I had to do was memorize.
Soon it was junior high, and here, thinking was definitely not necessary. My book reports were simply summary with nothing added. I remember one time the entire class handed in ten-page reports. The next morning they were returned with a grade and a few comments.
Now is where the parrot really shows his colors. One time in science class, we were taking notes. I went to the washroom, and the teacher corrected some information she had given us. When I returned, nobody told me. For the test, I answered a question exactly as I had “learned” in my notes, not realizing that the answer was contradictory and made no sense. So, of course, I got it wrong and failed.
I was a full parrot upon entering high school. And there, I learned to fly. When I took up science as my field of intense study, even though my brain could fly, I was trapped in a little educational cage I had made for myself by taking the easy way out of school. Now I had to unlearn what I had been doing the school career. I had to open the cage.
I started molting the middle of junior year. At first, I did it manually, plucking off each feather of laziness and procrastination. Once those feathers were gone, the rest fell out naturally. That summer I picked up a book to read for pleasure, Chicken Soup. It was something I hadn’t done in two years. As soon as I opened it, my love for reading began again. In senior year, all my feathers had fallen out, and I had started going back to what I was meant to be… A human being with a fully functioning brain.
But then I realized something: some of my classes required me to be a parrot. That was the only way I could pass. The teachers just wanted to hear what they told us in lectures. I complied but also learned the material so I could use it to open the cage. I listened to the advice of Mark Twain: “Never let schooling interfere with you education.”