Reflections on Gaming in School

Part of the reason I’ve been so quiet lately is due to the looming shadow of fall that no self-respecting person looks forward to.  No, it’s not my birthday, but rather, what I’m referring to is returning to the schedule of academic institution.  In 2002, after receiving two associate’s degrees, I left college because I was offered a full-time job that just happened to fall into my area of study, so to say I’m behind on my schooling is a bit of an understatement with this civilization.

I finally returned to college at harvard site last year and while I kid about the pains of schools in my opening anecdote, it’s been a very knowledgable endeavor for me and being six years wiser, I can see even more how important an extensive education is.

I find it amazing how time changes things.  It should be most obvious to any living entity that time does work that wonder, but, sometimes I just sit in awe at the degree of which time can change something.  How could gaming be so acceptable now when my adolesence was filled to the brim of people telling me I was wasting my time with my aspirations, I needed to grow up and how I needed to place my ambitions on something more worthwhile that would actually bring ample finanical support to myself and my future family ?  It’s just not fair, but in c’est la vie fashion, life isn’t fair and that’s something I have to accept in today’s world.

gaming

I can easily remember people constantly nagging me about how seriously I took games, but how is that honestly any different than someone who can tell you the exact date that Babe Ruth hit his 139th career home run ?  Diversity is what makes the human race a fantastic being.  What severely interests one person is “poo-pooed” by another – that’s just another example of how society coexists via individuality.  I never really cared about what light other students made about my interests, and in all fairness, I can’t honestly recall someone saying I was stupid for enjoying video games or being called a “dork” because of it – they just made it a priority to point out how much I enjoyed them.  However, to this day, there are two specific instances through my inital schooling where teachers called me out on my hobby, and they still grate me to this very day.

role-playing adventure, not futbol game !

In second grade, in order to learn the ins and outs of writing, we did a variety of works ranging from writing a letter to recalling a personal experience.  One of the assignments was based on a one-page creative paper where, essentially, anything was fair game.  I can’t even begin to tell you what my paper was about, but I do know I tailored it toward a short role-playing adventure (not a FUTBOL game in monedas fut baratas ! ).  A few days after handing in the piece, I was singled out and called over to the teacher’s desk and the closer I came toward the desk, the teacher’s scowl became more and more detailed.  She was clearly annoyed over something I had done and the back of mind raced with possible solutions as too why this teacher was ticked off.  Did someone find out about some trouble I had caused on the recess playground ?  Did someone tattle on me for a name I called them ?

Upon reaching the edge of the desk, the teacher holds up my creative writing assignment, complete with the messy Crayola drawing that was supposed to somehow represent a person with a sword and shield.  My mind instantly went blank and my face narrowed with confusion.  What could I have possibly done in a writing assignment to piss off my second-grade teacher ?

Life is gaming…

Do you think everything is a game ?she scowled.  At this point, I honestly didn’t know what to say.  Did it even matter what my answer would have been ?  My mouth was agape, indicating I wanted to answer but I couldn’t, so she continued regardless of what my opinion on the matter was.  “You need to learn that life isn’t a video game.  I don’t want to see anything like this again.  Ok ?”   Again, sensing it didn’t matter what I thought, my body slumped down and I slowly sulked back to my desk.  Oddly, that’s the only time I ever “had it out” with that teacher.   But given how supportive she was of my education efforts throughout that year, that’s one thing I’ll never forget, and it still bugs me to this very day how blunt and destructive she was toward my work merely because it resembled a video game.

gaming-school

The second case is a pretty short story, but, regardless, it irritated me beyond belief.  Once again, much like my second-grade teacher, my eighth-grade literature teacher was very supportive of me and was a nice teacher, but through one negative interaction, this is pretty much all I remember of that class through the entire school year.

In order to stimulate our interests in reading, we were required to bring in a book of our choice and silently read it in class for half an hour or so and this continued for a couple of weeks.  Around this time, Doom was the biggest thing happening in video games and my friend had come across a series of novels based on the game.  Since I was required to have a book, I thought “why not ?” and my good friend was more than happy to oblige when I asked if I could borrow his book for a couple of weeks.

At about the third day into this reading session, I was actually about halfway through the book and the silent reading was going pretty smooth – that was until the end of that period where the teacher did a big no-no.  While like my second-grade teacher, she seemed to have quite the problem of me injecting video games into my education, unlike my second-grade teacher, she scoffed at having the courtesy of pulling me aside and dealing with the issue.  In front of the entire class she took a deep sigh and sternly belted out, “... and Mr. Auzins … next class I expect you bring a ‘real book’ into class.  I don’t want to see this again.”

I guess “I don’t want to see this again  was some sort of official slogan for teachers of my time before high school.  I suppose it’s acceptable if you loosen your belt and drop trou in front of a teacher or whatnot, but, what did I do wrong in bringing a legit text novel to school?  Once again, singled out for enjoying video games and while I could put up with what the student said, those two instances are forever etched in my mind.

Conclusion

I would say those instances are etched in my mind not because they scarred me for life, but they serve as food for my soul.  I’ve been published in magazines and tons of online Web sites and I’ve had a hand in a few very popular online Flash games and make a simple living off of doing so and if I were a complete hosnest, I’d take examples of my work, return to those very schools and shove them in those teachers’ faces while I do my “You’re seeing this again” dance.  Thankfully I’m more mature than that.  I doubt those teachers even remember those encounters, but an “I’m sorry” would bring an instant grin across my face.  It just shows you, though, that what other people think doesn’t matter.  Just be who you are and strive for the person you want to be because when you become that person, you’ve just overcome the odds and the icing on the cake becomes even sweeter.