We, Equality 7-2521, were not happy in those year in the Home of the Students. It was not that the learning was too hard for us. It was that the learning was too easy. This is a great sin, to be born with a head which is too quick. It is not good to be different from our brothers, but it is evil to be superior to them. The Teachers told us so, and they frowned when they looked at us.
Do you want to achieve something or do you just want to make money? Asked a nearby man in a white shirt to another man in a striped shirt. I waited for the answer as I slowly walked past them. Why is it an either or question? The man in the striped shirt finally murmured philosophically under a sip of beer. They both stood there looking at each other in thought.
Mr. Klamp laid down the law. No tardiness, no talking above 40 decibels, no untied shoelaces, no visible undergarments, no eating, no chewing gum, no chewing tobacco, no chewing betel nuts, no chewing coca leaves, no chewing out students (unless Mr. Klamp was doing the chewing out), no chewing out teachers (unless ditto), no unnecessary displays of temper (unless ditto), no unnecessary displays of affection (no exceptions), no pets over one ounce or under one ton, and no singing, except in Bulgarian. I began to think Mr Klamp wouldn't be so bad..
Teachers dread nothing so much as unusual characteristics in precocious boys during the initial stages of their adolescence. A certain streak of genius makes an ominous impression on them, for there exists a deep gulf between genius and the teaching profession. Anyone with a touch of genius seems to his teachers a freak from the very first. As far as teachers are concerned, they define young geniuses as those who are bad, disrespectful, smoke at fourteen, fall in love at fifteen, can be found at sixteen hanging out in bars, read forbidden books, write scandalous essays, occasionally stare down a teacher in class, are marked in the attendance book as rebels, and are budding candidates for room-arrest. A schoolmaster will prefer to have a couple of dumbheads in his class than a single genius, and if you regard it objectively, he is of course right. His task is not to produce extravagant intellects but good Latinists, arithmeticians and sober decent folk. The question of who suffers more acutely at the other's hands - the teacher at the boy's, or vice versa - who is more of a tyrant, more of a tormentor, and who profanes parts of the other's soul, student or teacher, is something you cannot examine without remembering your own youth in anger and shame. Yet that s not what concerns us here. We have the consolation that among true geniuses the wounds almost always heal. As their personalities develop, they create their art in spite of school. Once dead, and enveloped by the comfortable nimbus of remoteness, they are paraded by the schoolmasters before other generations of students as showpieces and noble examples. Thus teh struggle between rule and spirit repeats itself year after year from school to school. The authorities go to infinite pains to nip the few profound or more valuable intellects in the bud. And time and again the ones who are detested by their teachers are frequently punished, the runaways and those expelled, are the ones who afterwards add to society's treasure. But some - and who knows how many? - waste away quiet obstinacy and finally go under.
By the time these students enter the workforce, many of the jobs they will apply for ill be in industries that don't even exist yet. That's a hard future to prepare someone for. Teachers have their sights set on the real goal: not to produce Ivy League graduates, but to encourage the development of naturally curious, confident, flexible, and happy learners who are ready for whatever the future has in store.