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First Assignment

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Chapter One: Megan learns that schools can be shut down when they are too small and she is forced to move schools. 
Chapter Two: Megan attends English public school and spends most of her time pretending to twist her ankle at playtime to escape the cold outside
Chapter Three: Megan moves to the U.S. and learns the ‘Pledge of Allegiance.
Chapter Four: Megan goes to her first summer camp.
Chapter Five: Megan enrols at a Steiner school.
Chapter Six: Megan goes to ‘Hawk Circle’ with her class to learn how to survive in the wild.
Chapter Seven: Megan joins the ‘Midnight Run’ and is awakened to how the homeless live.
Chapter Eight: Megan does a ‘study abroad’ in Paris during her sophomore year of high-school.
Chapter Nine: Megan visits ‘Camphill’ which is a Steiner community and school for severely mentally handicapped children and adults. 
Chapter Ten: Megan writes a letter to a teacher after finding a class the teacher taught to be inappropriate and incorrect and the teacher redoes the class the next day. 
Chapter Eleven: Megan does shoemaking for her senior project and learns a trade.
Chapter Twelve: Megan learns in her Emily Balch Seminar Freshmen year from another student that the idea of being ‘color-blind’ is not a good thing like her all-white environment had previously taught her.

Chapter Thirteen: Megan learns that not everyone thinks that a Liberal Arts education is a good thing, or even the idea of going to college. She struggles with the privilege of these opportunities.



Chapter Three


Born in England I had spent years in the English version of the American public school system. We all wore uniforms to school, tied our hair back and formed lines when the bell ringed. There was no talking in the hallways, prefects and headgirls and headboys directed us to class and playtime was on a slab of concrete. This was in a poor city so when I moved to a more affluent neighborhood outside of New York I was amazed by the non-vandalized bright yellow school buses that shuffled down my road each day. Also, what kind of school allowed you to wear your own clothes? I arrived outside my new elementary school, the month before the end of fourth grade, wearing overalls and sneakers with my mother in tow. We walked into the assembly hall expecting to find everyone at morning meeting but what we met was a huge splash of culture shock. The room was in havoc. Students yelled and screamed and laughed and talked. Teachers walked around clapping in certain rhythms trying to get the kids to clap back to show they were paying attention and ready to be quiet. None of the children clapped. On the stage one teacher was conducting a game where children took turns to come to the microphone and spell out hamburger letter by letter.

            Finally, although it is unclear how, the students quieted down and rose with their hands over their hearts to recite the ‘Pledge of Allegiance.” This was confusing to me. In England the English flag was only seen on the Queen’s birthday or when there was a football game on. Pledging to a flag seemed completely bizarre. This is where I understood what Oakes and Lipton were talking about in “Teaching the World. “One Country! One Flag! One Language!" I was sad to squelch out my heritage by reciting the pledge to a flag of a country I found strange and confusing. Even though I thought we shared the same language my work came back to me with red slashes through it. My English spelling was wrong. My accent was a lot stronger then and hard to understand, I pronounced words differently and felt alienated from my classmates. I was lucky that my mother was concerned for me. I could continue another year at this school but then I would be shuffled around again to resettle in the middle school. Could I handle so much change?

            I visited the Steiner school nearby, which I knew a little about because my mother was a product of Steiner education herself. I would stay with the same teacher until 8th grade and the same 28 people until graduation at the age of 18. I enrolled in the 5th grade and stayed until the end of high school and loved every minute of it. There was no pledge of allegiance but I still got to ride a yellow school bus.