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No One Had Time To Help Me

One Teacher for Forty Kids in an After-School Program

By Sharise L., future high school student, Altoona, Pennsylvania

I knew I wanted to drop out of school since I was in 7th grade. Out of all seven periods I had, I only liked one of my teachers, and that was in reading!

As I got older, I found fewer teachers willing to help me in my subjects. If I would ask for extra help in a subject, they would tell me to go to this after-school program they had in our school. In this program, there was one teacher and twice as many students as in the classroom during the day. I didn't understand, because if I didn't get the help I needed with only 20-30 students in a room, how would I possibly get the help with even more kids. The teacher in the after-school program had good intentions, but how could she possibly get around to help all the students?

I finally dropped out when I was 18 because my parents couldn't stop me. I was in 11th grade—for my second time! I had an after-school job while attending school and I felt working was more for me than school.

I was never into school because I didn't feel anyone took the time to help me, so I went less and less until I just dropped out.

When I dropped out, everyone told me that I was going to have a rough time. Me being a simple-minded "I know everything" teenager, I blew them off and told myself I'd be fine. When I got into the "real" world, I realized that when you're working, no one necessarily gives you all the instruction you need. That and if you're a high school dropout and you work at McDonald's for example, you're stuck there because most of the jobs that have higher advancement need a high school diploma.

So, I realized the only way I'm ever going to be a successful person is if I go back to high school and get my diploma. Any other way is out of pure luck or because you're born into money. In this case, you're still not on your own because you're getting money from someone else without earning it.