From Paul Knights:
Science Fiction – The Irony of it All
Academically I was pretty awful at high school. At the time I was pretty certain it was due to my own inadequacies. It wasn’t that I didn’t try hard – I did. I just didn’t get it. Especially in Maths and Science.
Back then, you were generally expected to sit down, shut up and work it out for yourself. Then you were called on at the end of class to be humiliated or praised based on your understanding. Students who didn’t get it were thick and those who did were lavishly praised.
The exception, for me, was in English. For some reason, in those five years of high school, I was blessed with the most extraordinarily good English teachers. They asked questions, developed relationships and most of all, listened to their students.
One English teacher gave me the only A I ever got at school. I had just written a science fiction short story which I had to read to the class. And the class even persuaded the teacher to upgrade it to an A+! (See if you can guess which one it is in Intergalactic Highway. And it’s not the obvious one!).
On another occasion an English teacher asked me to meet him in the library at lunch time. I thought I was in trouble. I’d just missed out on passing University Entrance internally. This meant I, along with a few other unfortunates, had to sit the external exams. Those exams were only a few weeks away. It was all very depressing. The English teacher sat me down in the library and outlined a plan with pencil and paper on how to pass the English Exam. It was the only external exam I passed. And I did so with a good grade.
Fast forward to 2018. In between times I got a science degree. I taught high school Physics and Maths for nearly twenty years (and loved it!). I wrote a lot of science fiction short stories. And the nice people at Junction Publishing thought that they would publish some of them in Intergalactic Highway, the first in a series of science fiction anthologies.
Never stop asking questions. No matter how thick they think you are!