While I have attended several different schools, I believe the one that had the most influence on my life was Cannock House School in Chesterfield, England. The first thing I remember about my English school experience was that I was surrounded by boys, all boys, after all it was an all boy’s school. When I left the school to attend an American high school I had to get use to having girls in my classes. While at Cannock my only contact with the opposite sex would come after school in neighborhood situations or at the yearly dance when we would be taught how to interact with girls.
Another outstanding feature of Cannock House School was uniforms. Here in the United States there is much discussion over school uniforms, and very few schools wear them. However, looking back, I can see how uniforms actually helped with school spirit and unity. Here in the States everyone is concerned about what they look like, what they are wearing and who is wearing the latest fashion. Our only concern was if we were 4’10 ½” tall, the dividing line between short or long pants.
Finally, one of the most interesting differences between my UK and the US school days was the fact that when a teacher in England enters a classroom the students had to stand, while in America the students move from class to class. In England you are taught to respect those in authority, in the States we seem to just want to fight authority. While much of what is taught in the schools is similar, it is in the social aspects where the two cultures diverge. In England, at the time, the focus was on manners, respect and education. In the States the focus seems to be on individualism, and the social mores are largely ignored.