Text read by Mary Peters

Because of the Iraq/Iran war, I spent my childhood in different cities. I went to kindergarten in Kermanshah for one year until I was 6 and when I was 7, we lived in Hamedan. From the age of 8, we lived in Tehran.

When I was little, I used to go to my aunt’s house, where I played with my cousins. I remember that the house had a beautiful courtyard full of flowers and trees, and there was a beautiful blue basin with small goldfish….and a very dark cellar….. that I was afraid of.

My father was a policeman. I was very proud of him whenever he came to school. I respected him a lot, as did the teacher, the supervisors, and the school officials.

In Iran, we usually attend primary school from ages 7 to 12, middle school from 12 to 15 years and from 16 to 19 years children are in high school.

If someone wants to continue his studies and go to university, he has to study for another year after high school. If not, he can find a job.

I have to say that in earlier times, about 30 years ago, teachers supervised us with some corporal punishment, but mostly we had to write lines. No longer today. Punishment has been reduced to such an extent that it practically no longer exists. Parents increasingly question teachers why their children are being punished.

It is quite common in Iran for girls and boys to go to separate schools. Boys are taught by men and girls by women. Occasionally a female teacher also teaches in a boy’s school or vice versa. But it’s still very rare.

At university things are different.  University professors are truly diverse and both genders teach all subjects and their respective courses.

In my last years of high school, when I was 17 or 18, we usually began thinking about the future and started choosing what we wanted to do. Today, through my family still living in Iran, I hear children, who are probably between 14-15, start thinking about finding a job. However, they do not seem to find well-paying work. In my time, it was not like that at all.

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