Make believe you’re flying high

(Balloon Song–Debra Lynn La Lima)

I just need a vent session…so if you are easily offended then stop right now, because this post is not for you…instead read this cute story and then close out of my blog KthxBai:

“We go to a tiny little church, where Bud is usually the only child in their even tinier “Sunday school” program. His favorite toy in the playroom there is a marble-run building set. But he keeps forgetting the word “marbles,” and instead he calls them “gerbils.” The superball – round and translucent and swirly – is a lot like a marble/gerbil, only it’s different. And what else is like a gerbil, only different? A hamster, of course. Not even wrong. Remarkable, insightful, completely outside-the-box, but not even wrong.”

(Now would be the time you close my blog if you are easily offended)

(Seriously, I mean it, get outta here right now and save yourself if you are easily offended)

I am really frustrated with school right now. I try so hard, and I really do know the material…but my grades don’t show it. Aside from the times when my brain is just not working, and the fact that everyone makes mistakes, I really agree what this other student in my class said (wrote). I think it is extremely disrespectful and usually I wouldn’t even give it the dignity of being re-written, but unlike the student who wrote it where a teacher would be likely to see it, I doubt that the teacher will ever see it here since I do not reference even what state my school is in, and although it is disrespectful, it is very true…so here it is:

Here is how most of the questions read to me:
Out of the following choices, which BEST describes how loud the sun smells?

  1. a) Fire truck
  2. b) Triangle
  3. c) 鞋
  4. d) कुरसी

It doesn’t matter how hard you studied for a test like that—it isn’t fair and it isn’t at all a test of what you know, but rather is a test of how well you can read the teacher’s mind. People’s grades have a lot more to do with chance than they do with knowledge obtained when the questions are so ridiculous like that.

Can I also just rant for a minute about something ridiculous I saw on facebook?

This is the kind of thing that has made me really frustrated since the beginning of my school career.

First, it was show your work on your math. Okay fine, so I get that you want to make sure I didn’t google my answers, but for really simple problems, this is a waste of my time, and besides, didn’t we just spend second grade working on proving we could do math by memory without showing work?

Then show your work extended to reading and writing and science and everything else. If I can get the same answer without coloring the verbs green and the nouns yellow then why should I have to waste my time with that? Please treat me like the high schooler I am (was); don’t treat me like a kindergartener with coloring homework. I want you to teach me the material, not some dumb game to make it take fifty billionty-jillion times as long to finish the assignment…Forcing me to do all these extra steps actually makes me more prone to error because there are so many more places to lose my train of thought and makes me feel so over it by the time I am done…which is why my written assignments are usually kind of messy, because first I go through and just solve the problems the normal way. Only once that is done do I fill in the “work that led me to that answer” around my final answer and cross out any notes that were the “wrong way to find the answer.” You know what? In the real world the aim is to be able to use the information, not to be able to do a technically correct oil painting to show how you solved for ‘X.’ As a pharmacy technician I have never once been asked to show how I figured out how much drug someone needed—as long as the correct amount was on the label I could have counted on my toes to determine the right answer for all my coworkers care, and if someone wanted to write out all the steps they used to get to the right answer that would be okay too.

I get a lot more questions wrong when you make me show my work, because I have to keep stopping in the middle of a problem to write down what I did. It is much more efficient to just DO the work and then WRITE the answer…and when I don’t have to keep stopping to write down what I did you are a lot less likely to end up with 75’s that turned into 57’s in the middle of the problem, or plus signs that morphed into division or subtraction.

Now this…really? I can’t say I haven’t gotten problems wrong before for showing my work wrong, but my version of showing it wrong usually had more to do with things like I saw no reason to round off my work at any particular point when I was going to use the whole number in the rest of the work anyway. It is completely ridiculous to take points off because you thought 5×3 looked nicer as a string of 3’s than of 5’s. I would also ask you to use a little logic. How do we read this when we read the problem out loud? Unless you are an imbecile that never passed the first grade, I really hope you read it as “five times three.” So 5 times 3 means I have 3 fives and therefore 5+5+5=15. Or I could just skip ahead to second grade and realize that 5×3=15 without doing that stupid addition thing…how do I multiply 1.5×3.1 using your stupid addition method? In 7th grade I had to learn all those stupid rules like the additive property of whatever and the commutative property of whatever (clearly I learned then really well since I don’t even know the whole names anymore or what they mean)…but anyway one of those rules says that 5×3 is the same as 3×5…and that teacher should be lucky they weren’t trying to grade me, because guess what my array would have looked like on the second problem…I would have drawn an array that was simply 24 dots in a line…you wanted an array, you got an array.

You know what you are teaching kids by marking these things wrong? No, not to follow directions even if you said in class to do it the retarded way and write 3+3+3+3+3 for 5×3. You are teaching them that school is dumb and that a lot of teachers don’t have a good grip on reality. What is your goal, really, in standing in front of these students? If you want them to know how to become robots following commands and becoming disrespectful since you can’t learn to respect their time then by all means, press on ahead this way, but if you goal is for them to be able to use the material then why does is matter if my paper has a neatly transcribed list of steps to reach the final answer of if my paper has only the correct answer and maybe a picture of a sailboat and a bird from when I got tired of playing your games? Either way, I got the right answer. Either way the building has the correct supports, the patient got the right amount of drug, the program displays the correct output values.


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