Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Atomic Test: A Story of Academic Survival

This American History test that I just took yesterday was so hard that two students dropped the class.  The first one, that guy I had mentioned earlier who never took notes, looked at the test, decided it was too hard (I guess) and walked out.  The other one, a girl who seemed to take notes, took the test, left for break, and never came back.  It was an incredibly hard test.  Even with notes (it was open notebook).  I still think I may have even gotten a C.

This test was also inordinately stressful for me for another reason.  Part of the test was to write two essays.  And it was open notebook.  So I wrote two essays ahead of time, and wrote them in my notebook.  BUT this was a big academic sin in this teacher's eyes.  I didn't know that beforehand, but I was afraid of getting caught for having intended to copy. 

The teacher walked up and down the aisles and checked everybody's notes and study guides.  He didn't notice my little problem.  I thought about just telling him, but it was too late.  I didn't use my pre-written essays, but trying to convince him of that if he knew would probably have been impossible.  Throughout the test, he would take strolls up and down the aisles... flipping through people's notes, reading what you were writing and what you were reading.  I was in sheer terror.  Even after the test was done, I was afraid that he might take a last peek at our notebooks, just to be sure.  I threw out my essays as soon as I got home, so if he EVER checks, he'll never know.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Latest

I've been studying a lot recently, and have much studying to do this weekend, so sorry I haven't blogged recently.  As for class this week--my teacher laughed at me when I tried to answer one of his questions.  From praise to ridicule.  I just hope it doesn't affect my grade.

My professor discusses a lot of things besides history.  He has been going on and on recently about how bad the K-12 schools have gotten and how kids who "can't" learn should simply be expelled.  I tried to make an argument in favor of the kids who aren't natural students, that "you don't know what they're going through," and he said sarcastically, "You're makin' me cry."  I also said that it is the teacher's responsibility to sort of police the kids and create a good environment.  And also that kids of a certain age are simply wild and teachers have to be able to overlook that.  I don't think my arguments got me very far, but I hope they don't affect my grade. 

We also talked a lot about religion.  I happen to know a fair bit about Catholicism/Christianity, so I'm able to hold my own in a discussion about such things.  In fact, I taught my teacher.  Since that time, he's been quizzing me about my religious knowledge, and I've been able to answer most of the questions.  I hope he doesn't hold it against me if I just so happen to know more about religion that he does.

After class, a girl came up to me and started discussion how arrogant and mean the teacher is and I agreed, but I said I hadn't noticed it until that day.  She said she noticed it the first day.  I guess I hadn't noticed it until he burst out laughing at me when I was making an attempt to participate.  He has his good points, but he does have an obnoxious side.  I just hope it doesn't affect my grade.  Are you starting to notice a theme here?  I don't much care what goes on so long as I can still get a good grade.

Friday, July 8, 2011

New Class

This was the first week of my new class.  I didn't have quite as many nerves this time.  I think I am the oldest person in the classroom, but at least the teacher is older than me this time.  The work seems fairly interesting--it's an American History class from Columbus through the civil war.

Most of the students seem nice except for one really obnoxious, arrogant student.  He has salt n' pepper hair and has to be in his late twenties or early thirties.  He didn't have anything intelligent to say, but he kept talking anyway.  He said things like that Columbus had an affair with Queen Isabel, and that's why she supported him.  And upon hearing that Columbus was destitute and ruined by the end of his life, he said, "He must have been married."  He said many other stupid and obnoxious things.  He didn't take notes in class, and kept badgering the teacher for an A.  I don't even know why he's there.  The only reason that I can think of is that his parole officer made him do it.

But the teacher seems nice.  He's pretty funny too.  He seems to want to really engage the students.  27% of the grade is class participation.  There is a lot of reading to do, and that is mostly to participate in class discussions intelligently.

We watched a movie about Columbus.  One of the things that was mentioned in the movie was how the Indians were so gracious to Columbus and his crew.  They gave them food, and whatever else they liked.  But then they wanted their things back, so this is where the term "Indian giver" comes from.  If you consider the larger picture, that really isn't so awful.  If they were Americans, they would have given the people the things that they wanted, and charged usurious interest rates, thus enslaving them for life.  Of course, Columbus did end up enslaving the Indians.  He might as well have been a Wall Street broker.  He was an adventurer, but also a supreme jerk.