What was your favourite grade in school and why?
Generally speaking, I hated school. Kids can be nasty little cunts when they want to be.
What was your favourite grade in school and why?
Generally speaking, I hated school. Kids can be nasty little cunts when they want to be.
Tell us all about the person you were when you were sixteen. If you haven’t yet hit sixteen, tell us about the person you want to be at sixteen.
Oh, I was a bit all over the place when I was sixteen. I was focused on my dancing, and riding my bike everywhere. All I wanted to do was hang out with my friends. I was trying to be an individual, and trying to fit in at the same time. I had a major crush on one of my closest girlfriends, but also knew I liked guys as well. I was sexually confused and raging with hormones. I loved English, Drama, Food Tech and Computer Studies at school, and absolutely despised Health / P.E., Maths, History, Geography and Social Studies. I wore Doc Martens to my Year 10 Formal, and was obsessed with The Spice Girls. My favourite possession was my Discman, and I listened to the Remixes of Aqua’s album Aquarium more than the actual regular album itself. I also discovered just how much I enjoyed all the unknown songs from The Vengaboys… hmmm… I might go see what they have on iTunes….
UPDATE: So after writing this, I then sat up until 3am scouring through the iTunes store looking at all different artists from when I was 16… Aqua, Vengaboys, Steps, Mandy Moore etc etc. Talk about a distraction!!
Did you ever tell a lie you had to keep repeating in order to not blow your cover?
I remember that when I was in high school, I once got peer-pressured into lying to my Maths teacher to get out of a double-period of maths, to go and work on a drama assessment. Now, the way that our school timetable operated, meant that my senior Drama class was run off-line so rather than having allocated school hours to complete classes, they had to run classes both after school, and during lunch times.
So, this in-turn led to a bit of a problem when we had to work in groups for assessments. Our teachers were made aware of the situation, and were told in advance that at certain times we were to be allowed time off from classes to go and work on our assessments, only if we were up to date with our in-class work and had no outstanding homework / assessments for that particular subject.
Now, I hated Maths, and was regularly having arguments with him about the relevance of whatever we were learning *cough cough trigonometry cough cough Pythagoras cough cough cough*. Yes, yes, I was that kid. The one arguing with the teachers over the relevance of learning pointless information. Looking back, I can just imagine how much they must have hated me. Anyway, that’s besides the point. Where was I…??
Right, so, this one day I told my maths teacher that I wasn’t going to be in class as I was going to work on my drama assessment. I asked for the class handouts, and would hand them in during the next lesson. I didn’t give him a chance to question me, as I took off almost immediately. I did actually meet up with my drama classmates, and we did work on our assessment, but it certainly didn’t take anywhere near as long as initially anticipated.
It was at this point we realised that we now had an easy way to get out of Maths, and nobody would question it.
So every couple of weeks, there would be an upcoming Maths double-period that we just didn’t feel like going to… so instead during recess we all got together and agreed to get out of Maths to work on our ‘drama assessment’ and then meet up behind the Food Tech rooms, and walk off to our friends place down the street, or we’d go for a drive to the local park and just kick back for an hour or so and enjoy a daily break.
Surprisingly, this went on for quite some time… I actually think we managed to get away with it almost three or four times per month, for about 3 months. We thought we had everybody fooled. We were loving it.
One day we all turned up for a lunchtime Drama class, and the class went as per normal. Our teacher got us all to sit down after our warmup theatre-sports game, and everybody was in a good mood and she stood up and addressed the class “So, how’s everybody’s Maths classes going?”
Everybody kinda glanced at each other feeling quite nervous about what was coming.
“It would seem that I’ve been quite the task master, giving everybody so many group assessments to work on…”
“…because apparently, all of you have been skipping out on your Maths classes together to work on a string of group assessments. Funny thing is though, I haven’t actually set you any group assessments. So imagine my surprise when I get called in by the PRINCIPAL and questioned about it!!!”
“But because I am without a doubt the most amazing teacher you ratbags will ever have, instead of dobbing you all in and giving you two weeks of after-school detention, I drew upon my amazing acting skills, and pretended that I knew exactly what he was talking about, and didn’t realise that it would require so much extra work from you all. So I think that you can all just line up and let me bend over so you can all KISS. MY. ARSE. for saving yours!!”
Everybody in the class erupted into laughter, including the teacher… but then she quickly followed up with giving us all lunchtime detention for a week for being a bunch of shits. But she did specify that our detention was going to be spent playing theatre-sports and playing dress-ups, so really, it wasn’t actually a detention at all.
Which subject in school did you find impossible to master? Did math give you hives? Did English make you scream? Do tell!
I. loathed. highschool.
It was bad enough being stuck in some backwater country town being bullied everyday, let alone having to deal with the fuckwits that surrounded me, and their lack of intelligence. But the cherry on top was having to pick subjects at the end of each year for the following year. How on earth was I able to committ myself to a subject for 6-12months at a time?
I hated Geography, History and Social Studies. I thought they were all completely pointless subjects for me. I excelled at Drama, Computer Studies, English and Food Tech – although I soon discovered that even my favourite subjects were quite limiting in what they taught me. The syllabus for each subject was a set standard, but fuck me it was so basic!! But I guess when writing a syllabus for anything you really do need to accomodate for the lowest. common. denominator. in the classroom. It sounds mean to say, but let’s face it, there are plenty of kids out there who are just way too fucking stupid. I, unfortunately, always seemed to end up with most of them in my classes.
These were the kids who were always trying to destroy things. The kids who thought it was a good idea to throw pots of Clag (glue) at the fans, so it would explode on contact, and spray glue all over the entire classroom, and everything (and everyone!) in it’s path. And if it wasn’t glue, it was a banana, or small water balloons full of any conceivable form of liquid ranging from water, to milk, to lube, to honey, and even peanut butter.
yes. I said lube. It was disgusting.
The really depressing part of this was that they were still doing stupid shit like this in years 11 and 12 (senior years). Having that as a constant distraction also made it really hard to concentrate on actually learning anything, because we were always in constant fear of what was going to explode in today’s lesson… Some people even started keeping an extra uniform in their locker as a safety precaution.
Do you know how hard it is to get lubricant stains out of a woolen blazer??
And the worst part is, they rarely got in trouble for it. As a result, the entire class would receive lunchtime detentions. Nobody dared dob them in because they’d get beaten up at somepoint, or ridiculed / humiliated in front of the rest of the school. Those of us who refused to participate in detentions for their childish behaviour ended up getting additional detentions… because there’s clearly so much logic in that way of thinking!
I think the absolute worst subject that I had was English. I know, I know, I said before that I loved English, but by the time I got to high school and had to choose all my subjects for my Higher School Certificate (HSC) the only subject which was compulsory was English. I think most of us were quite surprised that maths wasn’t compulsory either, and so many of us revelled in the thought of never having to hear our boring maths teacher harp on about trigonometry or Pythagoras’ theorem.
Our school, however, had other ideas. They actually scheduled the timetable so that everybody had to pick maths as a subject, even though it wasn’t compulsory.
For those of you unfamiliar with how the HSC was structured back then, it went like this.
– To gain your HSC, you need to complete (minimum) 10 subject units, but preferably twelve subject units.
– Majority of subjects were all two-unit subjects. However, there were also a few three-unit and four-unit subjects as well (the higher the number, the more advanced the subject). There were also a number of smaller one-unit subjects that were studied either for Year 11 only or for one semester of year 12.
– Our year 11 only went for 3 terms. Year 12 began in Term 4 of that year, and finished in Term 3 of the following year. We then had something like 4-5 weeks off before exams. Due to all the subjects that I had, my exams were all the last exams of the period, so I ended up with almost 2 months off (7 weeks) before exams.
– Due to timetabling conflicts, some subjects were run offline. This meant that they were scheduled either before or after school, or during lunch-times. This would also mean that those people enrolled in such subjects had more free (ie. study) time during the regular school day and were expected to be found in the Library.
Out of all the topics I studied for my HSC, I think the one I hated the most, was Maths. I was always of the view that I didn’t need to know advanced mathematical equations, trigonometry or Pyathagoras etc, as it didn’t apply to my future career aspirations. I wanted to be a dancer, and all I need to know maths-wise, was how to calculate how much money I’d earnt, how to calculate my tax, and how to determine the floor-space of a studio. That was pretty much it.
However, the most disappointing was English. I had originally elected to study the 3-unit English syllabus, but as only they only accepted limited spaces for the first class, the leftovers were fed into any other english classes that had free spaces. Some got into the more advanced 2-unit english class… whereas some of us, landed in the more remedial english class ie: Veggie English. I can’t remember why it was called that, but all the dumbasses were in there – hence the constant barrage of objects at ceiling fans!!
Then there was Business Studies… a month or so before we break for our FINAL exams, our teacher informs us that we’ve been learning the wrong part of the syllabus. Apparently there was a change in content, but our school wasn’t informed of this, and we were in fact almost four months BEHIND where we were supposed to be. Almost half the content that was going to be in the exam, wasn’t what we’d been covering in class.
In the last week before we went on our leave, our teacher handed up an entire stack of papers – notes, test quizzes, excerpts from a textbook that none of us had. It was a complete disgrace. But the worst part was, that we weren’t the only school to find ourselves in this position. There were a number of schools who were up the creek without a paddle, and the real kicker was that the Department of Education refused to give any students ‘special consideration’ when it came to exam time. ‘Special consideration’ was something a student would have to apply for – if they were unable to complete their exam for a significant reason – being overseas, hospitalisation, family / medical emergency etc, then they would take into account all the previous marks / scores from in-class tests, homework assignments etc and develop and averaged score which would be applied as your HSC mark – which also carried the risk of being significantly lower than what you might have achieved on the exam, had you actually sat the exam. For some, it really wasn’t fair at all, but those were the rules.
I ended up feeling disappointed, but not entirely surprised with my UAI (University Admissions Index). Taking into account my disadvantage with Business Studies, my poor in-class results, not to mention my hysterical breakdown during two of my back-to-back three-hour exams for Business Studies and Computer Studies… like I said, it was disappointing, but not entirely unexpected.
You get to redesign school as we know it from the ground up. Will you do away with reading, writing, and arithmetic? What skills and knowledge will your school focus on imparting to young minds?
I wasn’t a fan of school, probably because I was bullied and none of my teachers cared enough to step in or reprimand my tormentors.
If was able to completely redesign school, it would involve a complete overhaul.
I would make english, maths and health the only mandatory subjects, but I would structure it like my senior years in highschool whereby everybody had to pick enough subjects to make up 12 ‘units’. That way, all students would be free to choose the topics that they want to study throughout their high-school years. You wouldn’t be forced to study science, or geography, or history if it didn’t interest you.
There’d be better systems in place to deal with disruptive students and those with learning difficulties… basically I would take everything that was completely wrong with my high school and do the complete opposite so that it would actually function properly…
…and I wouldn’t end up sitting in the back on an English class full of dickheads who think it’s entertaining to throw a pot of glue and bananas at high-speed ceiling fans so they explode all over the class room, and everything, and everyone contained therein.
I wouldn’t force people to learn useless mathematical formulae that will be completely pointless for majority of students once they finish highschool… I’m looking at you trigonometry… You still never told me what x was…
I would have a zero-tolerance approach to bullying. I would have a school counsellor available every day, rather than just once or twice a week.
I would make P.E. mandatory and make it 3-4 times per week. Given that the world is talking about an obesity epidemic, and that it’s a major problem for children and teenagers, I’d be introducing major changes in an attempt to combat this problem. If the school had a tuck-shop / cafeteria, then it would only serve healthy and nutritional foods. There would be no sugar, and either natural sugars, or specific types of sweeteners would be used as subsitutes. We would have a smoothie bar, and nutrition would be a part of the health curriculum, as would healthy cooking classes, in order to give students a better idea of healthier meal choices they could be making and creating on their own.
I would introduce a system whereby every student can have three half-day study leave passes each month. Had a late night and didn’t finish your assingment that’s due tomorrow arvo? That’s okay, use a study leave pass, skip your classes for the morning, spend it in the library and finish your assignment, and pick up your homework from the morning at the same time.
All years would be able to have all homework tasks delivered via email, or school intranet, but all classwork would require to be handwritten. Only essays and assignments will be allowed to be typed, in order to provide a focus on creating humans with legible handwriting. For those with illegible handwriting, they would be required to make it part of their core English subjects.
There would be better behaviour management systems in place to remove disruptive, unsettled and delinquent students from the classroom to allow them more one-to-one attention, counselling and testing.
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