Daily Prompt: Land of Confusion

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.

*sigh* awesome.

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.