Maja and I had a good chat last night – talking about a range of things for nearly two hours, so I can’t relay the whole conversation. At least, not all together at the moment, haha.
But one thing we talked about reminded me of some events during High School I thought I’d tell you guys about.
I started Gymnasium as an International Baccalaureate student in Year 1 (10th Grade). It was ’99 and for that first full semester I stayed in IB1 though I had quickly decided it wasn’t for me – I wanted to join the ES line which heavily focused on social studies as well as allowed more arts in the curriculum – namely theatre class being what I wanted to be able to take. The ES line being exactly the same curriculum as the S line – except that ES was taught in primarily English.
So I was biding my time on the waiting list for a transfer.
In the meantime, I went ahead and did my classes as best I could because I didn’t know how long it would take, and didn’t want poor grades on my record even though many of the IB classes wouldn’t particularly count towards an ES diploma.
One class I had to take, naturally, was IB math. I had distaste for that teacher nearly from the start – not only was he someone who couldn’t engage a classroom (Maja reckons he spoke like the teacher from Southpark… Mmmkaaay), but primarily he turned me off the moment he criticised me in front of the class for my father ordering the required TI-83 calculator from anywhere other than through him even though it was cheaper from my father’s source.
This man was also the computer programming teacher and, towards the end of the semester, he decided for some reason to take us all to the computer lab to learn Microsoft Excel.
Let me explain a few things here first:
- It was not in the curriculum for our class, if I recall correctly it was simply because our usual classroom couldn’t be used for some reason so he decided it would be easier to do computer stuff.
- As it was not in the curriculum and I took no other computer courses, nor had need of the computer labs for homework and such – I did not apply for a computer pass at the beginning of the year. The school made you apply for them – they were not just automatically assigned – and people only applied for them if they had a need.
- I already fucking knew how to use Excel
So we went to this new location one day, he droned on about Excel – teaching nothing new to me – but I still paid attention and followed along on my neighbour’s computer. No issues.
The next class he took us there again because he said he needed to finish that lesson or something. Again, teaching me nothing I didn’t already know – but I followed along regardless with my neighbour. At one point in the 3 hour class, he walked behind me and realized I wasn’t logged on to the computer. He snapped at me to log in and do the work. I explained to him for reasons stated above, I don’t have a log on – but I have been following along just fine, and honestly, I already used Excel proficiently.
He became increasingly rude and verbally abusive – I told him he had no right to speak to me that way, besides which this wasn’t in our curriculum – so he had no recourse when expecting me to have a log on. Up until this point I hadn’t even needed one.
He then yelled something to the effect of if I wasn’t going to participate in his class then maybe I should leave.
I stood up, looked him dead in the eye, and said “My pleasure,” and walked out of the class with my head held high.
At that point, I hadn’t met Maja yet, but she told me last night she remembered that.
“How could you remember that? We didn’t meet till the next semester… I was in IB when that happened.”
“I know, but everyone was talking about it. They were amazed that ‘Emma walked out of’ his class. …I remember thinking ‘Who is this Emma chick??’ Haha.”
Who knew? I knew my immediate class was a little scandalized – but didn’t know people that I didn’t even know were talking about it.
After I walked out, I never went back. I went to the principal and told him what happened and rightly informed him I had no intention of returning to that man’s classroom. Mr Powers told me that my transfer had been approved for ESb to start the next semester anyway – and as the IB math class was not a requirement for ES, he approved my absence for those last remaining weeks.
However, my BFF Anneke copped it every time I didn’t show up. He yelled at her primarily, but also other known good friends wanting to know where I was.
Luckily, I never again had to deal with the man. Maja did take computer programming in Year 3, however; and said she actually got on okay with him – even though she rarely went to class.
At this point in the conversation is when I learned something deeply disappointing about my best friend… read on, though I’m sure your heart will break just as mine did…
She told me how she was going to fail because of her absences unless she proved to this teacher that she had the necessary programming skills.
She pulled out her graphing calculator and showed him how she programmed it to help her cheat in Calculus…. That girl’s balls are bigger than mine, I tell ya… She is so lucky he didn’t rat her out, and that she did in fact pass Computer Programming.
“You programmed your calculator so you could cheat Calculus??”
“Oh Maja… … … WHY THE HELL DIDN’T YOU DO THAT FOR ME??!!!”
“Your best friend… Your best friend was having trouble with Calculus… and you didn’t even offer to program her calculator!”
“Hahahahahaha,” she laughed at me.
“I failed that class you know!”
“What? You failed?”
“Yeah, don’t you remember? I failed initially, had to study all summer, and then take a makeup final at the beginning of Year 3… I barely squeaked by with a pass.”
“Oh, I didn’t realize that…”
“Silver lining was that Will tutored me that summer… because, well… Will… BUT STILL! … My best friend… God…”
We talked a bit about that teacher and how bad he had been at teaching (mumbling at the board when explaining, and treating you like an idiot if you didn’t get it the first time). I told her that it was so hard to study that summer because I was so lost in the subject that I forgot what was needed – studying parts of Calculus I didn’t need and missing other topics I did need. Will was good at teaching, and I would have sudden revelations and understanding of the material… only to lose it a day or two later.
I had a nice teacher I didn’t know proctor the exam the next year, and while I barely passed, she offered to let me study a couple more weeks and try to bring the grade up.
She looked at me confused, like why wouldn’t I want a better grade?
“Look, I studied all summer… I doubt two weeks would do much. It’s not worth the stress to me.”
Luckily, Year 3 in ES saw no more math classes.
I did, however; for the second and last time walk out of a teacher’s class and go to Mr Powers to inform him of my refusal to return. This time it was Darren’s PE class. …But that is a whole different story.
(Post Script: I was not the kind to actually cheat in class… though I’m sure I would have seriously considered it for Calculus… I was struggling that much.)