0519: "11th Grade"

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MissingNo
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Re: "11th Grade" Discussion

Postby MissingNo » Fri Dec 19, 2008 8:36 pm UTC

Even though I'm in 10th grade right now, this comic EXACTLY describes my schoolwork.

But hey, next year I'm taking CAD, Math for Engineers, Video Game Design, and Media I.
Works for me :wink:

Klapaucius
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Re: "11th Grade" Discussion

Postby Klapaucius » Fri Dec 19, 2008 8:38 pm UTC

Troger64 wrote:
AWA wrote:The comic made me chuckle, the alt-text made me "Awww...", mostly because I am that strange kid. If anyone in my homeroom sees this, please talk to me. It might be the most important ten minutes of your life.

In any case, my dad and I have a little in-joke that goes along the lines of:
Me: "Why don't they teach you to balance a checkbook in school?"
Dad: "That's what I've always wondered...I can never use matrices to fix this piece of shit."

Yeah. I'm strange.


i think the alt text meant that the creepy guy is the guy that shoots up the school

and for you to interact with him you make it off the kill list :(


It more likely means that interaction with strange people is just a good thing for a person.
When people interact with me, for instance, I end up introducing them to exciting new, strange things, like xkcd.
500%!

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a386
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Re: "11th Grade" Discussion

Postby a386 » Fri Dec 19, 2008 8:55 pm UTC

highschool is such a load of shit. i like the sudbury idea except with maybe some required basic history lessons tossed in, because i think at least a foundation in history and politics is necessary to a citizen of a democracy. basic literacy is at least to me also a must but i think that gets covered in like middle school. i like too the idea of teaching life skills in highschool like how to deal with checkbooks and credit cards, and maybe even a basic knowledge of how to cook for yourself? these are things that every person deals with in life and they meet these challenges armed with a totally irrelevant arsenal of imaginary numbers and chemical equations.

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Re: "11th Grade" Discussion

Postby GodShapedBullet » Fri Dec 19, 2008 9:21 pm UTC

High school ruled. Spending half your day learning stuff with your friends is awesome.

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vviipp
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Re: "11th Grade" Discussion

Postby vviipp » Fri Dec 19, 2008 10:20 pm UTC

Here in the York Catholic Board of Ontario, Grade 11s are already focusing on College/University. I am only in Grade 9, and the school has just broke for Christmas, and I have to take the exams in January, so I do not have to worry about that right now. (But then again, I didn't even do anything about high school until late-August.)

I voted yes.

dagw
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Re: "11th Grade" Discussion

Postby dagw » Sat Dec 20, 2008 12:01 am UTC

I'm going to disagree with everybody saying that all those 'irrelevant' high school courses where a waste of time. I have a masters in mathematics, spend my days writing code and all the jobs I've ever had involved computers and/or math. That being said, looking back on things with the benefit of hindsight, I'd say the single most useful class I took in high school was English lit.

There are two reasons for this. First of all the core or English lit. is to analyze a text, extract meaning from it and then construct and rhetorically and logically sound argument as to why your analysis is correct. This is something I've done countless times in countless settings since leaving high school. Basic reading comprehension and being able to construct a written argument are two of the most useful skills you can have, no matter what field you go into.

The second reason is rather more base. Chicks love a well read man, and being able to spout some well chosen Yeats or say something relevant about Jane Austen at just the right time will totally get you laid :D

My biggest regret from high school was not doing a foreign language. I've missed out on several potentially great job opportunities because of that.

As for high school math, that was a bit of a waste of time. I totally slept through those classes and got a B or a C. Didn't matter, the first year of math at university they're going to re-teach, correctly, everything taught in high school anyway. And university math is a totally different beast from high school math. Really the only people who need to pay attention to math in high school are people who'll never take another math course once they leave.

Anyway that's one math geeks opinion on what is and isn't worth while in high school.

Carnildo
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Re: "11th Grade" Discussion

Postby Carnildo » Sat Dec 20, 2008 12:42 am UTC

SpringLoaded12 wrote:And a programmer of any kind will never need GOD DAMN Advanced Trigonometry.

I'd disagree. Strongly. I'm currently working on a game that not only requires trig, but looks like it might require differential equations. (I think a successive-approximation method is strictly converging, but I'm not entirely sure)

tgape wrote:Also, I strongly believe the point made by a few other people here about the Sudbury model - there are some disciplines which really need to be specifically taught, because few people will gravitate towards them, and everyone needs it. Things like basic communication (what we call English here in the US and other English speaking countries, and Deutsch in Germany and so forth) really matter more than most people are inclined to study on their own.

My experience says otherwise. I spent six years in elementary school learning arithmetic. My younger brother, who was unschooled, picked it up over the course of a week when he was 12, because he needed it to build a world for a science-fiction story he was writing.

DesSidDes wrote:For all you Sudbury School proponents, I just wanted to know how kids who go through that type of system can end up going to college? Is that an option for them?

Very much so. A number of colleges and universities are actively looking for students from homeschooled, unschooled, and other alternative education systems because they tend to do better than students from more traditional backgrounds.

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OmegaLord
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Re: "11th Grade" Discussion

Postby OmegaLord » Sat Dec 20, 2008 12:50 am UTC

GodShapedBullet wrote:High school ruled. Spending half your day learning stuff with your friends is awesome.

Sometimes.

You can have good classes, with people you like or learn to like, great teachers on subjects you are interested in... or you can have a class full of misogynistic, homophobic bigots who can't appreciate the differences between themselves and their opinions and those of others. And there are also classes in between. But still. Sometimes you just have no one you know in your class, and then you give them a chance and they are a horrible person. A couple of my classes make my faith in humanity wane.
So what do you guys know about *glances down at sheet* the kingdoms of orgasms
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Re: "11th Grade" Discussion

Postby sxiz » Sat Dec 20, 2008 12:53 am UTC

Things that need to be taught in school:
Basic: history, math (probably up to algebra, maybe geometry for solving irl problems etc.), grammar/spelling, first aid, civics/economics, sex ed, driving, typing, computers
How to: budget, balance a checkbook, find a job, impress a superior, deal with an emergency, COMMUNICATE

Things that are career-dependant and optional:
Chemistry
Biology
Physics
Higher maths
English/Lit/any other art
PE
Advanced business skills
Advanced computer skills

Non-curriculum stuff I learned from school that is still useful:
How to increase the amount of words in a good paper by at least 10% by adding superfluous ones.
I work best when I have a deadline.
I learn best when I have someone teaching me.
A shitload about dogs from my friend's mom who drives me to school.
Republican/conservative economics from the same person.
People with opposing political views can be good friends (although not stupid people, they're still out).
How to assess a teacher's personality and then apply this to the way I take the class.
If I write something down on a sticky note and roll it up over my glasses frame I will remember it (mostly because of 'um you have something on your glasses' 'oh yeah thanks for the reminder').

Right now I'm sitting 29 words short of an English paper that was due Wednesday on a book that I enjoyed but do not really care to decipher. I'm lucky my teacher is nice because I get to e-mail it to him over winter break. This is the only class I need to graduate and if it wasn't mandatory I would be in college a year early.
skine wrote:
diotimajsh wrote:Oh, Don Quixote, of course. Now I feel like an idiot for not getting it.


It's okay, the comic was a bit quixotic.

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Re: "11th Grade" Discussion

Postby Threb » Sat Dec 20, 2008 1:36 am UTC

sxiz wrote:If I write something down on a sticky note and roll it up over my glasses frame I will remember it (mostly because of 'um you have something on your glasses' 'oh yeah thanks for the reminder').


Consider this idea stolen. Sounds much better than what I'd do a few years ago and fold up a paper with a note in it into something thick and bulky (or ball it up) and then shove it in my pocket. With any luck, later in the day I'd think "damn, what is that uncomfortable lump in my pocket?" get it out, and then think "oh right, I was supposed to ____".


ALSO: There was one poster who asked whether all great teachers tell a lot of stories. I'm not sure whether this is statistically true or whatever (I assume no one does!) but I learned in university that in business school the model for teaching students important information was to always use case studies, because apparently people learn a lot better from relayed experiences than from abstract teaching. So the lecture I had basically consisted of five stories having to do with workplace management (I had a friend Ted, who..etc.), and I still remember the lessons. But yeah, I know what you're getting at - not exactly pedagogical tool but more something consistent like with geniuses and their eccentricity.


This is exactly what I meant. I also had a wonderful English teacher in the seventh grade. Because he liked the time period, it was more of a 1940's/50's history class with some grammar in it than an English class. Watched a few musicals in there. I don't remember exactly what he talked about aside from that, except I know once his car was having troubles and he went into a diversion about how terrible having power steering part of the time is.

Luckily, my current school is 7th - 12th grade (I'm not sure exactly why this is, no other high school in the area is or anything.) and the same person teaches AP Composition I/II. Honestly, I think I'd take any subject if I knew it was taught by someone like that.

Now to buy a notebook and a stopwatch, and record the duration, time, content and number of all of my teacher's ramblings throughout high school, in addition to what and how much I learned that day, as well as, if possible, how much other people in the same class felt they learned that day. While only a sort of one-third serious idea, I think it'd be a fun waste of time.

On another note, does/did anyone else have problems with courses they wanted (and would find actually useful) to take simply not being offered? I'm finding in taking Spanish that language in general is definitely one of my strong points, and one of the largest of my interests, (and foreign language is one of the most directly practical things taught in schools, in my opinion) but the only foreign language offered here, is, well, Spanish, as I live in the middle of Florida's nowhere, where funding for schools is scarce. I think there are a few other things I can't take because my school doesn't offer them, as well. It's very frustrating, but I guess if I want to learn more language I can teach myself or take it in college.

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Re: "11th Grade" Discussion

Postby Socks » Sat Dec 20, 2008 2:11 am UTC

Threb wrote:On another note, does/did anyone else have problems with courses they wanted (and would find actually useful) to take simply not being offered? I'm finding in taking Spanish that language in general is definitely one of my strong points, and one of the largest of my interests, (and foreign language is one of the most directly practical things taught in schools, in my opinion) but the only foreign language offered here, is, well, Spanish, as I live in the middle of Florida's nowhere, where funding for schools is scarce. I think there are a few other things I can't take because my school doesn't offer them, as well. It's very frustrating, but I guess if I want to learn more language I can teach myself or take it in college.


Some schools offer dual-enrollment programs that will allow you to enroll in a college class (for example, at a community college in the area) while still in High School. I managed to get 16 college credit hours my senior year of high school. If your school offers it, it's worth looking into.

Jeremy Y.
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Re: "11th Grade" Discussion

Postby Jeremy Y. » Sat Dec 20, 2008 2:19 am UTC

Considering that I am going into video game design, I suppose all the time i spent not doing homework researching the history of video games probably helped much more then what i have learned so far in high school.

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Re: "11th Grade" Discussion

Postby JBridge » Sat Dec 20, 2008 2:57 am UTC

Well whadda ya know. I'm in 11th grade. I should mess with Perl. Or at least some tool that will be beneficial to my chosen career path. I'm off to mess with UnrealEd.

Rysto
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Re: "11th Grade" Discussion

Postby Rysto » Sat Dec 20, 2008 3:01 am UTC

Jeremy Y. wrote:Considering that I am going into video game design, I suppose all the time i spent not doing homework researching the history of video games probably helped much more then what i have learned so far in high school.

Ha! Tell you what: try to get into video game design without high school mathematics and then get back to me on how useless high school is.

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Beautiful_Solace
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Re: "11th Grade" Discussion

Postby Beautiful_Solace » Sat Dec 20, 2008 3:20 am UTC

All i have to say is thank god someone finally posted the truth!! o.o i have long since told everyone about how useless it is but no one listens *cries*
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Re: "11th Grade" Discussion

Postby GodShapedBullet » Sat Dec 20, 2008 3:22 am UTC

Jeremy Y. wrote:Considering that I am going into video game design, I suppose all the time i spent not doing homework researching the history of video games probably helped much more then what i have learned so far in high school.


Isn't "researching the history of video games" just a euphemism for playing Nintendo all day?

ex-kgb
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Re: "11th Grade" Discussion

Postby ex-kgb » Sat Dec 20, 2008 4:00 am UTC

I'm in 10th grade, and all my useful skills I learned out of school. I know what morphosyntax is, I can read the IPA (as well as xsampa), I can code in python and some of bash, smalltalk, and C#. I can build computers and do LFS (linux from scratch). None of this I learned in school...

Related, I'm probably never going to be in 11th grade, seeing as I'm applying for college for next year...

Threb
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Re: "11th Grade" Discussion

Postby Threb » Sat Dec 20, 2008 4:30 am UTC

Socks wrote:
Some schools offer dual-enrollment programs that will allow you to enroll in a college class (for example, at a community college in the area) while still in High School. I managed to get 16 college credit hours my senior year of high school. If your school offers it, it's worth looking into.



I think mine, come to think of it, does, starting in around 11th grade. Sooner if you do well on the ACT or something along those lines as well, I think. Should look into that -- thanks!

(I just used the word "think" far too many times in just three sentences. Oh well.)

irskep
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Re: "11th Grade" Discussion

Postby irskep » Sat Dec 20, 2008 5:49 am UTC

Here's one more person proclaiming the usefulness of high school mathematics. I didn't realize that I could actually use all that math until the day when I had to figure out a trig problem for a computer game I was writing and grabbed a sheet of paper without even thinking about it.

Subject matter is not the problem with standard high schools. The problem is the teaching methods. I feel relatively lucky in that most of my teachers during my time in high school had an interest in the material and made an effort to teach using methods that were proven to work. In retrospect, I think that my main problem with high school was the fact that I was thrown into the same pool as people who were not interested in learning at all, or would impede the learning of others. Honors classes tempered that problem, but it still bothered me.

Another thing that people are overlooking about high school is the extracurricular activities. If Science Olympiad hadn't existed at my school, I don't know where I would be now. The opportunity to design things in a fun and competitive setting helped spawn my love of engineering.

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Jack21222
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Re: "11th Grade" Discussion

Postby Jack21222 » Sat Dec 20, 2008 6:25 am UTC

DesSidDes wrote:High school wasn't too bad... Given I was never interested in English or history, and all my other subjects were interesting...

For all you Sudbury School proponents, I just wanted to know how kids who go through that type of system can end up going to college? Is that an option for them?


A vast majority go to college, and the vast majority of those get into the college of their first choice.

The reason for this is instead of the 23987th student with a 3.9 GPA and 3 recommendations, they have to rely on the interview.
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borvise
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Re: "11th Grade" Discussion

Postby borvise » Sat Dec 20, 2008 7:00 am UTC

Sorry to break up the serious discussion of the relative pros and cons of the opposing educational systems. I had to to pose the question I've had since reading this far into the comments:

Am I the only person who read this a first, interpreting "Perl" to be a female classmate? I was slightly confused but not altogether surprised that that would be so highly influential to Randall. :)
Irony and Coincidence are my food.

Carnildo
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Re: "11th Grade" Discussion

Postby Carnildo » Sat Dec 20, 2008 8:07 am UTC

borvise wrote:Am I the only person who read this a first, interpreting "Perl" to be a female classmate? I was slightly confused but not altogether surprised that that would be so highly influential to Randall. :)


According to prior discussion, you're about the third.

infernovia
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Re: "11th Grade" Discussion

Postby infernovia » Sat Dec 20, 2008 8:26 am UTC

I liked my highschool and I took a shit ton of AP classes and probably wasted more hours than it was worth. And it was all worthless in College because in college, what matters is what you are interested in and then following up on it. Because of what I learned in highschool (sleep through your classes), I didn't end up doing so well.

I loved programming, I started when I was 13 but I gave it up for these AP classes (and also because the school dropped the program). I am ashamed of that. I took classes that I was expected to and became disinterested of the subject because most of my peers were disinterested in it. In the end, I think you had to hold the snobbish attitude to learn anything. Since I couldn't consciously hold that attitude, I just taught my Calc math class. :/

There are a few things about those schools though, I can cram really easily. I might not remember things years from now, but I can hold it in my head for 3 months. I also learned how to read. Most people are not very good at that either. I learned how to pull out ideas. I have an incredible interest in history and english (mostly because I loved my teachers) which I find imperative to not sound like an ass in public. But how much of that is actually something that the school teaches? I don't know... the more I think about it, the more these strange schools seem like a good idea.

Although I have to say, those teachers better be overqualified.

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Re: "11th Grade" Discussion

Postby wisty » Sat Dec 20, 2008 8:41 am UTC

Any Australians on the forum?

As we have the most left-wing, inane schooling system. The whole educational philosophy is that students need to be learn to think for themselves. Which means that students need to learn to think like the teachers (because clueless soft-left English teachers who have gone from school to uni back to school really know how the real world works), preferentially by doing wannabe postmodern essays. The homework itself is like playing the card game Mao - you can't be told the rules (because that is not constructive learning), but heaven forbid you disagree with the teachers opinions.

I'm a left-libertarian myself. But jeez ...

Ronfar
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Re: "11th Grade" Discussion

Postby Ronfar » Sat Dec 20, 2008 9:31 am UTC

The purpose of modern education is to separate productive workers from non-productive workers. In other words, to weed out both idiots and those who are inclined to question the social norms that they are presented.

Actual learning is incidental.

Google "signaling model of education" for more information.
- Doug

Lockheed
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Re: "11th Grade" Discussion

Postby Lockheed » Sat Dec 20, 2008 10:06 am UTC

I would point this out, but I believe there's a rule against first-posters posting links, right?

I'll just transcribe it...

Dear Mrs. ********,

You may already know this, but in case Alex has neglected to tell you, I am assigning him to detention for one hour this Friday, April 22nd. The reason is as follows:

Alex consistently defied me. During class he contradicted me numerous times when I insisted that the length of one kilometer was greater than that of one mile. Every other student in the class accepted my lesson without argument, but your son refused to believe what I told him, offering such rebuttals as, "You're lying to the class," and commanding other students to challenge my curriculum.

Although he was correct, Alex's actions show a blatant disregard for authority, and a complete lack of respect for his school. In the future, Alex would be better off simply accepting my teachings without resistance.

Please see to it your son understands this.

Regards,
***************


No idea whether it's real or not, but I have had some teaches that I could see writing a letter like that and firmly believing it...

archeosans
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Re: "11th Grade" Discussion

Postby archeosans » Sat Dec 20, 2008 11:56 am UTC

carlc75 wrote:Did anyone else read this comic and assume "Perl" was one of Monroe's old girlfriends.

When language names are interchangeable with women's names, I always imagine an melancholic programmer thinking of a way to immortalise a memory.


So, that's exactly what I thought about the alt-text. People seem to be thinking it's about talking to some lonely kid, but it's really about talking to Perl.. which is why he got to mess "around" with her.

Maybe I'm just dirty.

blindaurora
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Re: "11th Grade" Discussion

Postby blindaurora » Sat Dec 20, 2008 12:37 pm UTC

I'm the strange guy that you didn't want to talk to in homeroom. Fortunately, I wasn't dumb enough to take a gun to school.


When I read the alt-text, I immediately saw it as a refference to school shootings (aka Collumbine). But then, the Collumbine shootings happened when I was in 11th grade, and there was alot of press about how dangerous the quiet loners (in black trench coats) could be. Five of my good friends fit that description (except the loner part), and suffered alot of undeserved abuse and discrimination at the hands a few especially stupid teachers and administrators. It was really awful. Luckily, this did not provoke them to blow up the school or kill a bunch of people.

But yeah, you can really make someone's day (and possibly swing them off the "go crazy and kill everyone" track) by being nice and treating them like a human.

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Re: "11th Grade" Discussion

Postby dagw » Sat Dec 20, 2008 1:40 pm UTC

Carnildo wrote:
SpringLoaded12 wrote:And a programmer of any kind will never need GOD DAMN Advanced Trigonometry.

I'd disagree. Strongly.

I'll second that disagreement. I use trigonometry almost every day while programming. Trigonometry is probably the branch of math I've used most often in my programming career. Now there are obviously plenty of programming jobs where you'll never need trig, but why limit yourself to only those jobs?

dagw
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Re: "11th Grade" Discussion

Postby dagw » Sat Dec 20, 2008 1:54 pm UTC

irskep wrote:Here's one more person proclaiming the usefulness of high school mathematics. I didn't realize that I could actually use all that math until the day when I had to figure out a trig problem for a computer game I was writing and grabbed a sheet of paper without even thinking about it.

I kind of agree, in principle. I have a masters in mathematics, and really considered high school math waste of time. All the math I needed to know I was re-taught the first year of University. High school math really should focus much more on applied real world problems. Show people that math is actually useful. Let the theory and more abstract stuff wait until university or offer it as a separate optional class for those who are genuinely interested.

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Re: "11th Grade" Discussion

Postby sdub » Sat Dec 20, 2008 3:49 pm UTC

I registered on this site just to post a reply to this comic... this is the most true thing ever. Even the alt-text about talking to that weird kid in homeroom. Those kids turned out to be the most influential people I met in high school

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Re: "11th Grade" Discussion

Postby CaseyThr » Sat Dec 20, 2008 4:07 pm UTC

The futility of 11th grade is nothing compared to knowing that you could have taken a couple college classes in the summer for free (staff discount) and graduated a year early, but were not allowed to because your mother didn't want you to 'miss your senior year'. Senior year, specifically pep rallies, football games and prom. Hate, hate, went last year. I almost had to take study hall because there are so few classes that I could take. Instead, I am taking 2 college classes a semester, 2 periods of EAST lab (the second of which was created for me just so I had something to do [can't have study hall and a traveling period for college classes]), newspaper (focused totally on graphics and fixing things on the computer), and AP English (and I don't need the AP credit because my ACT score gets me credit for English in college).
It is...so boring.
Upside! I get out of high school at noon, have two hours to do pretty much whatever I want on computers in EAST, have one college class a day except for Friday when I'm free, and will have more than one semester of two two degrees I'm going after done before I actually go to college.
But really, why does high school have to be so mind-numbingly boring? May 15 (my 18th birthday and last day of high school) will be the best day of my life.
Last edited by CaseyThr on Sat Dec 20, 2008 8:43 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: "11th Grade" Discussion

Postby phillipsjk » Sat Dec 20, 2008 5:40 pm UTC

aion7 wrote:... Also, I'm surprised the homework bar is so high. ...


As somebody who never did a lot of homework, I can tell you that homework teaches useful skills for the "real world".

One thing you learn is "project management." This involves setting priorities and scheduling with attention to deadlines. Valuable skills in the business world.

One reason I didn't do home work is that for the first ~10 years of my schooling, I could learn everything I needed to pass by paying attention in class, and doing the assigned reading and research.

When I hit university, I got top marks in psychology (2 hours of read & memorize for every hour of class), but failed my calculus courses due to lack to homework to practice the concepts. Sad part is, I am more interested in math than psychology :(
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Re: "11th Grade" Discussion

Postby symple » Sat Dec 20, 2008 10:46 pm UTC

wisty wrote:Any Australians on the forum?

Yes, me! =)
wisty wrote:As we have the most left-wing, inane schooling system. The whole educational philosophy is that students need to be learn to think for themselves. Which means that students need to learn to think like the teachers (because clueless soft-left English teachers who have gone from school to uni back to school really know how the real world works), preferentially by doing wannabe postmodern essays.

Gosh, that really bites. Sounds true to me!

If teachers are pushing their own views and marking down because of it, then they're not teaching properly. Yeah, that's pretty much guaranteed.

At university, we've been taught that the aim of teaching should be "to enable every child to reach the fullest extent of their Human Developmental Potential, in any and all ways possible."*** This means catering for ALL talents. Heard of Howard Gardiner's theory of multiple intelligences? Maybe we should divide classes on THAT basis, instead of just grading on one or two arbitrary intelligences, i.e. academic maths & english.

wisty wrote:The homework itself is like playing the card game Mao - you can't be told the rules (because that is not constructive learning), but heaven forbid you disagree with the teachers opinions.

I've heard of people on this board getting lower marks just for disagreeing with the value of a text in English. This should NOT happen. =(
Also, the generic 'textbook question-and-answer' homework in years 7-10 is a complete joke. We're lucky to have some teachers who teach outside it!

Myself, I'm going straight from school to uni and then back to school again for teaching, so that stuff all turned out to be USEFUL. For me specifically. However, much of the academic system only seems to be useful for preparing for more of the system. =(

American schools sound absolutely stifling, and also kind of biased. =(

*** We were allowed to disagree if we provided properly thought-out arguments, but it's generally easier not to bother.

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Re: "11th Grade" Discussion

Postby tricky77puzzle » Sat Dec 20, 2008 10:56 pm UTC

I want to spend one weekend messing with LISP (being in Grade 10), but I don't know what useful function LISP serves.

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Re: "11th Grade" Discussion

Postby Aspergia » Sat Dec 20, 2008 11:52 pm UTC

This was a pretty depressing comic, because it's very, very true, but I didn't figure it out til a lot later.

I left school with good marks, undiagnosed autism*, and no ability whatsoever to function in the real world. I went straight to uni, and came out the same way. Because I didn't realise I COULD have just told the teachers to go shove their homework, or NOT put maximum effort into every single project, I wasted a LOT of time on stuff that didn't do me any damn good at all. A little bit of time flaking off and getting my head around concepts like social interaction and managing money would have done me infinitely more good than all the crap I learned and have now long since forgotten.

I think it really is time schools realised that the stuff that really does get people ahead - like knowing what you're good at, figuring out what career you're suitable for, and social skills/networking, are NOT going to be learnt doing sums or copying the history of the battle of Gallipoli off the blackboard. (Even though we got our sorry selves quite comprehensively slaughtered, apparently "it is considered a victory because we didn't give up". Please?)

* I WAS the misfit kid you never spoke to in home-room. Sod the lot of you.
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Re: "11th Grade" Discussion

Postby MrRubix » Sat Dec 20, 2008 11:58 pm UTC

You will always have those 4.0 GPA study-bots who sludge through the material and get into good schools, and you will also have the kids who never do any work because things "seem useless" to them.

However, you need to be careful that the 4.0 GPA student is not JUST a study-bot with no real skill, and you need to ensure that the kid with poor grades doesn't have some sort of work aversion/attitude problem/laziness issue/etc.

Being on top of your work and managing your schedule is a really important. All those "useless" classes are actually very good opportunities to hone additional skills that make you, as a person, more interesting if you know what to focus on. English classes can help you learn to better write/communicate, which is vital in almost every field you can possibly think of (including coding jobs). History courses are great for simply being educated about the past -- and knowing how to analyze the trends/events help you better understand human nature, politics, and how to extrapolate certain lessons to the present-day (this can even tie into that psychology class you always sleep through). Finance and economics are just too important and ubiquitous to dismiss as useless. The list goes on.

Very simple examples, to be sure, but my point is that knowledge and education are powerful tools, and I think it's in your favor to not simply focus on such things as merely "a means to a profession," but rather a way to better yourself, whether that be through fine-tuned skills, a wider knowledge base, better critical thinking skills, stronger analysis abilities, or a strengthened sense of observation and attention to detail.

Those kids who never did any work in school but still aced tests were not necessarily "the best" students because they could achieve the marks without the busywork. Such people might be prone to arrogance/inflated self-worth/problems with handling workloads/inability to manage time or projects/attitude problems/problems with authority/etc. Companies dread hiring those types of people because they have a risk of simply not being productive employees, even if they're brilliant. On the other hand, nobody wants to high someone who is high-achieving as a result of intense studying/homework-plugging if they don't have the natural intellect to think on their feet.

I'm not saying it's bad to be on either side of the coin, but I am saying that it's a disservice to yourself to disregard high school curriculum as useless bullcrap. It's really what you make of it. You can either choose to ignore anything that isn't in line with your interests/future job prospects, or you can try to be both naturally intelligent *and* hardworking at the same time, with a constant thirst for improvement and education. Those kinds of people wind up being extremely successful.

It's important to have intellectual curiosity, in my opinion. Whether that be keeping up with the news and thinking about it critically, or reading about some new subject, or messing around with computer languages/etc... such things enable you to be a more able person. Also, "talking with that weird kid in homeroom" is an important lesson in just being a good person, in my eyes. Prejudice is a pretty good way to close off potentially great friendships and opportunities. Be friendly with everyone around you -- get to know people. You'll learn so much, make many friends, and find yourself with a very satisfying life.

Sorry for the long post, but eh, I figured it was worth posting.

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Re: "11th Grade" Discussion

Postby Roland Lockheart » Sun Dec 21, 2008 12:09 am UTC

caje wrote:He forgot the bar for time spent watching the history channel.


I'd toast to that.
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Re: "11th Grade" Discussion

Postby dennisw » Sun Dec 21, 2008 3:24 am UTC

It occurred to me just now that Pearl* Jam's Jeremy seems to be fitting in some way, as does Harry Chapin's Cat's in the Cradle.

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Re: "11th Grade" Discussion

Postby wisty » Sun Dec 21, 2008 3:57 am UTC

symple wrote:At university, we've been taught that the aim of teaching should be "to enable every child to reach the fullest extent of their Human Developmental Potential, in any and all ways possible."

That's half the problem! What about things that are not part of school? I did martial arts, scouts, musicals, volunteered time with community groups, read books, messed around with friends etc; all out of school time. They were pretty important to my "Human Developmental Potential". None of that was really "school". I guess that would be a problem for less privileged kids (but a library card is free, marital arts is a few bucks a week, messing around with friends is pretty cheap ...). Students are not wards of the state, and shouldn't be treated as such.

symple wrote:American schools sound absolutely stifling, and also kind of biased.

The US system could learn a lot from the current research in organizational behaviour. Too much assessment displaces intrinsic motivation, and incentivizes them to "work the system" rather than actually trying. McDonalds does not micro-mange employees by timing their burger flipping, or the employees would cheat, by cutting corners and poisoning customers. Yet students in the US are tested in "high stakes tests", where they reward or punish the students and teachers for performance. Then they wonder why students and teachers cheat (at worst), or focus all their efforts on learning the test (at best).

Programmers will be familiar with this article : http://www.joelonsoftware.com/items/2006/08/09.html
Robert Austin, in his book Measuring and Managing Performance in Organizations, says there are two phases when you introduce new performance metrics. At first, you actually get what you wanted, because nobody has figured out how to cheat. In the second phase, you actually get something worse, as everyone figures out the trick to maximizing the thing that you’re measuring, even at the cost of ruining the company."

So they introduce a new system, students learn for a while, then everyone figures out how to game the system. Australia is different - everyone is so jaded with new systems churn that no-one cares anymore. Except the new teachers, who can't believe that no-one wants to follow the shiny new silver bullet system. Hrmph.

Joel then suggests that it's really better to rely on human ability to manage people (i.e. teachers manage students with their natural teaching ability, and they get managed by more senior teachers). This all kind of falls apart when our elected and appointed leaders (politicians and public servants) get all paranoid about trusting people, and can't figure out how to lead; so they try to dictate by lots of rules and tests. Or maybe I'm just cynical.

edit: if you want to know another fault in US schools, for a text book to be (commercially) successful in the US, it has to be approved by citizen groups in both Texas and California. Try writing a book that gets approved by Texan citizen group, and is also Basically Decent enough to be approved in California. Ya. Here is a link: http://www.edutopia.org/muddle-machine


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