Sunday, March 9, 2014

[Personal Rant] Me and Education.

I loved my teachers - they were awesome people, but yeah.

When we came to Canada, the Edmonton Public School System insisted my brother and I be put in with our age groups rather than tested to see where we were educationally. I sat on my ass and didn't learn a dang thing for over two years. I was bored, I was restless, I had no interest in doing work I already knew how to do.

By the time I hit high school (grades eight through twelve) I'd managed to learn to fake my way through the stuff I could care less about or already knew so I could just sit and read instead. My attitude was, if I bring home a 96%, I get a 'What happened to the other 4%?' so what's the difference between that and a 'What happened to the other 20%'? I may as well read and enjoy myself.

I learned to do the absolute bare minimum of the crap to get to the good stuff. I excelled at anything that involved reading or writing since those were my interests, I bombed at anything that required dry reading and spewing forth back what I'd read. Why should I write out the seven different types of glaciers when you can just look in a book? If I were writing a report on Archduke Ferdinand, I would look up the dates before I published the report, it's been well established, so why should I remember them? It was an exercise in recitation, not learning, to me. That the government said I HAD to learn certain things seemed silly. I enjoyed courses like Business Education and Consumer Education that taught us practical use of money, how to buy a car, how to shop for real estate, practical every day things we would use. Things that you can't pick up in a book.

By the time I hit grade 10, I was skipping classes. I was BORED. They didn't challenge me. I learned more online than I ever did in school. I learned more at the library. I learned more from my older than me friends. I learned more from observation of people. I took courses early. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't. Trying to do grade 11 physics with only the knowledge of grade 9 math is a no go. I tried it again when I was just starting to learn grade 10 math. But the class, both times, very quickly left me behind.  The other students already learned things like formulas and how to manipulate them while I was struggling with trying to memorize all the various variations of the formulas. Half the time I wasn't told all the variations because it was assumed I already knew how to find them on my own. It hit my teen age ego pretty hard that I couldn't do this, it didn't even occur to me I couldn't do it because I didn't have the prerequisite knowledge, I just thought it was because I wasn't a science or math person. To this day I still don't associate myself with the ability to do anything math related. I can do algebra in my head, but I'm not a math person. I saw my brother seemingly sailing through the maths and sciences and getting the praise of my parents while I was getting told I wasn't trying hard enough. In most cases, that'd have been true, but in this case, I was trying to climb a mountain with no rope.

I skipped more and more classes through grade 11 and grade 12. I got asked 'why' a lot, but how do you tell your teachers that you're bored? How do you confide anything in parents when your parents just turn around to the teachers and say "She says she's BORED." which just insults the teachers. I didn't want to insult my teachers, I liked my teachers. I knew if I had a problem I could identify or they could fix, they'd be there for me. I, however, also knew that they were trapped by the system. They had to teach for the provincial testing at the end of the semester. They had to have us know certain things in certain ways by a certain time. They had 32 - 35 students per class to teach this to.

They were trying their best for me, but I'd become so disconnected and so out of caring by that point, there wasn't much they could do. It didn't help hearing "Your brother could.." or "Your brother scored.."  Dave is a wonderful, generous, kind, and fantastic big brother. He's a very intelligent, very quick witted, and very driven individual. He retains knowledge like a sponge does water. I'm a lot like my brother, but I don't have his drive and stubbornness for completing things. If I don't see a point to something, I just won't do it. Self-defeating, but there it is. I didn't see the point in counting thirty-seven beans the book just told us there were thirty-seven of, so I wouldn't count and would get a crappy grade.

It was never the fault of the teachers. They tried. In my years in school I met only a few teachers I actively disliked, and that's because they didn't listen. Hindsight tells me they were burned out by the demands and the system and were now just going through the motions. Of course, they may also have been frustrated with the strange child/teen who did the bare minimum to get a C+ or B , who could have achieved much better grades but had far more interest in computers than already long established facts. But they tried.

[Personal Rant] House of Cards Review.

So - I watched the first season of House of Cards. I didn't enjoy it. I wouldn't say I didn't like it, but I didn't dislike it either. I think, mostly, because it didn't cause any huge emotional reaction in me either way.

It didn't touch me. Mini-spoiler, but the first scene pretty much summed up the show to me. A dog is hit by a car (hit and run), the Congressman and his security agent find the dog and the Congressman kills it to put it out of its misery.  And the first thought that hit my head was "TAKE IT TO A VET, YOU *Q&#*!!E#@#!" The dog was alive enough to be whimpering, it was probably alive enough to be treated. Guarantee of saving? Of course not, but just killing it yourself? The scene was probably supposed to establish the Congressman as a practical, driven, man. That wasn't at all all the impression it left *me* with.

Without further spoilering, my other issue was the story-telling. It's very much like you're traveling down highway 1, and you're watching the scenery, you stop at a few small towns, you enjoy the quaint cupcakes, and then BAM! Oh, sorry, you were on Highway 3 all along. No, there was no indication that town of Millbury was actually Luxersen, but y'know just deal. Fine, okay, a little shock/suspense is okay, so Highway 3, got it. Oh, no, sorry, Highway 3 is actually Highway 17, you can tell by the complete lack of evidence ever given. The constant changing of tracks with no evidence or forewarning makes me so much less likely to engage the story in the future. What's the point? It's already been established as a lie three times.Yes, it makes sense, yes it fits, but no foreshadowing? No weaving it in, just bam, change? No thank you.

I also seriously don't get why Claire stays with her husband. At every turn he says its a partnership, but it's never about her wants or needs, they always take a backseat. Its always about his path, his power, she just gets to come along for the ride and enjoy it. She's either in it for a bask at his power, or she's deluded and I can't decide which. It strikes me as an emotionally abusive relationship and the only way you could get me to watch season two would be the word "Oh, she leaves him and totally owns his ass."

However, since the patriaricial writing will doubtfully not do that, it all really adds up to the chances of my watching season two being somewhere between none and non-existent.

The show would make much more sense if it were about Putin's rise to power than a Congressman's attempt. Seriously.