The easy way out
Before I started high school, elementary school teachers told me that no one cared about you at the high school. It was a different world and you had to do everything on your own. As I started my first semester, I was working with A’s and B’s, and great conduct. I learned a lot though. It was true; most teachers really didn’t care about their students and followed a lesson plan that had been in repetitive use since the 70’s. But that wasn’t a problem. I like looking at things from all perspectives. If you know what your opposite is thinking then you know how to outsmart them. When you assume, you only realize that you didn’t know anything and you just screw yourself more.
Sitting in my algebra class, doing my homework every night, I realized that there is a lot of busy work involved in this teacher’s curriculum. I don’t like busy work and I don’t like wasting my time. I don’t like the fact that teachers were giving me work just so they could put grades in books. So I basically decided not to do my work and copy it. Why not? I listen in class and I understand the stuff, so for all of second semester I never did one assignment, and passed with a happy A. This was fantastic. That summer I took Biology. Copying homework was one thing, but cheating on a test was going to the source of what you really knew. True knowledge is how you apply what you learn not just knowing it. My teacher that year couldn’t have cared less about his students, playing endless videos while I slept. Sleep!!! Another subject that became a habit in later months. But doing endless worksheets by copying right out of textbook was not my idea of learning. So I just copied some more. One thing lead to another and I was making cheat sheets for the tests. Little did I know that my friends were way ahead of the game. They had the answers to the tests from last year’s students. Wow. Now I don’t even have to make cheat sheets, even easier. And who was worried about getting caught. My teacher would fall asleep during the tests and videos. If a teacher does not teach, a student cannot learn. If a student cannot learn he cannot pass a class. If he does not pass his class he is considered either a slacker or stupid. So in order to survive, I had to use my methods. What could I do? I felt lost in this biology class but again passed with a B.
I see teachers as people. Some people see them as everlasting machines, always here to help you and explain to you when you don’t understand things. A teacher is a person who works. Not for the money, so I’ve heard, but for the children. They breathe, eat, and you might even see them at a restaurant or the market. You might not see the point of all this and how it relates to education but there is one. What is a corrupt system? If a student works hard and gets an A he earned it. If a student cheats and gets an A, does he deserve it? Yes. Why? A story I heard once explains it all. A man pays eight dollars to go see a movie, another man sneaks in from the back, he doesn’t pay. My point? Do they both see the movie? Yes. Credit is given to those who earn it, but it can also be taken and given to those who don’t deserve it. But it is still given. Some people see school as a place where they can get good grades. But screw the grades. You can kiss a teachers ass, suck up, do all the, busy work, extra credit and still end up with an A that means nothing. This year a friend of mine received a C in one of their classes. When the news of this C came out, my friend hyperventilated and left the room. I couldn’t understand what happened. When my friend came back to class, he told me that he would not come to school anymore etc… because of that C. As I explained before grades represent nothing. I talked to the teacher after class explained my friend’s situation and his grade was changed to a B the next day. You are supposed to learn at school. If this is the way grades can be given then why work. In life, you will never learn anything unless you want to. You are your own teacher. That’s probably why I sleep in some of my classes.
In my sophomore year, I was transformed into a new person. I had seen it all. People talking there way up from grades, every cheating technique, and I even created a schedule where I would copy each homework assignment the class before. I never did a thing. The truth had hit me. My grades and everyone else’s didn’t represent what they knew. Who cares about European socialism? “I am not European, and I am not very social” Ferris Bueller. School had become a daycare center. With all my free time I watched plenty of TV, and read more then enough psychology books. During sophomore year, school did teach me something. I was soon able to associate with everyone and talk to them to get what I wanted. I first learned how to make people laugh, even at themselves. Humor was the key to getting people on your side. With that I learned how to piss people off, the reverse of making them laugh. Then, how to make them think, and how to make them feel. I basically learned how to manipulate people and those of you who know me wouldn’t understand it or realize it because that’s the whole point, your not supposed to know. I will never forget an experience I had. My IAT teacher gave a worksheet and I had no resources (people), to do it for me. I went up to a random AP calculus student. He happened to be Asian. He did not know a lot of English but his math was excellent. I talked to this perfect stranger for about 3 min. There were about 15 problems on this page. I gave him the paper, and it was long busy calculating work. In 3 min, there were 7 people from that class working on this one worksheet. I will not lie; they did it in 5 min. I copied their work got my A. The test came, I got a C, I was a happy guy. I knew then that school was not a complete waste of time. If you look beneath the classrooms and the students, you can see that there are three types of people.
If you do all your work, study, make sure everything is perfect, get A’s on all tests, this taking you many hours, and still having time for band or other school activities, you may be smart but probably lack personality. People skills are a key element for the real world, which is where most students hope to end up. So I think that without these skills your knowledge will get you nowhere. If you do no work in school, smoke weed all day, and don’t even care about your classes you will probably also end up nowhere. If you try to get A’s and try to get all your work done, you are probably the average student. But there two sides to this kind of student. If you let school control your life you will never be able to be on your own. You learn to need the grade, and to be evaluated so bad that if you don’t get what you want you cry. Those who can accept the C or the occasional D will able to accept other problems in life. They will be able to control their emotions and not become a slave to the system.
Who is a slave to the system? If you collapse at a C in class, or hide your grade from other people, or have so much work you get no time to yourself, you have been corrupted. If you can let school impact your life this much, you don’t have one. Your life is created by a balance of things. School, family, friends, and yourself. When one goes bad you should be able to rely on a positive from another one of these groups. If you can’t be happy with what you are, what your are capable of, and how good you can do something, then you will never be happy or satisfied with yourself. When teachers see that students start slipping, and letting there grades fall, there should be special attention given. Questions asked, there should be some conversation. I see too many times teachers not giving the support to students, even when they try, so they give up and rely on other ways to pass the class. Freshman year had history with one of my friends. He was doing great in the class when all of a sudden his grade started to fall. He got his final grade as a D. The sad part was that when he got that D he started crying. He told me that he really tried, he studied every night and he still couldn’t get a good grade. There was no support from the teacher, and he never told me his grades from his tests. If the teacher asked him why he was slipping maybe he could have done better. A teacher should want his students to succeed not watch them fail. Maybe they need to take a class on that. I will never forget my friend’s words, “ but Mister Brown I tried my hardest and I still got a D. Why?” As I said before academics is only one aspect of school. A teacher should teach students that it is okay to make mistakes and fail. It took 39 different model airplanes before the Wright brothers got one off the ground. The idea I hope to express is that your grade may not reflect what you know but how well you can B.S. your way through your class and sometimes even how much the teacher even cares about you.
This year I am so lucky to have a teacher that knows nothing about what he is teaching. There was not one A in his class this last semester, and he has just finished grading the first page of a three page test and told the class that just from the results of grading this first page no one will be able to get even a B on the test. I ask myself what this idiot is thinking. Maybe he is not teaching the students the material. Incompetence is an issue when it comes to teachers. Who can teach and who cant. It is too late to change anything now, but out of 26 kids in this class 17 had D’s and F’s on the semester report card. I don’t think anyone else realizes it but he doesn’t know the material himself. When questions are asked, he tells the students to wait till tomorrow so he can ask another teacher how to do the problem. The idea behind school is to have someone so advanced in a subject, that he could share his knowledge with others and teach them. Many teachers break this philosophy. An evaluation system for teachers should be made. One that not only analyzes a teacher’s performance during a single day, but maybe a five-week period. An official cannot evaluate how a teacher is teaching by visiting for one day, this is the current system I see being practiced. An official must see how his interaction with students are, his clarity in explaining material, and his style of teaching the material. What really matters, above all, is if the students learn the material, and only they can tell you that first hand.
After sophomore year I become a pro at what I did. Repeat did. At this point I had learned how to pass classes with minimum work. For some reason, the way school was supposed to go, didn’t apply to me. I think it was because I thought too much about why I should do the work. Now junior year started. The most important year in high school. I was called into my counselor’s office and was basically told what chances I have at which colleges. Something had hit me right there and then. If this person knew so much about colleges and how to get in, and how to be successful, then why is she a counselor? Maybe she loves kids, okay, but that is the only reason I could come up with for her to want that job. All she does for me is put me in my classes and summons me when I am a problem, but not once was a called in for merit or recognition when, really, I have done wonderful things at this school. I decided not to care about what my counselor said to me. The belief that good grades will take me far vanished completely. Now I just pass for credit. What the school fails to notice is that there are more acknowledgements for bad things students do then good. Motivation is the key for wanting to work hard. When people are constantly disciplined from grade school and up, they get no chance to explain their position. They except the punishment and learn to be tossed around. If you can’t stand up for what you know is right then you will always just be another face in the crowd. “You’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t.” William Hiatt.
I don’t know how clear this all is, if it makes any sense, or if you understand it, but from all my experiences, I never leave without a lesson. “Knowledge is power. I am a thief. I want to steal all the information. For what? For power.” Higher Learning. My dad has told me that I have lost control, I have no direction, and he wonders where his A student went. The school tells me that I have gone down hill and that I lost my chance at good universities. My friends tell me that I am a slacker, lazy, and that they see me running a casino or doing some con artist business in the future. I am the product of a superficial school system. A system that not only basis it’s grades on actual knowledge but upon negotiations as well. As long as these negotiations are made grades mean nothing. What matters is what you know and actually learn. If can do what you want to do, then do it. If you can’t, learn how. Even this essay, I could have gotten someone to write it for me or found one somewhere on the Internet. I probably could have gotten a good grade too. But much like the education system needs to be reformed, in more then one way, so have I. You haven’t heard about my senior year yet. At first I was continuing my pattern from prior years. But one teacher acknowledged what I was doing. I decided to do all my work legitimately. This is proof that teachers can influence their students to be better, not only academically, but in the sense that they should put effort into their grade, sometimes. As a final thought you should think about what you are working for and what you want to do it for. Don’t let school get the best of. If you hyperventilate over a grade relax, in this system you can always talk your way up.