Saturday, January 5, 2013

School = Stress


Originally published on Monday, May 14, 2012.

School equals stress. Or more specifically, history class equals stress.

I like my history teacher. He explains everything well, he's nice and a generally likable person. He was also my science teacher last year. The only problem I have with the class is the summative assignments. If you don't know what a 'summative assignment' is, it's a project a teacher assigns in place of a unit test. There have been four units in this course so far and there will be one more. I have not completed one summative assignment yet.

The first summative we had was completing maps of the borders of the countries of the world in 1925, 1950, 1975, and 2000 and to create a time line from 1910 to 2010 with six significant events for each decade. For the rest, we can either write a 1000 word essay, make a poster with several pictures and 500 words, make a 12 slide Power Point presentation, do a presentation in front of the class with a maximum time of 10 minutes, or something else that must first be approved by the teacher.

Did I mention that each summative is worth 65% of my mark for each unit? That means if I don't do even one of them, I fail the course because if I flunk one unit, and I essentially flunk them all. If I fail the unit, then I get to do one of three things: I can go to summer school, I can do credit recovery which I think is on my own time (I'll have to verify that) or I can repeat the course.

Summer school: I tried summer school during the summer between grade eight and nine. I didn't last a week. My math teacher suggested I do because I didn't do very well. (Right now I'm getting 92% in math; the class median is 62%). It was mostly review of ridiculously easy stuff I already had a good handle on. In addition, they were also shoving science and English down my throat. The only good part about that was we started watching 'Death of a Cheerleader' in English. I didn't see the end because I quit before the first week was through. History summer school should be marginally more interesting, though.

Credit Recovery: This is not something I want to do because I'm nearly certain it involves doing work for the teacher on your own time (which I realise sounds a good deal like homework). I think you do this at the beginning of your next school year, and with myself entering the second half of my high school career coupled with my changing schools is not good (the fact that I am changing schools may or may not have been apparent to you if you did not realise that I am, in fact, still in high school. But if you did not realise I am moving, I recommend you look slightly to the right. As of the time I post this, you should see in the archive under 'May', 'Moving: Episode 3')

Repeating the Course: Since I will be attending a different school next year, the possibility of my repeating the course seems far less bleak and embarrassing because I will not be familiar with many of the students in the class. But if I take the course again then I'll have to drop a course I actually want to take.

 As many on of you high-schoolers may know, there are six weeks of school left. That's not a lot of time to to finish all those projects. And yes, instead of buckling down and working on them, I'm sitting here complaining about it to you guys. And I know I have some relatives who are reading this and aren't very impressed. I'm sorry. But if you couldn't already tell, projects aren't my thing. I would so much rather a unit test because you walk into class, you write it, maybe stay for some of your lunch period, and you're done. Projects are things you do on your own time. You do research. You put it together. You make it look pretty. Then you hand it in with a smile for an added dollop kiss-assery.

Okay, so the smile isn't always a method of sucking up. But you get the idea.

I see the point of projects; to show the teacher what you can do working by yourself or with a partner without supervision and to prove you actually learned something. But they aren't my forte.

How I get so behind in situations like this is I don't do the projects to begin with, thinking I can skip them and still pass with a reasonable mark. But when I'm told I need them to get the credit for the course, I kind of panic and procrastinate more. Then as the assignments accumulate, I put them off more and more until an undesirably small time frame for completion is left over and I am forced to either give up, or preform nothing short of a miracle.

This happened last term in English. I had an essay and a poetry project to do and put them off until literally the last possible moment. I managed to pass the course with a respectable mark. I'm hoping I can do the same thing here.

I shall keep you updated on the status of my history projects. Wish me luck!

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