Tuesday, July 15, 2008

On my History of Learning

I am not ashamed to admit that my high school grades are not awe-inspiring but I can honestly claim that my passion for knowledge is greater than many of those grades succeed average expectations. I have always appreciated the disciplines in the arts because they are limitless in possibility, level of greatness, and territory to discover. Most importantly, if one dedicates oneself to the arts it can only be out of passion because there is no money in it. In addition to the arts, however, I have always loved English, history, science, philosophy, and French. Yet, throughout the years, I had never had much success in enjoying them in school.
Final answers create closed-minded people. One of the reasons why I have not enjoyed my highschool is that it is not a student “body.” It might as well be one student and a teacher, a head and a spine. While the human body requires lungs, and a heart, our highschool student-body had no heart. There was only your typical teen-age will to blend, to have the accepted opinion, the accepted response. During my sophomore year, the English supervisor told me that based on my grades I “was not made for AP English” and refused to grant me placement. I was disgruntled by that neglectful response, however I refused to be confrontational and accepted placement in academic English for junior year. That class consisted of watching videos and filling out crossword puzzles. I often put off busy-work assignments to finish a good book on philosophy, or practice piano. In spring, I was assigned a junior paper, one of the first substantial assignments of the year. The requirement was to focus on the analysis of a poem but I stretched the limits to work on one of Shakespeare’s plays. I read and analyzed all of “Othello” line by line and wrote, focusing on a psychological perspective, with the help of additional sources. I was given a ‘B.” My teacher’s explanation was that I had exceeded the page limit and that “in the real world, I would have to follow the instructions to be successful in my job in the future.” Many others in the class completed the bare minimum and received an A” for following the instructions. Whatever happened to knowledge for the sake of knowledge? I believe that that paper taught me much more about literature than her class ever did. This year, I chose to take three advanced placement classes, in all of which the teacher’s singular concern was the material on the A.P test. I had little concern for the grade; I was there for the knowledge. Often I was told my questions weren’t important because they
were not on the exam.
Highschool has never been about the grade for me, nor has it been about being correct. I value inspiration and asking questions. Sadly, I failed to see the passion in most of my teachers. The shallow expectation to succeed baffles me when there is so little importance placed on inspiration.

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