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For many areas of the world, this time of year is graduation time at formal institutions of learning. Thus, it is a good time for us to think back about our own education.

School Days

study education tmi

Below is a list of academic fields of study. For as many of these disciplines as possible, share a memory. It could be something that happened in class, an Aha! moment, something about the teacher or something that was helpful later in life.

Thanks to virtualsin.wordpress.com for this week’s TMI Tuesday theme.

1. English
My favorite classes in high school were English classes. I took both literature and language every year. Makes sense I guess considering my love of reading and writing. Not sure which came first really. My favorite teacher was Mr. Walters. I’ve written a little about him on my blog before here. I liked that he was always honest with his remarks. Even when they weren’t particularly nice they were helpful.


2. History
The first exam I ever failed was History, grade 9. It was also the first exam I really studied for. I never failed another exam until I was in grade 12. I was shocked. I had never failed anything at school. I was one of the smart ones… chess club, math club, debate team… It was devastating to fail. I was determined to do better the next term and I did. I still find history pretty boring. Not the things that happened, but they way they teach you about it. It’s all about what happened when and by who, but as a timeline of events. When they teach about Adolph Hitler, or Christopher Columbus, or any of the various wars, whey don’t they tell you about their personal stories? That would interest me. Not to make light of anything that happened, but I’d like to know what Hitler was like at home with his family, what he was like as a child, his favorite activities. Did he sleep with a teddy bear? How old was he when he had his first kiss? What was that like? Did he ever experience a broken heart? Did he make sure his peas never touched his potatoes when eating dinner? And what’s the deal with that stupid moustache? These are things that help tell the story of a person.


3. Foreign Language (French, Spanish, Latin…)
The first year I moved here from Newfoundland I took a French course. Back in Newfoundland, the province I moved from, French was mandatory each year but here it wasn’t. I thought I’d take it anyway. I don’t remember much these days but it does come in handy occasionally. We had presentations we had to do in front of the class in pairs. Of course a fellow Newfoundlander and I decided we would partner up for the presentation. We did it and it went well, aside from the fact that we spoke too fast. In Newfoundland you speak fast but take your time with everything else. I remember the teacher telling us we needed to slow down because she had a hard time understanding us, in French! I thought that was funny since French was her native language.


4. Psychology
I’ve never taken any psychology classes. When doing my natural health studies at Transformational Arts College I had to take a lot of self awareness classes along with counseling and coaching courses. It was interesting learning how different kinds of people deal with similar issues. I do find the human psyche quite fascinating. I like to know what makes people tick. Although I tend to look at things from an emotional or feelings based perspective, I enjoy coaching much more than counseling. Counseling focuses on a persons past and the emotional conflict or pain they have. It is based on feelings and emotions and tries to answer the question of why you are the way you are. I like to know these things. This is what makes a person tick. Coaching however, focuses more on the present and actions to help you move towards your future. It is action based and goal oriented. It is like reading a chapter of your life then doing a bunch of activities at the end of it to get you ready to move on to the next chapter. It is setting a goal and formulating a plan on how to get there. Regardless my feelings, I am very much process driven. I work in accounting and finance everyday, it’s all about following processes and procedures to get to a final outcome.


5. Mathematics
In my last year of high school I changed schools and provinces, moving from where I live now back to Newfoundland so I could graduate with my twin brother. They put me in the honors program which meant first year university math. I missed more than a month and was completely lost when I started. Actually, I remained lost the entire year as I ended up failing the course. After our mid-term exams I was in the school office and ran into my math teacher, Mr. Brake. He took me into an office and told me that I had gotten 47% on the exam. Then he told me that he was going to give me 50%, a passing grade, because I had improved so much since I started. That is exactly what he said! I had improved so much. To be fair, I did get 23% on the very first test. I finished the year with a grade of 45%, failing the course. The following school year I returned to take the same math course for a couple months until I could re-write the final exam. It helped. I ended up passing with a 54%. I had never been so happy to receive such a grade. Even with that grade, I still managed to graduate from high school on the honor roll. 🙂


6. Physics
I loved physics. It is logic based and creative. I learned to play a wicked game of pool as a result of physics.


7. Chemistry
I can tell you the that water is H2O, and that iron is FE. Everything else is a blur.


8. Biology
Biology is one of those courses I managed to not have to take. Ever. Moving back and forth between schools kept me from having to take it. I don’t know whether that was a good thing or bad thing. Thankfully, I never had to dissect any animals. Those couple months when I returned to school to study math and prepare for my re-write exam I decided to sit in on biology as well. It really was of no interest to me.


9. Gym
Mrs Gallant. She was the best teacher, coach, and mentor to us girls. She was always there to listen and help in any way she could. We voted her favorite teacher at our graduation.  



Bonus: Did you have sex education class in school? What grade or age did you have this class? Thinking back on the sex education class what was the most surprising thing you learned? Was this class helpful to you in your sex life?

I know I did some kind of sex ed in school but I don’t recall anything about it. I know I took it though, for two reasons. First, I have one of those monthly cycle calendars for using the rhythm method of birth control in one of my scrapbooks. Considering the book it is in I’d say I took the class in grade 8. The second reason I know I took it was because I distinctly recall a conversation, of you can really call it that, with my Mother after we had the class at school. She was never good at talking about intimate things but at least she tried. This “sex talk” in particular was a tad embarrassing and sexist as she never said a work to my brothers. I was about to sit down to dinner with my Mother and my two brothers, one the same age and one 6 years younger. We were having Kraft Dinner. She caught me just as I was coming into the kitchen, my brothers were already seated at the table. The conversation went like this…

Mom: You know how you get pregnant?
Me: Um, yeah.
Mom: So you know how not to, right?
Me: Um, yeah.
Mom: Ok then.

This was the second “sex talk” she had had with me. The first was even less conversational. It went like this…
(I had asked her if I could go out on a date with the boy next door)

Mom: I don’t care how many boyfriends you have or what you do as long as your pants stay up.
Me: Uh, okay.

 

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How to play TMI Tuesday: Copy the above TMI Tuesday questions to your webspace (i.e., a blog). Answer the questions there, then leave a comment below, on this blog post, so we’ll all know where to read your responses. Please don’t forget to link to tmituesdayblog from your website!

Happy TMI Tuesday!

TMI Tuesday

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I yearn. I don’t just long for or want or desire, I yearn.

A friend of mine is a Jehovah’s Witness and she was telling me recently how they came out with a new bible in modern day language. I doubt there will be LOLing in it, or twerking for that matter, but it is updated to make it easier for the vast majority of people to understand. She was quite excited by this. I was doubtful, but after getting a look at one I think it is terrible.

Regardless of what anyone may think of god, faith, or religion (which aren’t one in the same), or even if you don’t believe in any of it, you have to admit that the bible is a masterpiece of writing. It contains 66 books, nearly 1200 chapters, written by more than 40 people in 3 languages over a span of 1500 years. The language, the style of it, varies throughout. There is poetry and prose, historical accounts and prophecy. There are idioms, similes, parables, metaphors, and paradoxes. There is imagery, symbolism, personification, and parallelism. You will find even more great wordplay in the original language of the texts that was lost when it was translated to English.

Not that I read it really but I used to and I will still occasionally read something if I am going to visit a certain family member. It makes her feel good that I know it and we have some great conversations. If I didn’t read it I couldn’t properly question or criticize, or even agree which does happen. The thing is, I like the “old fashioned” romantic language of the bible I am used to. I like the yearning and charity, the thou and unto. I like the revelries, the palaces, the long-suffering and the worthy. Now there is longing for, love, you, and to. There are parties and houses, there are the patient and the good. Ok, so you understand the new words better, but why can’t you learn the old words, the beautiful words? Why dumb it down rather than teach people to understand? I don’t think the bible is the be all end all, but it is a great piece of writing and I hate seeing it dumbed down. It loses so much. Yearning, for example, elicits much more urgency than mere want or desire.

The language, even though translated, is beautiful. It takes some effort to work through some of the things the writers were trying to say, but that is what I like about it. It’s like breaking down a Robert Frost poem or a Shakespeare sonnet to understand its true meaning. The days of “See Spot. See Spot run” have long passed. If what I am reading doesn’t make me use my brain I’m not interested. And it has to be about more than the story. It has to be about the words and the way they are used, but it can also be about the story behind the story. I am a big fan of Edgar Allan Poe’s work but I am also intrigued by his life and the circumstances of his life when he wrote some of his works.

On to word porn. Now this is one of my favorite Facebook communities and Twitter handles. There seems to be a bit of repetition but I get something from it every single time they show up in my timelines. Some days it’s a quote or passage from a book, others it’s a new word. I finally found out want wonderwall means and how long ago did that song come out? I’m not going to do it here, but when I was in school and we’d have a list of new words to learn the meaning of each week I would always write a story with those words. We only had to use one or two words, but I have one I’ve kept that has a month’s worth  of words in it. Overachiever much? Yeah, that was me.

vocabularyThe quotes aren’t always thought provoking on their own, but the comments people make and the authors they introduce me to are. Take this post they put up last week. “Don’t underestimate the seductive power of a decent vocabulary.” Decent? That’s what they said. Decent. My first thought was how sad it is that a decent is something great. What ever happened to being well read? Then another follower posted this response, “just a ‘decent’ vocabulary? what about the power of an expansive vocabulary or a remarkable vocabulary or an idiosyncratic vocabulary or a deliberate vocabulary or an unrestricted vocabulary or a vocabulary that swims through the more elusive parts of what it means to communicate emotions?” Well said!

It is just another symptom of dumbing down for the masses, of being lazy, rather than teaching them to learn. I met a young man not too long ago who wants to be a pilot. Problem is he graduated high school not being able to read or write. He graduated! No teacher thought it was important for him to be able to read or write. They thought he was smart enough to pass, to graduate and go out into the world to find a job and make a living for himself and one day his family. Sure, he can put down on his job application that he is a high school graduate, or he could, if he knew what the application was asking and how to write it. He’s had to go back to school to learn how to read and write on his own dime because there is no way he will make it through to be a pilot without being able to read the manuals and study them. Even if he wanted to be something else, he would never make it through college or university with the education he received.

It scares me to think of what school will be like for my son. I will have to push and teach him the things they no longer teach in the schools. I will have to give him words to learn. I will have to teach him how to write with a pencil and paper. I will have to show him how to do math without a calculator. I will have to teach him deductive reasoning. I will have to introduce him to books, real books. I will have to get him involved in sports and outdoor activities to get him away from constantly sitting behind a computer screen. I will have to instill in him a desire to learn and to not accept decent as being good enough.

An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge ~ Proverbs 18:15

 

 

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