Sunday, September 2, 2012

List #40: Ten things I don't miss about school

Not technically a school team, but helps illustrate #8 below.
The Great & Venerable Stasha has chosen a fairly open-ended topic for this week's Listicles: LIST OF TEN--SCHOOL EDITION. I've spent so many years of my life in school from kindergarten to high school to art school to college to university to continuing ed classes. Then I taught English as a Second Language for about eight years all together. I kind of feel like an expert on school, really.

I've also blogged other lists about school, like Subjects I've Studied in Post-secondary & Things That Were Actually Good About High School. But it's a HUGE topic that I don't feel is exhausted yet. (Let me know if you agree after you read this, hey? ;) So what to write, exactly? I think I'm probably done with teaching ESL, so I don't really feel like writing about that. For the first time in a while, I'm not actually in school. Sprout's still three years away from kindergarten, so what to write? What to write?

How about whining? I haven't really complained about school yet! There's my topic: Ten things I don't miss about school. To be honest, I actually liked school quite a bit, so I'll have to dig deep & take from my entire educational career to find ten. I've got a lot of years of schooling under my belt: including my recent part time studies at Simon Fraser University, I did 11 years of post-secondary on top of my 13 of elementary & secondary school.
  1. Pointless assignments. I'm sure that the instructor always had a reason for giving me every piece of homework I got, but some of the time, I just really couldn't see the point.
  2. Subjective marking. I did a lot of fine arts & literature courses in my post secondary career, so obviously, there's no right answer for most assignments. Surprisingly though, this was the most apparent in one of my classes this year, an upper level Phonology course at Simon Fraser University. I'm not going to name names, but that prof was totally inconsistent with his marking scheme on both assignments & tests.
  3. Having to do the same thing as everyone else. I realize that lesson planning for a class with everyone working on their own project can be complicated. But it can also be a lot more rewarding, especially for the students, when they get to study something they're truly interested in.
  4. Needing to ask permission to go to the bathroom. How humiliating is that, to have to ask if you can take care of basic bodily functions?
  5. Portable classrooms. In grade four, I was stuck in one the entire year. Later on, I still had at least one class in portables nearly every year of my entire educational career, including post-secondary school. The portable buildings at Capilano were possibly the most pathetic excuses for classrooms. The windows were constantly fogged in the winter & all the condensation made it feel like a steam room inside. The floors were rickety & the carpet smelled of damp dog. Even the classroom furniture was crappy small desks, rather than the tables of other buildings.
  6. Bullying. I remember it starting sometime in early elementary school & peaking somewhere in high school. Once I moved on to post secondary, it just didn't exist anymore, suddenly. 
  7. Having no control over the curriculum. In later high school, I did have a lot of choice about what classes I took, but elementary school we just followed a set curriculum & I never remember being asked what we wanted to do.
  8. Organized sports in gym class. I'm not into team sports. At all. Being forced to do them for several hours a week was the bane of my existence. It wasn't until grade 11 that P.E. class (I know, I'm dating myself by calling it that) got cooler & included more activities I like, like kayaking, rock climbing & sailing. However, as it wasn't compulsory any more, I took an art class instead.
  9. Being bored in class because we all had to do the same level work. I'm not trying to brag here, but I was bored a lot in school. When they separated us into groups by level for Reading class, I was thrilled. That meant I could actually read a few novels in grade seven! Seems to me that 12-year-olds should all be able to read well enough to tackle a novel, but apparently that wasn't the case in the 1980s. I wonder if it's gotten any better now?
  10. Exorbitant tuition costs. I realize that Canada is still not as bad as some countries, but our students are also a lot worse off than much of the rest of the developed world when it comes to the cost of post secondary. I've seen the costs skyrocket in my time as a student: when I started at Emily Carr University in 1993, my tuition for full-time classes was $1500 a year. In my last year at Simon Fraser University, equivalent full-time courses would have cost me around $7000. How can anybody afford that?


  1. Great spin on the list! Oh I hated those portables too. And you are right about the bullying. It seems not as bad in elementary school but alive and well in HS (I have a kid in each). I keep telling my older one that once he goes to college, all of the BS will stop.

  2. I hate that college is so expensive! I think the world would be a better place if the choice to continue education wasn't based on whether you could be approved for financial aid or loans. It's a shame.

    Great list by the way! I totally agree with #4...especially for girls at 'that time'. Very embarrassing!

  3. I agree with so many of these! My oldest started middle school this year, and almost all of her classes are in trailers, so she barely sees the inside of the school. I do remember disliking the fact that everyone had to do the same level work when I was in school (your #9), and I'm very grateful my girls are in a better school system than I was, so they're both in gifted classes this year that work at a more challenging level.

  4. I agree with every single one of these!

  5. my daughter is going to be in a portable this year and I'm trying to act like it's a very exciting, special thing...doubt she is buying it though.

  6. Kayaking, Wind surfing, & rock climbing in PE class? I was excited when we had Team Handball & archery!

    1. Yeah, we were lucky--my high school was in North Vancouver, near the ocean & mountains.

  7. I worry about my son being bored in class so much! And I could not agree with you more. The grading of art is for most part absurd. Specially when it is inconsistent!!
    Great spin on the topic!!

  8. Portables occasionally worked in your favor like the time you were late to the next class because you were talking to a cute guy or talking about a cute guy, you could always use oh I just came from portable 5. Or when it was squelching and you knew your next class is the cool comfy portable. Mostly, portables were lame especially in the rain or winter and it was always the yucky class. How about the school food, do you miss that? :) Michelle W

    1. I always found the portables stifling hot & not well ventilated, compared to the main school building.

      As for the food, we didn't have much of a cafeteria in high school--it was actually in a portable & there wasn't much food on offer. I brought my own lunch daily, though I'd often buy chips at the caf.

      At the various elementary schools I went to there weren't any cafeterias--it was bagged lunch, or if you forgot, a frozen peanut butter sandwich from the principal's office. :)


Thanks for commenting! (I've had to enable comment moderation on older posts to thwart spammers, so your post may not appear right away.)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...