Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Alabama learnin'

There was a thread over at SomethingAwful about how well people can bullshit through their school assignments. This brought back memories of my high school World History class...

I went to a public high school in the deep south, the kind where they get the athletic coaches to teach the "easy" classes like history.

For my 10th-grade World History class, I had the misfortune of getting the baseball coach as my teacher. This was quite possibly the dumbest non-retarded adult I've ever met -- not only did he know nothing about the subject he was supposed to be teaching, but he hadn't the slightest clue how to convey information to others, especially not to rowdy high school students.

This wouldn't have been so bad by itself, but I somehow managed to get in the same class as most of the school's baseball team. This meant that about 75% of classroom time was spent bullshitting about baseball, and the remainder was "instruction" consisting of "uh, just read from your books until the bell rings".

Tests were a joke, since they were usually very obvious true/false and multiple-choice. By the middle of the semester, the baseball team was somehow managing to fail the class, so the teacher started putting these retardedly simple "extra credit" questions on the tests -- ie. "The leader of Germany during World War II was Adolf _________".

With two months left in the semester, I had somewhere around a 135% in the class (being the only person to actually write the assigned papers meant they all became "extra credit", with nobody else being penalized). Not to mention that all of the tests were bumped up on some ridiculous scale to ensure that none of the baseball players were put on academic probation.

I decided to just start fucking around on assignments and tests, since even if I scored a zero on all of them, I'd still finish above an A+. The fill-in-the-blank questions on tests soon became filled with the names of rock stars and video game characters. Trent Reznor sparked the Reformation, and Samus Aran was a great Egyptian pharaoh. Every single one of them came back with a perfect score (or, really, better-than perfect, since I wrote the same bullshit on the extra credit questions).

Our final paper was a vague assignment to write two pages about "something interesting you learned in this class". I made up something about the Hawaiian Illuminati and their scheme to destroy the world's rubber band supply. A+, baby.

It became obvious that the teacher wasn't even reading the tests or assignments anymore and was just giving students whatever grade he'd come to expect from them.

So I guess I wasn't really bullshitting my way through the class out of necessity, but out of boredom and wanting to see how far I could go without getting noticed. I wish I could go back in time and show all of those tests and assignments to the principal -- well, if he hadn't been a stupid, inbred, racist fuck who spent more time hitting on the cheerleaders than administering the school.

Ah, southern public schools, how I miss you.


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