Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Two Stories About Homework (1 now and 1 to come)

Both Ed and I have a couple of horrible stories about school and homework. Apologies to Lisa and Phil...

Scott's story first: 

Growing up I was told by my Grandfather that homework is designed to make sure you understood the assigned work. And it was busy work for dummies (my Grandfather called anyone who wasn't me or him dummies). Now my Grandfather was a bit crazy, but he was also a child psychologist, so he did know his shit about school. In fact, he taught continuing education to my teachers because he was so good.

Then in my Junior Year of High School, I had an Algebra II teacher who gave homework. I asked why and he explained homework the same way as my Grandfather did. His answer was also, to make sure you understand the lesson. And, I got 95 - 100% on all my tests. ALL of them. So I didn't do the homework. I was following both people's advice.

My teacher asked why I didn't do it, and I repeated what he had said - it was just to help learn.  By getting A's on the weekly test, I proved that I did understand the work. And his NEW answer was that homework was 10% of the grade. And I explained, that isn't what he said homework was for. We agreed to disagree, I thought!

Then, he sent home an "unsatisfactory" letter to my parents about 1/2 through the term. Deanna, charming bitch she was, claimed I was getting a D in class. I explained that it was a B not a D and she accused me of lying and changing the letter on the unsat notice! Seriously, on something that was so easy to check. I explained to her why I was getting the B and she still told me I was wrong. She was even more infuriated that I didn't back down. 

I do get her annoyance because I always backed down to her and my father's asinine requests. I got the old "wait until you father comes home" lecture from her, and I was unfazed.

Later that evening, after "my father got hime" all three of us had a discussion where I reiterated my reasoning. They tried to scare me by saying they would "call the school" because "no teacher sends an unsat notice home for B work." I happily agreed to have them call. School was kind of my safe space and so, fuck off. I did not say this. I stayed in my room and tried to understand why they thought I would lie.

Seriously tried to understand. I had worked hard since the divorce not to lie. I didn't always tell the full story because it only lead to my father ignoring my concerns and pushing harder. I would rather not say, no I won't call your new girlfriend "mom" and have him force me to, than just do what he asked.

So obviously, the next night, they did NOT apologize to me after calling my teacher. They simply told me that the grade was, in fact, a B. To which I might have said, "I told you!" 

But they insisted that I had to start doing homework. Once again, I explained what the teacher had explained at the beginning of the year. Inexplicably to me, I was told just to do my homework. The next day I returned my unsat notice, now signed by both of my parents (under duress also singed by Deanna). I told my teacher it was unfair and my parents were being the crazy about it, thanks a lot. And he seemed smugly satisfied.

And so I did my stupid as homework, as told to. And Deanna checked it, gleeful that she had won. 

And I did not hand it in. Ever. 

The teacher asked me once why I still didn't do my homework, and I showed it to him. And he asked why I didn't turn it in. I explained, politely, that his complaint was that I didn't DO he homework. I was not written up in an unsat notice because I didn't turn it in, but because I hadn't done it.

He was not happy, but did not write another unsat. He explained it was still 10% of my grade, and I would get a B. I explained that I did not care. And Deanna sat like the cat that ate the canary and checked my work. When she lost interest, about 1 week after checking my work nightly, I continued to do it and I continued to ask her to check it. Every night. And it was Algebra II so neither she nor my father understood what it was and took forever to check it, until she just looked and waved it away.

So yes, it did shut Deanna up because I gave her the only thing she cared about, a show of dominance over me. I never told my father or Deanna that I didn't hand the homework in. But that wasn't what they demanded (and checked) that I do - and they never expressed any interest in the class past my homework. Not my tests, not my grades. Nothing!

And people say I am stubborn.

And yes, the teacher gave me an A - with no homework ever turned in. And I never took another math class anywhere ever again.


I am pretty sure this has been paraphrased