The Joys of Swimming for the Terminally Weak

Well, it looks like I’ve caved for yet another year. 

At the start of every school year, our school holds their annual swimming carnival. Students are expected to participate for their house, provided they can 1. swim, and 2. make it to the end of the pool.

Every year, I cave into the teachers because I have such a problem with telling them ‘no’. And they really are quite insistant that I swim, because… well, I earn points for the house even though I lose every single time, and there’s barely anyone else in my house’s age group who will swim. I’m the Event Filler.

But I tried to get out of it, this year, and came out of the teacher’s office feeling as though I’d been steered around the subject of throwing in the towel. I believe I said something to myself like “Damn it, I caved!”, so angrily that a number of kids passing by stopped and stared at me.

Well, here I go. I can’t swim for scratch. Heck with it, I can’t even make the full 50 metres without stopping halfway, and this time, for the first time ever, I haven’t swam in an entire YEAR.

Pray for me.

But, here comes the main point. Why are figures of authority, (teachers in particular) so hard for me to say ‘no’ to? I haven’t a problem with saying no to my parents, but there’s something about teachers that screams “Obey!”. I suppose… in a way, I feel like I owe something to them. The same ones who teach me are the same ones who ask me to swim. That, and the feeling of letting down the team that I know I’ll get if I skip. And then there’ll be the disappointment from my teachers, and… oh, dear me.

If there’s one thing everyone needs to know in life, it’s how to say no. Even to figures of authority who can use persuasive techniques like knives.

When Work Gets Ugly – Even After it’s Over

Today I realised something that was really quite traumatic. I realised that, during November, I had worked so hard, that now that it’s over I don’t know what to do with myself, anymore. In fact, if I’m not doing something productive, it makes me feel rather listless indeed.

Perhaps this is indeed why I’m writing this currently. I am doing something semi-productive, and so therefore don’t feel useless.

However, if you work so hard that when it’s over you find that you’ve forgotten how to unwind, there is a problem. If you find that you have worked so hard that when you try just to do nothing, you feel like you’re useless, there is a problem.

If you nearly throw up when you try to do nothing, there is even more of a problem.

This is from my own experience – if you are heading into higher levels of schooling, prepare for your exams early. Really early. Because the later you leave it, the more I’m betting that you could end up with what I’m going through currently.

I’m not worried about myself at the moment. I’ll get over it when I get over it, and I have fun things coming up next week which will help me wind down. So eventually, I’ll get there and will most-certainly be fine. But I say this as… just a warning to any student who happens to stumble upon this. And if you are a student, I really hope you take something away from it.

Exams

There’s one thing I’ve always hated about exams. I mean, sure, I don’t really mind doing them, and I become just a tad hyperactive if I get a really high score, but do they, in all honesty, actually indicate a student’s intelligence? This is the same thing I have against IQ tests, and all tests in general, really. They can’t be trusted to really indicate where you are in a subject. Oh sure, they can help, yes, but in a test or exam, or anything of that kind, what if the person has an off day? Surely then, it is not fair. Not to mention, some people have absolutely terrible nerves with these things – so we end up with the same problem. I’ve seen it happen before, and to some really smart, capable people, too.

And then, finally, there’s the people who think they’re doing so ridiculously well. They look at the test they’ve just completed, think “Oh my God, I aced it!” and hand it up to the teacher with a knowing kind of smirk. But then, a few days later, they get their result only to realise that they’ve done everything wrong, despite their previous work being mostly correct. I have to admit that I am one of those people in the area of maths. Perhaps this is why I have a problem with tests and exams as an accurate measure.

And here, I suppose you could quite easily say that “Well, if you can’t remember it for the test, obviously it hasn’t been reinforced in your mind properly.” This is probably partly true. However, with the above mentioned points, doesn’t it seem logical not to “test” someone in this way?

I’m in the personal opinion that getting students to do large-scale projects rather than tests is a much more accurate measure of whether or not they understand the given topic. If they don’t understand it properly and have lots of time to gather information, they can go to the teacher and ask for help so that they can even learn in the duration. Not to mention, projects are a good way to boost knowledge in the gaps that a student might have within the subject.

I have, within my years of high school education, met four or five such teachers who believe in projects rather than testing. But many others just prefer things like tests and exams and teaching students how to pass them rather than the topic at hand.

If you ask me, personally, the system is just a little backwards.