|Class of 1996- One Year Later|
|June 22, 1997|
This past week I had the pleasure of attending the graduation ceremony at my old high school. I had a couple close friends and a few double partners of mine graduating, so I figured I would go. It was a nice ceremony, they had beautiful weather for it, but the whole time I couldn't help but think back to my high school days. It's just that I had so many good memories from high school. Like there was the time I scored five goals in a floor hockey game. Or that one mammoth homerun I hit in wiffleball that nearly hit the ceiling of the gym. And who can forget that divinr in high school, but I would have no clue how to integrate an equation or balance an oxidation-reduction reaction. It's just when you think back to high school, no matter how recently or long ago you graduated, you remember all the fun, you remember all the friends, but the learning part is just about gone. Now it just wasn't going to graduation that made me think of this, but it was something I got in the mail from my old high school last week. What it was, is the subject of this week's Whack: The Class of 1996 - Follow-Up Survey. The purpose of the survey, as explained by the principal in a cover letter, was to "help us [the administration] prepare our current high school students in the best possible way." Personally I doubt anything I put down in a survey will directly lead to any sweeping changes, but if they want my opinion, I will kindly oblige. The survey opened with what I considered a rather general, and hard to answer question: "What is your overall impression of the quality of education received at Hopatcong High School?" Well being that Hopatcong was the only high school I received education from, how I can judge the quality without any basis of comparison. Quality is all relative, and I have nothing to relate it to. I'm sure I would consider an hamburger high quality meat until the day I ate a filet mignon. I guess I could compare it to the education I receive on my own, outside of school, but then I would have to say that the quality was very poor. It's an unfair comparison, I definitely learn a lot more when I educate myself than when someone tries to educate me. I guess I'll just have to put `average' for that one. The second part of the survey was titled, "High School Environment" and you had to put down your level of satisfaction for various items separated in four sections. Some of the items included:
Quality of classroom instruction- Once again there is that quality word again. I can't judge the quality of classroom instruction when that was the only place I got classroom instruction during high school. I can only compare different teachers with each other, and give my opinion of the quality of classroom instruction of individual teachers. However, it doesn't ask you to get that specific, it just want you to give a general judgment, which is something I cannot do.
Variety of courses offered- If variety is the spice of life, then my high school schedule was fairly bland for four years. But it was a small school, more courses would definitely cause a logistical problem, so I'll forgive them for that one.
Assistance provided in selecting and preparing a career- No matter how hard you try, it is nearly impossible to select and prepare a career. A career is not something that you can just select and prepare, it something that just happens to you. Do you think high school guidance counselors selected and prepared their careers as high school guidance counselors? No way, it just sort of happened to them.
Concern for you as an individual- If I wanted concern as an individual, my high school would be one of the last place I turned. I learned what they thought about me as an individual the hard way. I was lucky enough my senior year to be picked the one student from my class to receive an award from the superintendent. I would have dress up and go to some luncheon with my principal and superintendent where all the superintendents in the county would present their award to the chosen student in their school district. Well before we went, my principal called me to his office and asked me to list some of my accomplishments as he listed them on an index card. At the luncheon when my superintendent got up to talk about me, he pulled out the index card given to him by the principle, and started rattling off my accomplishments and talking about me like he knew me forever. It was then that I realized that I was basically nothing to them. They didn't know me, nor did they care to know me. All I was to them was a list of accomplishments on a index card that they could use to make themselves and their school look good. Next year someone else would be the one to fill up the index card, and I would just be forgotten in the past.
Cafeteria and food services- I think I still have indigestion.
Racial harmony at our school- Now finally here is one aspect of my high school that I can respond positively about. Sure, we had great racial harmony at our school. True there was only one minority in my graduating class, but we all got along with him, he was a nice guy.
Finally the survey shifts gears as it moves into its final section, called "High School Characteristics." In this section they give you a series of statements, and you have to say how much you agree or disagree with each one. Some examples of the statements are:
Teachers at the school try to provide a good education for students- Well I would definitely hope so. Isn't that their job? Anything less and it is gross incompetence.
The school administration listens to the views and concerns of students- Well I would have to say that they definitely do listen to the students, it's just that they don't do anything about it.
Teachers really care about students and their needs- Once again, I would damn well hope so. What, do they just pretend to care about students and their needs? Is this all just some big rouge? Just by including something like that on a survey makes me a little suspicious.
The education at this school prepares students to deal with the "real" world- If it is not preparing students to deal with the "real" world, what world is it preparing them to deal with. Is there some parallel universe where memorizing the unit square and knowing how to diagram a sentence is essential for survival? Is that the world that they are preparing students for? And why does the author of this survey choose to put the word real in quotations? It is almost suggesting that the real world isn't really real. If the real world isn't real, than what is? I'm sorry, but I don't need any of this Cartesian epistemological skeptic bullshit when I fill out a survey.
I think when I start questioning reality it is definitely time to wrap up the Whack for this week. So to conclude, I'd like to take a survey to find out how useful surveys really are; sadly, or pathetically, all I really miss about high school is gym; and schools should start preparing students to deal with the Feff World.
Now for this week's very special feature, Feff's top ten favorite people who were on MTV's The Real World:
10. The black lady from RW1 who was a rapper (She got knocked over by a dog) 9. The guy from RW4 who got his tongue bitten off (That was cool) 8. The black guy they kicked out of RW2 after a month (She was asking for it) 7. Judd (He kicked out Puck, but he still seemed like a cool guy) 6. Mohammed (He was like the wise voice of reason for the entire house) 5. Pedro (A true inspiration for us all) 4. Eric Nies (From Real World to The Grind, what more can you want in a career?) 3. Jon (That cowboy guy) 2. Dominick (The drunk Irish guy from RW2) 1. Puck (Damn bastards should have never kicked him out)