Wed. Jan 29th, 2020

Read 4 Fun

Read the short reviews, read the book, comment

School Daze

3 min read

This publication (I don’t know what else to call it) is a collection of excerpts describing how teachers might write descriptions of student conduct and behavior if they could write what they really thought. This is not a novel, the excerpts segue into each other, but the connections are well concealed and impossible to appreciate unless the entire short collection is read. Connections will become apparent on reflection. There is no plot, the characters, the described students do not participate. There is no conclusion or climactic moral announcement. The collection is hilarious.

I wanted to post some observations on this because for the next few weeks I will be evaluating the performance of my students after one semester and preparing for the next semester. I encourage my students to read certain posts on this blog and I will direct some of them to this post. Maybe they will understand some of my comments. Or maybe not.

The title of the collection is The School Report. That makes sense. There is a subtitle: Before We Were Tsars. I have yet to understand that; I can’t connect it to anything I read. This is followed by a note (on the cover) that this is {A Companion Book To The Full Length Novel “Arc Of A Shooting Star”}. A further note indicates this is part of The Shooting Star Series. Because I was impressed by the humor of this selection, I downloaded the full-length novel. A table of contents indicates there are 32 named chapters but only five of them are written. At USD 0.99, I can’t be bothered to return the book. Also, the five written chapters are funny and will be covered in a separate review.

Here is a quote in which the author describes himself. It gives a reader some idea of the author’s writing style. “He currently lives somewhere with someone and does some things he should not do and some things he should do—but not as often as he’d like.” (Kindle locations 416-417). The author’s full description of himself is more complete with more humor.

Reports on four students make up this collection. Here are brief thoughts on three of the four students. Each teacher will report their observations on each student. I have selected partial quotes from Math teachers

ALLAN KINCAID: FORM 5C***** Of Allan his Math teacher observed “Allan started the first term slowly, quickly accelerated—backwards—in term two, and then, quite amazingly, or not, stopped attending maths completely! (Kindle locations 72-73).

WILLIAM HARDING: FORM 5B***** Another Math teacher commenting on William “He has set himself extremely low standards that he consistently fails to meet.” (Kindle locations 173-173).

GORDON ROBINSON: FORM 5F***** A Math teacher commenting on Gordon “Teaching algebra to Gordon is like trying to teach a cod how to rollerskate—it wastes my time and bamboozles the cod!” (Kindle location 253-254)

Humor is not confined only to the report texts. There is humor in names, nicknames, and illustrations. This is a good break from everyday stuff and a nostalgic look back at how bad you were in school. Your teachers may not have written such reports, but you know you were talked about in the break room. This is a five-star Amazon read for quirky humor.




6 thoughts on “School Daze

  1. “He has set himself extremely low standards that he consistently fails to meet.” – oh my, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry! How amazing would it be if we could get a follow-up on what happened to the students?

    1. I have seen this type of student in my freshman English classes for four years. Meaning, they are seniors in their other subjects; they are ready to graduate but they can’t get past the English requirement. Most of them fail due to non-attendance but they keep showing up for the first few classes every semester hoping I will give them a pity pass. Nope.

      1. Oh dear, that sounds quite sad. I wonder if there’s something going on with them? Maybe they’re experiencing problems in other areas of their life?

      2. Quite possibly. They are young people living in a restrictive society that is exposed to the internet. At le least, it produces people with amazing amounts of knowledge and ability to access information but who also express amazing naivete about their place in the world and their ability to inspire change.

  2. They can inspire change but the cultural barriers are daunting. One of the biggest barriers in Indonesia is the fierce and uncompromising adherence to family values even when the family values have been proven to be less relevant today (or whatever you want to call modern times). Two Indonesia-specific examples. The first is arranged marriage. While not completely wrong, in many cases the practice is clearly contrary to the desires of those who have had their lives managed. Their desires are, the majority of the time, subordinated to the parents. Closer to education, Indonesia has an “oral history” approach to education. Not only is reading an unpopular activity, there is a segment of society (to include university students) who proudly claim to not read in pursuit of cultural preservation. Trump would fit in well here.

    Just a couple of barriers to change that not everyone has to face.

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