So this term I've started a Studies in Short Fiction class. As the name would imply, it is a class where we read a plethora of short stories and discuss them. Of course, it is also an English elective, being a one term class focusing on a precise subject.
Now, in an English class, you're expected to know literary terms, right? You know, the common knowledge of what a metaphor is, the sections of a plot, and other very basic things that you learned in grade school.
At my school, you only take a semester long "core" English class through 11th grade, so that means that your credits in 12th grade, your Senior year, are to be fulfilled with an English elective.
Here's where I start getting to the point.
On the first day of class, my awesome teacher gives us a 50 point test. This test is on literary terms, with questions not unlike the ones that I listed in paragraph two. Now, Juniors can take electives mostly geared towards seniors, such as last quarter I was the only junior in a Mythology class (With GOD as my teacher, by the way) and now find myself in more of the same situation. I assumed that seniors would know their way around a frakking simile and dramatic definitions, but I was clearly mistaken.
Out of the 30 some kids in my class, I, the only Junior, was the only one that was able to pass that test (With an A, mind you), whereas everyone else now has to go through arbitrary classwork in order to make sure that they know this stuff.
Seeing an issue?
These are seniors, seniors, children, and they all failed a test that I could have aced in 6th grade. Sure, I started school a bit early, hence being 15 and a Junior, but that was for freaking Kindergarten. I don't think I'm some sort of prodigy for knowing my various arithmetic, alphabet, and potty training a touch before most of other people my age.
The same sort of thing happened in my Mythology class last term. Whenever someone (Well, most of the class at least) would read from The Odyssey they would speak in a monotonous voice and struggle with the most basic of words. Perhaps if it was one person, that would be a different case, but for this it was 25 people out of 31, give or take. I don't think that it's too much to ask for competence in such a trivial category.
Perhaps however, it's public speaking that's the matter, a bit of stage fright. Sure, that's understandable if you're in a play or a concert, but performance anxiety from reading a few lines from The Odyssey doesn't seem very justified.
I don't think it's particularly a problem with my school either, seeing as how we produce a large amount of National Merit Scholars and Scholastic Letters for each one of our graduating classes, with several of our students going on to MIT, CalTech, and Harvard even.
I guess you could call me a little bit of an overachiever; I'm also the biggest nerd that you'll find in Vikingland, but there has to be something more to it. One doesn't have to be a "nerd" or an "overachiever" to perform at a relatively lukewarm level in a simple English elective. I mean really, there's no mystery to it.
I stop to think that English, or whatever class would be the equivalent, given your country of origin, is not everyone's forte. This is true. I certainly wouldn't ask some of my friends in my A+ Computer Certification class to compose for me a sonnet or write an essay on the world situation, but this is basic stuff people! Basic, freaking, stuff!
Perhaps I shouldn't be looking so far into the matter, looking into other people's lives when mine is really the only one that matters when it concerns my performance in a class. Unless the others are dragging me down personally, it doesn't seem like my place to judge or complain. But of course, I'm going to have to do so anyway, because it seems like the "leaders of tomorrow" are fixin' to run this world straight into the ground.
Okay, rant over, I feel a little better now.
I'm appalled with the performance of my classmates in the simplest of matters. Reading a freakin' short story and knowing what a metaphor is and how it's used isn't Anti-Mass Spectrometry!