Monday, August 30, 2010

School and the New Independent Study Course

There isn't much to say about school. I had forgotten how uninteresting it really is. When the most exciting part of my day is making it from one class to the next without being flattened by the mob, that doesn't exactly speak well for that quality of education in The Golden State.

Tomorrow will be slightly better. For one thing, it will be the chamber choir and not the tone-deaf choir that I have to accompany. It's technically called "concert choir," not "tone-deaf choir," but the director had to accept anyone who enrolled, so one can understand the overall quality of musicianship with which I must deal. "Chamber choir" can seem fairly atonal as well, considering that these people actually had to audition to get into it. I'm not sure what criteria the director used in determining admission. Perhaps the singers had to provide medical evidence that they weren't deaf mutes.

Tomorrow I also have a brand new class on our campus, called "Advanced Placement Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies," or "APAIS" for short. (Educators cannot sleep at night unless they come up with at least one new acronym each week.) We are to create our own projects and give ourselves grades. Isn't that a hoot and a half? I have no freaking idea what my project is going to be, except I plan to combine it with assignments in other classes to minimize my overall workload, or do something totally bogus, such as a study of court TV shows. (My dad said, "Great. Another reason for you to obsess on that Judge Alex guy." Then he reconsidered. "Maybe you can watch the show there and not waste all my DVR space.") Next week the course directors (we're apparently too damned precious to have mere teachers) will bring in a few different professors from a nearby university to lecture to us about our boundless possibilities.

My friend Megan told me the room was gutted out of an old building that doesn't even meet earthquake standards. If the big one hits California during eighth period, we'll all be buried in bricks. The top floor is an old theatre that was last used in the early 60's, with seats, a stage, and everything. There's supposedly a Steinway that no one bothered to move when they abandoned the building, and which will be harder than hell to tune. If necessary I'll use my own income to pay my piano technician to give it a stab, although I've been told that some ridiculous grant has been written and we can request supplies, so perhaps services could be included. The bottom floor of the building has partly a gymnasium floor with a basketball hoop and two different TV viewing areas with carpet and couches.

The whole course is the most bizarre concept. Our rather strange principal supposedly came up with it when he was in a drunken stupor, then inexplicably still liked the idea in the light of the next day. Admittance was based on teacher recommendation, the principal's psychic premonitions, SAT scores where available, and IQ scores where available. The course developers gave thought to making the class somewhat ethnically diverse, which is a virtual impossibility at my school, as the student population itself is anything but ethnically diverse. Ethnic diversity at my school means we have some students of Asian descent who don't exactly need the benefits of affirmative action to succeed academically. My brother and I are probably listed as being among the ethnically diverse students, as we have a grandparent on each side who wasn't born in the U. S.

The mere presence of my brother in the class would indicate that a not terrribly impressive baseline was required for entrance, but I just let it slide when he told me the course was on his schedule. It seems there will be enough room for both of us. I intend either to use the time wisely or to have a great deal of fun. I'm not yet sure which one I will choose.

I'll let you know how it goes.


  1. you certainly take your education seriously, don't you? It could cause one to think your parents shouldn't waste their hard earned dollars on your higher education.

  2. I think Alexis takes her education VERY seriously. After all there's a difference between taking something seriously and treating it seriously.

  3. Thanks, Matt. I'm glad you're more enlightened and intelligent than my lame anonymous relatives. Sometimes I'm 90% certain which one has written a given negative comment, but the cooment to my most recent blog could have come from any one of them. I need to remember that they're all upset because the bulk of my parents' disposable income will soon go to my brother's and my college educations. The relatives' cash cow is drying up, and they're not happy about it. When they have financial jams, they'll have to think of other ways to solve them besides calling my parents.

  4. Well, here's a radical idea for them! Stop paying tithing to the Mormon Church! Simples!

    For an explanation to why the word "Simples!" is a new catchphrase in the UK, please check out this advert for an insurance company here in the UK:-