Saturday, December 1, 2012

Being Smart Didn’t Matter by @Aspiewriter

Being Smart Didn’t Matter | Nov 30th 2012

Being interesting, hard headed, and independent worked in my favor. Since everyone usually laughed at the stupid things I did or got myself into, I became the class clown.

It didn’t happen on purpose exactly. I had the habit of not being able to filter my thoughts before they flew out of my mouth. I wasn’t trying to be funny on purpose, nor was I trying to be insulting or make fun of other people. But come on, if the English teacher came in to teach in leather pants what did she expect?

My flying thoughts were either met with scorn and ridicule, usually by other girls, or giggles and high-fives that came from the boys in class. I got a reputation for always saying what I thought, and not caring how other people felt about it. The problem was I didn’t understand why this was even something to notice. Didn’t everyone say what they thought? Why would you say anything else?

I did not have to work hard for my grades for the most part. If I needed to learn something, and I was interested in it, all I had to do was read. If I read the book, the information was usually branded onto my brain. That comes in handy when it is test time.

In the lower grades as long as I was able to do well on tests my grades stayed up. That had made sense to me. I took the test, passed (usually with a 100 percent) so I knew the work and should get an A right?

In the seventh grade I wound up in the principal’s office often (are you noticing a pattern here?) This time it was because I was being accused of cheating on my math tests. I didn’t like being accused of cheating, or lying—ever. Giving me “F’s” on tests I had done well on was an injustice I was unable to bear.

My mother often had to come up to school because of my “cheating,” and the yelling, screaming, and crying that followed. My behavior was “uncalled for and inappropriate” is what they said.

“Do you want her to take the test again?” my mother asked. That made me even angrier, why should I have to do the work twice just because they refused to believe that I knew how to do the work.

“Yes, but she must show all her work.”

I never understood why the math teacher did problems the way he did. Why did he have to go through all those meaningless complicated steps just to get the answer, when he could have just asked me? I knew the answer, but I never knew how to show how I’d come up with it. In fact, if I was made to “show my work,” or forced to do the math problem in the way they taught it, I could not do it. I arrived at the incorrect answer every time.

Apparently being smarter than the teacher and getting the answers my own way was unacceptable. I failed Math class for the first time in my life. This taught me two things: being smart didn’t matter, and grades mattered even less because they did not reflect what you knew or what you did not. They only reflected your ability to follow other people’s ways of doing things, even if those ways make no sense. That was something I have never been able to do.

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