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Friday, January 13, 2017

Thank you Mr. Mulder

 So for my first post of the New Year (yay! 7 years!) I thought I start with what I hope is a series of me writing down my thoughts about people who did simple things for me that had a large impact on me. Hopefully as a reminder to myself and others to be mindful of our interactions with others.

So I sat down last week and tried to remember what I actually LEARNED in school that I still use today.

I already knew that I had wasted a lot of my youth sitting in classrooms being taught stuff I had learned from watching PBS when I was 5, but I had never really thought about it deeply. Well, I finally have.

First off, I went to public school in Southern California during the 90s. I went to average to above average schools that were not over crowded or what we would call underfunded today. I Graduated HS just as the crowding and cuts were becoming a thing,

After some soul searching... I figured out that after about 6-7th grade I can't remember a single thing that was explicitly TAUGHT to us in class that I use today.

I'm not saying I didn't learn anything new after 7th grade. You pick up things just from exisiting. Tv, social interactions, falling down, etc. I still learned stuff.

 I'm saying that as far as curriculum, I didn't learn anything useful to me as an adult after about the age 11 from my teachers or school directly.

I'll preface this by saying I was in advanced math for my age, I was taking algebra courses at this stage.  Ironically, most of the math I do is making change in my head and figuring out tips. I was never taught how to count back change and just figured it out on my own. I learned percentages in 6th grade.

 It is borderline criminal that I basically I could have dropped out in 7th grade and not wasted the next 5 years getting picked on, drawing dragons in my notebook and reading fantasy novels.

Literally every memory I have of being in class in HS is me drawing dragons in my notebook and trying to look invisible. I'm not kidding. I would try to pay attention, become extremely bored and then check out. I was still acing tests. My grades didn't start slipping until things at home got bad coupled with me ditching school all the time because I was SO EFFING BORED.

So this is the last useful thing a teacher taught me and I loved him for it.

In 6th or 7th grade in math class we built this huge Icosahedron (think like a D&D dice but with more sides) out of PVC pipes and rope. My math teacher who was an amazing guy, taught us the difference between granny and square knots, so that the structure wouldn't fall apart when we were building it.

 I remember being struck with OMG THIS IS SO FUCKING USEFUL when he explained it....It was like a religious moment.. and thinking to myself  I WILL USE THIS FOREVER THANK YOU.  I remember being so happy, like euphoric. This alone tells me that perhaps I was already not getting a lot of new knowledge at this age but wasn't so bored that I remember it explicitly.

So I did remember it.

 I still use it.

A lot.

 Forever maybe.

Thank you.