For the first time ever, I got straight A’s.
That is two A’s in PE (also a first) and two A’s in my history classes. To be honest I thought I was going to get two A’s and two B’s. Since now my grades are posted I feel like I can open up a bit about my experience in these classes. I hesitated about posting about it during the semester because of some paranoid delusion that somehow my teachers would find this thing-I’m odd, you should have realized that by now.
One of the classes that I though I would get a B in was my Step class, half of my final grade was based off of absences. Up to two absences put you in the A range…I was absent three times. Once was the time after I twisted my ankle doing the mile and a half in the other PE class, once was on Halloween because I wanted to pass out candy to the neighborhood kids, and once was the day before Thanksgiving. The last absence has a story. I did show up for the class, I had every intention of working out that day and burning some calories before I gorged myself on some turkey goodness-but I had occasion to leave. When I walked into the gym and found my teacher setting up an obstacle course (something she had never done before) I began to worry. She walked around to the twelve stations and explained we must do each exercise for two minutes straight (things like plank, jumping rope, pull-up etc) and then do a lap around the gym in between each exercise, I said to myslef… HELL no.
And this is why….
First I thought of the practicality, I knew these exercises were going to make me sore-I couldn’t be sore like that while we cooked for Thanksgiving. Then I thought of the betrayal, we were being “punished” (in a way) for showing up to class. My other teachers that day had light schedules and had even let us leave class early so we could get home to our families. That particular class was made up of 40 women, and one man-most of us were over 20, a lot of the class was middle-aged. The teacher was weakening the chefs of Thanksgiving! I had really wanted to work out that day, I felt tricked. Also something the teacher had said the previous class popped in my mind: she usually called in “sick” the day before Thanksgiving, but she was out of sick days so she couldn’t. I realized with having an obstacle course she did not have to work out. I quietly walked out of the class, I didn’t make scene I just left. I ended up ditching the other PE class too (it was immediately following the Step class) because I was worried what she had in store for us too. I found out later she gave a particularly rough class of circuit training. I went home pissed and expecting to get some crap from John about ditching, but I didn’t. He said he was proud of me for saying no and listening to what I wanted, which was a happy painless Thanksgiving. And somehow I still got an A.
In my other PE class, which was more running and weight lifting, I achieved an A by my progress and willingness to do homework. That’s right, we had homework in PE class. Every week we had to do a third day of exercise and log it. Between that and the paper I had to write in the other PE class, there were about two weeks where I felt like I was writing down everything I ate and did. Also every couple of weeks she would post a 20 question assignment that would take around 20-30 minutes to complete. No big deal, but it always seem to be due the same day as my history papers. To be honest I dreaded taking this class, and there were days where I just didn’t feel up to it, but the teacher was wonderful. She was understanding and supportive and didn’t treat you like a 2nd class citizen for not being in shape. I did make some progress in her class. I dropped 3 minutes off of our timed mile and a half run and all of the weights I could lift, doubled by the end of the semester (like now I can press 103lbs with my legs-pretty cool, huh?). Though I will not miss running in the 40 degree night air, I will miss the endorphin rush I got from that class.
Now onto the History classes. Early Western Civ was better than I thought it would be. I learned a lot more than I planned and it wasn’t all boring, in fact it gave me an interesting prospective on religion (not God, religion). The only thing I didn’t like about the class was my teacher’s inconsistencies. For example she change the test format on the second test without telling us and in some papers she would look more heavily at some aspects and then ignored them in the next paper. I had to use a different citation style than I have before and I would occasionally ask her questions. I would write the papers under what she said to do, and then she would knock off points because she said it wasn’t right when I followed her instructions. Ah well, I got an A and learned something I feel good about it.
My American History class was different than I expected. I unfortunately don’t feel like I learned as much as I wanted to. I think the condition of state school system was most apparent in that class. For most of the semester I didn’t know what my grade was. I wrote two papers for that class and never saw them again, two days before the final I saw my scores on them. The class was filled with a bunch of rude, just out of high school Republicans compared to the cultured, middle-aged Democrat teacher. I think when the teacher discovered he could not have the type of intellectual debate between the students that he wanted, he took less interest in us. There was this one guy in the class that drove me nuts (and the teacher too I think). He was parroting what he heard on FoxNews and when someone (teacher or student) would ask him to explore it a little further he would shut down and call the occupiers lazy idiots who just wanted a handout. I felt particular pleasure when he attempted a bigoted joke about Canada and then messed it up because he couldn’t spell Canada! After that he shut up a little more in class. Every so often I would speak up in class as a counter to that particular student, but only if I was truly brave. The guy scared me a little physically (he was very tall and a fitness trainer), he sat right next to me (joy), he could barely fit in the desk, and stepped on my backpack every couple of days. When I moved a few seats away I got a little more gutsy in raising my hand.
Anyway, it’s done. I’m glad I stuck with it and earned my first ever 4.0 GPA for a semester.