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This is a question School Projects

MostlySunny wibbles, "When I was 11 I got an A for my study of shark nets - mostly because I handed it in cut out in the shape of a shark."

Do people do projects that don't involve google-cut-paste any more? What fine tat have you glued together for teacher?

(, Thu 13 Aug 2009, 13:36)
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Do a project
When I was about 9, our class teacher had prepared something to keep us busy over the Easter holidays. A task that would expand our minds, promote independent thinking and encourage experiment.

Do a project.

Yes, that was the entirety of the brief. No guidance of what a "project" consisted of, no suggested topics... nothing. It took just three words to alleviate the miniscule weight of educational responsibility from her presumably aching shoulders.

Surprisingly, the thought of "doing a project" was actually quite exciting for me at the time - I relished the idea of creating something independently and on a topic of my own choosing... but beyond that I hadn't really thought any further. I was about 9, remember.

Enter to stage - my mother. A teacher (a good teacher) at the same school as I, charged with educating the children a couple of years below me - and seemingly well-versed in the "hands-off" teaching techniques of my form tutor. I didn't realise it at the time, but in the face of such a ridiculous task she took it upon herself to keep me focussed throughout the holiday. If my official teacher wasn't going to give me any direction, then she sure as hell would!

I chose my subject - ornithology - and set about documenting the birds in my garden with my mum's 35mm camera and a pair of binoculars. We bought a bird feeder to help lure them in, and a friend of my Aunt's gave me a small bird house that my dad nailed to the apple tree at the end of the garden.

We went to zoos and parks to snap flamingos and ducks, and everywhere we went I scanned the trees and skies for new additions to the project folder. Having developed all of the photos (in hindsight the very early nurturing of my eye for photography), I almost filled a Bart Simpson ring binder with photos and information of birds local and exotic.

Upon returning to school, it wasn't long before the projects were marked and ready to give back. I remember it vividly - we filed into class, sat down, and saw the projects piled up on the desk at the front. There were four piles in a neat row, left to right. She started at the top right pile with a one-page effort from one of my comrades. I almost laughed at his puny page... how could he even dare show his face?

After a few more projects had been summarised by the "teacher" and handed back, it soon became evident that she was doing them in order - from worst to best (this was still in the days when your report came with a mark for each subject, along with your position within the class). Pleased that I had spotted the pattern, I scanned the piles for Bart... and there he was... bottom left! The last one! I was so excited, and barely contained my glee as the other projects came and went, until it was my turn to bask in the glory of my diligence.

I was delighted - proud, excited and unafraid to show it. I had earned this!

It is only in later years that I think about just how ridiculous the phrase "do a project" is, and when recanting this story to my mother it is amusing to see that she is still fervent in her description of how she took my Easter education upon herself... mainly to give me some direction (I was about 9), but more mainly to show her colleague a thing or two about teaching. I doubt it put a dent in the unwitting form tutor's outrageous confidence, but despite the realisation that I actually could have done fuck all and got away with it... I'm glad it went the other way.
(, Mon 17 Aug 2009, 11:54, 1 reply)
How old were you again, roughly?
(, Mon 17 Aug 2009, 14:20, closed)

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