Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Private-school girls and boys, and other musings.

So for my weekly school observation visit, the Faculty of Education despatched me up the North Shore to one of the elite private girls' schools that seem to infest the area. I didn't have high expectations for the visit. You know, snotty girls and staff who are just as snotty and focussed on results rather tham learning. But you know what? The place was pretty nice. The kids were sweet and the teachers seemed to love doing what they do. Of course, there was the glaring absence of problem students. I suppose an exclusive school such as this one can afford to reject undesirable kids (and I suppose they aren't obliged to accept them, either).

And ohmigod, the campus; my preconceived notions of an elite non-government school confirmed. And these buildings were probably subsidised by the public purse, mind you, whilst schools of the state fall into relative disrepair. Bah! Anyway, I think I'll take this chip off my shoulder, just for now - because, well, it was nice. The girls were nice; the staff were nice. The campus. Just, nice. Nice, nice, nice.

I sat in on a year-eight English class (don't ask how I ended up there) and a year-twelve physics class. Physics, finally. I mean, seeing as in all my ob visits, I hadn't actually seen one yet - a great effort for Mister Physics-teacher-in-training, moi. They were studying relativity, which was great: a topic I'm semi-comfortable with - secondary school stuff, after all.

But then I realised how crap the HSC physics syllabus is - it's a tad restrictive, and the powers-that-be have taken things away without giving anything back in return. Nothing about Lorentz transformations; nothing about how Einstein really came to E0 = m0c2. Not even a geometrical derivation of length-contraction, or mass- or time-dilation (which is really really helpful). Instead, kids in their last school years these days don't learn; they memorise with a view to regurgitating facts and figures at some later date, i.e. this is the equation, and you don't need to know how or why it works - it just does. Hopeless. Anyway, when the class teacher asked me to pitch in (free labour, after all), I did my best, considering that I couldn't use the tools and methods that I had to learn this stuff myself. Hmm yep, a great profession awaits.

Oh yeah, and Ms Physics-teacher asked me to speak to the class before they got down to the relativity-business. Stuff about physics, education, and university. Which I did. It sucked a bit, short notice and all. And I'm shit with speaking off-the-cuff. I tried to inspire or something. But I may have failed dismally.

Meanwhile, at Faceless Corporation's Call Centre of HellTM, there's a small article of grafitti in Boys' Corner about a totally different educational institution although in the same general area:
Barker cock suckers - and that's just the girls!
The italic portion was added after the original scrawling, I suppose. Was Barker the one involved with the Apple-Chapel rumour?

In other mental defecations, Edward and I may or may not start a lobby group dedicated to replacing the '`' key on qwerty keyboards (to the left of the '1' key) with an interrobang key, i.e. '?!'.

Listening to:
Title: Hungry Like The Wolf
Artist: Duran Duran
Album/station: Greatest (1998)
Length: 3.25