So, this blog post is dedicated to my graphic design teacher, though many teachers are guilty of some of the things I describe.
Over the past two years I have had this teacher, she has continued to be further and further disliked by the students. Or, more accurately, her way of teaching has been heavily hated. Nobody really hates her as a person - but the things she does as a teacher are completely insane.
Let's start with the most recent event, a student in my class was writing an essay in order to apply for a college scholarship. She was finished with her work for the most part, but the teacher put out a new assignment today. This assignment was not for a grade or worth any points. We'll come back to that. Anyways, the student was working on the scholarship essay in class. The teacher asked what she was doing, she replied that she was working on a scholarship essay, the teacher instantly got a huge attitude and told her she couldn't work on it at all. The student responded with something I didn't entirely pick up on, but the teacher responded with "Well, thats not my problem. You should have thought about that first".
Say whatever you want about this kind of stuff, but here's how I see it. You are giving an assignment worth zero points. What is more important? A pointless assignment that's worth absolutely nothing - where the only reward is actually being forced to do MORE work in the form of doing the other 5 banners? Which is more important, the assignment, or the essay that can potentially save her tens of thousands of dollars? It's no contest.
Let's go into that more. These assignments that aren't worth anything. If you want students to do work, put a point value to it. You cannot tell students that this assignment is worth no points but then expect them to put their all into it. If you aren't going to give points, don't give the assignment.
What about that assignment? What was this assignment that the student was simply not doing right off the bat, but would instead be doing it LATER, be it later that same class or just the next class? That assignment consisted of banners for a school's archery team. The pictures were taken with horrible poses, and on backgrounds that are a huge job to remove. Not a green screen, but a beige brick/tile background that blends with skin and hair and takes around 40 minutes to remove. If it were a green screen, you could use the magic wand tool to select and remove the green and then defringe the edges of what remains - and that'd be it. This was submitted to the school exactly as they requested, exactly according to their mockup, and they turned it down. They said it wasn't "professional".
This is where I have a huge problem - not just with that school, but with the structure of this class as a whole.
If you want something done professionally, hire a fucking professional. Pardon my language, but seriously, you don't come to a group of students who don't want to do work, who don't get paid, who are there because the law says they have to, students who probably are only at the tech school in order to NOT be in stupid classes like construction, welding, shop class, spanish, or what have you in order to get high quality work done. Sure, some are there because of a genuine desire to learn (like myself, though I am skeptical of how much this class has actually helped me) - but I'm willing to bet a huge chunk signed up for tech school because it was ten times better than the garbage being taught in the regular school. It would at the very least be somewhat relevant to a career that you can actually make good money off of. You don't come to people like that for "professional" work.
But that's just the assignment, what about the class? Here lately, a huge focus of the class has become print jobs and client work. Sometimes this manifests in the entire class being required to go out into the warehouse and performing a monotonous task for half the period, but most of the time its just the people with experience doing print work and whatnot. Thing is, it's not just printing. It's also doing the billing, figuring out the price, making the calls, basically doing everything needed for a client. There is one issue with this - we aren't getting paid. Here's the thing, the school makes money off of this. This isn't just a made-up component of the class to simulate a real work environment. This is actual work being done for actual clients who pay actual money. And none of that goes down to the student doing all the work. The teacher instructs the student what to do and passes information from client to student, but the student does everything. They do the designing, they do the printing, they do the invoices, they do the phone calls, they do the packaging.
I'm sorry but this is fucking stupid.
I don't care if you think the "experience" is plenty enough compensation. No, that's not how this works. I'm not asking for 50% or 60%, I am asking for SOMETHING. Like say 5% to 15% or so. Not a thousand bucks, not the majority of the payment (though that would absolutely be fair in my opinion, since we're doing the majority of the work), just a small portion. But nope, we just get nothing but a pat on the back and a good job, maybe some points in the gradebook. How is this acceptable? How is this okay? If this wasn't a school, this would be cause for riots over slave labor. That's what it is, there's no way around it. This is legitimate slave labor. Just because we're students doesn't mean we shouldn't get some sort of payment. Don't mistake me for one of those fools who think that everyone is entitled to payment no matter what happens, I believe that you have to earn your way in the world. But in this case, we ARE earning - the people going out doing internships are earning, why don't we? The only difference is that the internships are at legally registered businesses. That is it. This school is still taking work from clients, selling a product/service, and it for all intents and purposes is a business. The teacher has even said this to visitors from colleges, how the class is basically a small business. Except it's not - and because it's not a legal business, we aren't entitled to payment apparently. The teacher even jokes about this from time to time.
Some of the people here are incredibly talented. This talent is used for school profit on a daily basis. This is absolutely absurd. This should be illegal.
But the issues with this class doesn't even end there. Before Christmas break, she gave out two assignments. One of them was a children's book, and the other was something to do with Christmas lights. I'm not entirely sure what it was, because I was absent when it was assigned and I never went back to do it when I got back. I found out this was extra credit as the teacher clarified after we got back. That was of course until the teacher pulled a total dick move and did something absolutely insane. The extra credit assignment was now an actual assignment for a grade, and the assignment that was FOR A GRADE was now NOT for a grade. I'm sorry but..what? That is literal bait and switch right there. How much of an asshole do you have to be to do that? Her logic was because "you guys are slacking too much" or something along those lines. So what? We don't have to be working every single fucking second of the class. And this is where we sort of come back to the beginning.
It shouldn't matter if we do other work in a class. What matters is that we get classwork done. We should be able to take a bit of a break if all assigned work is completed. This is apparently not allowed, and I would understand if this was a paying job. A paying job can't afford for you to sit on your ass for a period of time - because then, you're being paid to sit on your ass. But this is school. We've established this. Clearly this isn't an actual job or else we'd be getting paid something. But the teacher instead chooses to get onto people for pausing for even a minute or two. If you complete your work, then you're given more work. You are continuously given more and more work until the end of time. You can't take a break with her approval. Often times, people do take breaks or whatever, when the teacher isn't paying attention. This should not be a problem. If the teacher catches someone pausing for even a minute, she will call them out and tell them they can't take a break. No teacher, listen here. Unless we are getting paid, you cannot tell us we can't pause. If we get all our work done, this shouldn't be a problem. The way most classes work - even at my main school, who has a whole ton of issues on its own, teachers often let you be if you get on your phone after work is complete. Because that's your reward for getting done early, you get to relax and chill out a bit. That is the reward. You don't get paid to come to school, but you do earn some of your time back by getting done in a timely fashion.
Not here at the tech school. Here, your reward for getting done early is to do more work. Wow! What a great motivator to get work done! I really want to get that new archery banner done and do a great job on it, because then I'll get to do the other 5 of them! What kind of logic is this? Who the hell thinks this? The only people thinking this (and maybe not even then) are the people who are passionate about graphic design. I personally enjoy designing things and making things look pretty. It's fun, its relaxing, and is certainly a lot easier than mashing a keyboard while programming (though make no mistake, I love coding to death). But even I hate this. This is absurd and is more instances of slave labor and absolutely broken thinking. Nobody who isn't getting paid is going to do a great job on these banners, because getting a great one made and getting yours picked means you have to do it 5 more times. It doesn't mean you get paid, it does't mean you get famous, it doesn't mean you get a scholarship or something else of genuine value - it doesn't even mean you get points in the gradebook. It means you do more work, for no points. That's it.
That's stupid. That is absolutely fucking stupid.
Another thing that happened was that the teacher actually lied outright. At the beginning of this week, she assigned Chapter 3 of Muse. She said that that assignment would be the one and only assignment given this week, which made sense because, you know, spring break is next week so we can try and take it easy this week. Nope! By Wednesday, she said she was going to give "one extra assignment per week", for the reasoning that people were getting through Muse too fast. Sound familiar? People were getting done early, so they can relax and take it easy. That should be the reward for being done in a timely fashion, and the time exists for those who WEREN'T done (which was actually most of the people as of Thursday even). But as we've established, she hates people being done with everything and taking it easy. Her other reasoning was that more grades were needed in the gradebook. But here's the thing, Muse was supposed to be put in the gradebook. Each chapter would be listed as its own assignment. She changed her mind later, and said that Muse would all be graded at once at the end.
Let's go over that again. Muse was going to be our grades for this last grading period. She then makes Muse one grade. Then, she gives more work because she needed to put in more grades.
If you were going to do that, then why not just make Muse MULTIPLE GRADES like it was fucking meant to be? What kind of stupidity is this? What kind of logic is this? On top of that, the new assignment was due today - an assignment that I'm not doing. The assignment is in InDesign, a piece of software which I find to be absolutely pointless and has no reason to even exist. If you know the magic reason, please tell me. I don't see the point in it to this very day. I also refuse to do an assignment that has not one, not two, but THREE PDF files required to complete it. Are you nuts? That's not getting done in 3 days. And again, the other part of the reason is stupid. If people are getting done quickly, why is that even a fucking problem? Let them be done. Let them come to class relaxed as opposed to working nonstop. You don't need students to work the entire fucking time.
Let's shift gears from the teacher and school staff, shall we? Let's talk about the bookwork of choice for this class. Any assignment uses either CIB (Classroom In a Book), Revealed, or ATC (Against The Clock). This is true for Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop, Dreamweaver, or Muse. These books all do this thing where they tell you do these steps, sometimes several pages of steps, and then immediately tell you to undo all of it, or to exit without saving. The most atrocious example is probably Muse, Chapter 1, in CIB. After 23 pages of clicking tools, poking around, the last instruction given reads as follows:
I have seen my fair share of stupid work, but this tops all of it. The entire assignment is nothing. A wasted 30-45 minutes of time, assuming you didn't do what I did and just scrolled through it, noticing that line BEFORE doing any work.
Also, I just want to do a small gripe about the names of these books. CIB, Classroom In a Book - Surely a classroom should be a lot more than just a boring old book. Revealed, as if the whole world of possibility is being revealed to you by doing the pointless garbage in these assignments. ATC, Against The Clock - I think I hate this one the most. The other two are just whatever, but this one actively tries to indirectly place pressure on whoever reads it, as if you're racing against the clock to...what? To finish a dumb assignment? Because kids aren't stressed out enough by school nowadays?
This entire school system is flawed, as I made clear in a blog post I made over at Chaotic United. The way school is managed and operated is broken and ultimately does not teach people anything. Sure, History is important - too bad instead of comparing past events to the modern day, showing how history tends to repeat itself - in order to possibly break the cycle of repetition, they teach us dates and names and who fought who in what war. Sure, English is important - too bad instead of teaching how to actually speak the language fluently, they teach Shakespeare and force the reading of old english that makes no sense to 99% of people nowadays, a variant of english no longer used or taught - and force people to hate someone who wrote some genuinely great stuff, who wrote engaging, exciting, and interesting stories. Shakespeare isn't famous and known to this very day for no reason at all. He wrote great stories and tales that would make you laugh, and that would make you cry - sometimes both within the same story. Instead of enjoying his work for what it is, school overanalyzes his work to death and the end result is that far more people grow up hating this man's existence because school ruined Shakespeare for most of these people. Ironic, Shakespeare wrote many tragedies - but this could be one of the biggest tragedies of them all. But that's a whole blog post on its own waiting to happen.
There is no end to the retardation of the public school system. Unfortunately, you'll never see me write from experience on the failures of college - because I won't be touching college with a 10 foot pole. I admit, I took a campus visit one day to a college somewhat nearby, and it was pretty neat. Certainly better than High School. But even so, it's not worth investing a mountain of money into. I would rather just be done with school here in less than 2 months from now (thank the Lord) and start living my life - I don't need 4 years of nonsense to be wasted. I want to make the most out of my life, and I don't want to spend it all on education that ultimately isn't that helpful to begin with.
Expect more angry ranting on school in the future, because I think I'm just getting started.
I know I've referenced and linked this website multiple times in the past, so I am putting this here in the event that you somehow come across this.
I don't hate you, and I don't hold anything against you personally. I personally can't even really complain about the work because I myself have had it pretty easy thus far. Even the other students don't hate you. My hope is that if you do end up seeing this, that you can maybe learn and improve and become a better teacher as a result.
You don't need to make phones disallowed in the room period. You don't need to force people to work all the time. You don't need to enforce this weird rule of not having anything from any other class in the main area at all. I know where many other students don't that you aren't really that bad. I know you don't hate the students, I know that all you're trying to do is be a good teacher. But please, try to understand how you're going a bit too overboard with some of this stuff.
Don't take any of this stuff personally, because it's not just attacking you. I merely used some of the things you've done recently that either make no sense, or that I just disagree with, as an example of the flaws in the public education system.
My hope is that in the future, more and more kids can come to class and be excited to come to class - not dreading it because of the fear of what new useless work is going to be given. My hope is that you can be a great teacher and someone people can talk to, not someone who people often grow to hate because of backwards policies and ideas.