I’m going to start this by saying that I have zero regard for the millions of studies that show how beneficial “hands on” learning or “group think” or “new ways to get kids involved” can be.
I don’t want a hands on learning experience. I don’t want fancy new teaching techniques to broaden my knowledge and give me a deeper understanding of my course material. You know what I want?
To be allowed to be quiet and left alone.
See, I’m in the massive minority here. But I hate classes that center around “class discussions” or feature a lot of group projects, or, worst of all, that are entirely discussion-based.
I’m a wallflower. I like to sit back and observe. I like to come to class, take my notes, and listen to a lecture. I like to write my multiple essays, at home, in the privacy of my blanket. I want to make my sticky note chart and talk things over with my dog first.
I like my grade to fully reflect the amount of effort I put into a class, and the amount of studying I have done.
I don’t want my grade to be solely dependent upon how much I talk. Or how much I say when I talk. Or what I bring up when I talk.
Because you know what?
I hate to talk.
Give me a night and I will write the best damn essay you’ve seen. Hordes will worship it. It will blow any class discussion out of the water. But ask me to lead a class conversation and you’re going to get an awkward, stuttering, red faced girl up front who can barely disagree to save her life.
I usually can think of things to say in class, but I’m too shy—I can’t butt into a conversation. You always have the kids who will just talk the whole class and you can’t get a word in. Sometimes I think everyone in the class is really stupid and I hate them. But then sometimes I’m terrified by the sheer intelligence of my classmates, and I can’t think of anything good enough to say. And when I do, I get weird blank looks. Or I’m asked to extrapolate. And you know what? MAYBE I DON’T WANT TO EXTRAPOLATE. MAYBE I CANT.
I know that this way of thinking goes against educational reforms. I know most kids aren’t like me, and they hate lecture and writing classes. But I can’t think on the fly. I am not a public speaker.
In my ideal class, I show up. The teacher lectures—maybe uses some visual aids—and the lecture is an addendum to the reading. Maybe he’ll ask some questions or throw some hypotheticals out. But my participation grade is reflected by my butt being in a seat and nothing else.
Then I go home. I do my reading. I take my notes. I make my outlines. I write my essay. I rock my sweatpants.
In my ideal class, there are no tests, but I won’t be picky, so lets say I go home and study for my three tests or so.
Then, at the end of the semester, instead of a scary-ass final, I have to write a big long essay to fully demonstrate my full knowledge and understanding of the course work. I do this essay over a series of days while wearing pajamas and drinking tea and listening to music.
Then I hand it in, and I’ve never had to interact with my classmates.
There have to be students like me out there. Students who are dedicated and do worry about their future and who do care about school. Students who are getting good grades—but they just don’t want to talk. When did being shy become a bad thing? When did schools decide to beat the introvert out of us?
I’m an introvert, and proud.
Moral of this story: I’m a hermit. So why aren’t there hermit universities?
(Wait, that’s online college, isn’t it? BRB, enrolling at Phoenix University.)
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