Monday, April 20, 2009

Here is a small rant about education

I think people might not respect the art department. Possibly. I was guilty of doing that the other day in studio when the prof was demonstrating ink washes on a sheet of paper tacked to the wall. I thought, "I don't think profs get ink on the walls in any other department." and then we went outside to do our ink washes (wow, I am not that good at making these look balanced.) and a tour group went past, and before sharing the stats about the library the tour guide was like, "They like to bring a lot of the art students outside sometimes." We aren't pets. What a poor assessment of what we were doing. "THEY LIKE TO KEEP CHEM MAJORS INDOORS WITH POISON." Whenever tours go past the studio the guides point out the same thing- the lighting. Yes, there are windows on the buildings and skylights. That has almost nothing to do with classes, or projects, or anything.

Whenever I tell people my major, I immediately follow with, "And it's a lot of work being an artist." People sometimes raise their eyebrows, and if they are like a bio major (we have loooooaads of those at UCSC) I follow up with saying that ideally I would live before photography like Horatio Robley and document flora and fauna in newly discovered foreign lands, but I am probably going to settle for being a science illustrator. Because I love science. Sometimes if someone is a business major, I will mock them a tiny bit about the relative ease of earning a wage in their discipline vs. mine.

Speaking of wages, Dad even does the dismissing art majors: it is implied when he said that I will have a unique advantage in the art world because I can work with others and meet deadlines and not be flaky.

But it is a fact that our deadlines are constantly extended because no one seems to bring their completed assignments on the day they are due.

You know, this is exactly the opposite of what my high school teachers said college would be like, and no one is calling them flaky.

And do you know what, (and this goes back to grade 3) you don't have to write in cursive, and only some assignments need to be typed. AND DO YOU KNOW WHAT, I DO NOT EVER HAVE TO USE THE DICTIONARY EVER. AND DO YOU KNOW WHAT ELSE THERE IS NO MATH WHATSOEVER IN COLLEGE.


It is hard because I totally knew they were wrong, but I do not like having that validated. Also it is a bit weird to get upset about my competence surplus. But really, it is lying to tell a 9 year old that looking things up in the dictionary is going to be an important skill for them forever, so they must learn it posthaste. Also if I think about phonics at all I will have to lay down.* Why on earth are children burdened with so many useless things? School should just be a long series of problem solving and critical thinking exercises, interspersed with life skills such as interest rates, and also interspersed with creating their own 12 year long encyclopedia compilations. Um. And Art Time. Because art is an important discipline.

*no, I am thinking about it. If I ever had to read phonetically (I learned to sight-read, ages before I had to go to school) I would probably read subvocally, and it would take so much time I would hate it. The last time I sounded out a word was never, because that does not work, because letters do not correspond perfectly with phonemes and obviously not stresses. Actually the last time I sounded something out was today when I was behind a license plate that said VANPYR2. Thanks, phonics. That really enriched my life. Totally worth 18 months of my childhood. Maybe if children only had to learn phonics if they couldn't read yet.

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