Does Not Follow Directions

That statement adorned at least a full 70% of my school papers, reviews, quarterly grades, etc. “OG is very bright, but rushes and doesn’t follow directions, jumps to conclusions on the assignment.” Later in college, “OG, your paper was great, but it’s arrogant to assume you can write whatever you want and pass with flying colors. See me for a redo.”

When I sew, I can’t follow patterns. They’re right there, and easy to follow, in theory, but I can’t. I can’t see how they go together. Someone shows me, and I understand, and the pattern becomes “safe”. When I knit, I have to visualize how every step will go, or I won’t even try to follow a pattern. I’ll just make up my own.

The thing that none of those teachers or tutors ever got was that i was reading the goddamned directions. They just didn’t make sense. A paragraph of directions flew into my head and I barely picked out a few words. Sometimes, if they put carriage returns between each step, I could figure out what they wanted. But more often than not, I just didn’t think the same way they did. If I couldn’t understand the application, the purpose, I had no way of fulfilling the task. Made worse when the purpose was just to waste my fucking time and make me repeat memorized facts.

Sometimes I would read directions, and they would say, “Find the square of the hypotenuse.” If I was very lucky and had paid attention, I could do that. But the moment they said, “You have a triangular yard, and you know that it is 12 by 18 feet, but you have no idea what the third measurement is…” I wouldn’t know what equation to plug in there. It got worse in Statistics, which I passed with a D, because there were entire problems where not only did you have to solve them using 3 pages of formulaic bullshit, but you had to determine which totally fucking obnoxious three page formula to use – and it was subjective. Which formula is best to determine how many students in an exam will do better than a percentile of students from another school? Answer: You are over thinking this please stop torturing your students.

I am not a stupid person. I can knit, sew, make lovely photocollages, I’ve been published three times, and I have led choir sections. I have all sorts of talents. What I can’t do is get from someone else’s bullshit reasoning example to what problem they want me to solve.

 

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~ by oniongirl13 on July 29, 2011.

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