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What is Your Best Subject?

April 22, 2012

I always loved history but I was never very good at it. 

I used to say that all the time when I talked to colleagues in the history department at my school or when I would meet anyone and hear “oh, you’re a math teacher?  One of those people?  I’m more of a history and English person.”

I’m ashamed that it took me about 29 years to realize what an absolutely ludicrous statement that is.  What is/was your best subject?  Are you sure?  No, you’re wrong.

What does that even mean?  Good at history?  That doesn’t make sense at all – how can someone be good at history – or any “subject” for that matter.  History isn’t a sport or a hobby or a talent.

“What did you do at school today, Matthew?”

“Today we learned how to history, it was fun but I need more practice.  And then we went scienceing, I’m really good at that.”

I just don’t have a very good short-term memory.  Names, dates and all that stuff – I don’t have a clue.  When I meet people I generally forget their name within 43 seconds – not because I’m uninterested, but because there is so much more interesting to me about people than their name (unless it’s a really unique name or there is a great story behind it).  Sometimes people get insulted when I forget their name, but it’s the people whose names I remember right away that should be really insulted.   My brain just can’t take in that much at once.  Sometimes I think that my brain is like a quantum computer with an old school floppy disk drive.  I can only take in so much at once, but once it’s in there….   Maybe that’s a good definition of ADD – when one’s processing power is significantly greater than the read/write speed of their hard drive.  Thank god for external hard drives (I have three of those: Google, Wikipedia and the public library.)

So next time you go to a dinner party at a friend’s house and meet their 12 year old daughter, think twice before you ask them what their best subject is – the question just doesn’t make any sense.

Ok, that’s it.  I’m keeping this one short.  Besides, I promised myself I would do an hour of history before I went to bed.

 

Thanks to my new friend Leslye Joy Allen for inspiring this post – whose name I only remember because of the joy I have gotten from reading her blog.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. April 22, 2012 8:08 pm

    I read this out loud to my boyfriend. We laughed so HARD. What a riot. Oh my. Are you sure your best subject is NOT English, because you certainly seem to practice it a great deal. You’re very good at Englishing. 🙂

    By the way, my name is Marie, but I don’t expect you to remember it. Snort! There is no special story behind it, and it’s a “meh” name. Oh dear, I can’t stop laughing.

    Thanks for your creativity. What a great post.

  2. April 22, 2012 8:11 pm

    Reblogged this on zen and the art of borderline maintenance and commented:
    Hilarious. Matt is quite the writer, even if he IS a math teacher. 🙂

  3. April 22, 2012 8:45 pm

    Unfortunately, you probably took History when teachers made you memorize names and dates. That really isn’t what historians actually do. We debate about why and how certain things happened in the past. If there is no argument, then it isn’t history. This is why people who are planning to go to Law School are often required to take a lot of history classes–it teaches you to see all sides of an argument. Although, I must say that I hated Math (LOL)!

    • April 22, 2012 8:59 pm

      The comment I just wrote about my English teachers applies to most of my history teachers as well – they were fantastic. It wasn’t how my teachers taught as much as how they assessed that made my education difficult (for me and my teachers, lol).

  4. April 22, 2012 8:48 pm

    Its funny, I always hated English (the class, not the subject because English isn’t a subject) – and I always had amazing English teachers. Looking back, I really should have fell in love with writing a long time ago. I really need to look some of them up.

    Thank you, Marie! And tell your boyfriend I enjoyed his art.

  5. April 24, 2012 9:18 pm

    Matt, my apologies. I was so busy reading the content of your blog that I did not see the comment you made at the end acknowledging me as an inspiration. Much love. And I must say that it is particularly refreshing to see a young teacher with so much enthusiasm and passion for the profession as yourself! It is you who is the true inspiration!

  6. April 24, 2012 9:32 pm

    There are a LOT of us out there all over this country – yourself included of course. There IS hope for our children and young adults!

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