Anecdotes from school

A few random incidents I remember from school (mostly academic stuff; so if you’re looking for something else you might have to wait)

  • In 4th Standard, I remember there was a section of the social sciences text which talked about various kings. After an exam which covered this part, I discovered to my horror that I’d got only 22 out of 25. Where did those three marks go? There was a question that said “write short notes on Akbar”. Apparently in my half-page answer I hadn’t written that “Akbar was a kind and just king” so Ms. Lauren had cut three marks
  • Around the same time, we had studied about the Green Revolution. “High quality seeds, fertilizers and irrigation were given to the farmers in a package” the teacher? read out from the text book. I remember many of us imagining a huge plastic bag containing seeds, manure and pieces of pipe which had to be joined together in order to get the water.
  • Now I don’t recall if it was in geography or in biology, but it was definitely in a subject far removed from mathematics. One popular board exam question (yes, this was in 10th standard) was “explain the differences between arithmetic progression and geometric progression” (this was NOT in math; in any case, we learnt about progressions in math only in 11th, when I was in a different school) I remember there being some section on Malthusian stuff (no we were never told the name of the good priest). So the expected answer to this question had to contain “population grows at geometric progression while food production grows at arithmetic progression”.
  • Sometime in 9th or 10th, some bright classmate happened to ask the physics teacher as to why we use Alternating Current and not Direct Current to power our appliances in India. “Because India is a poor country” was the pearl of wisdom offered by the teacher
  • One of the “tricks” we were taught while facing the daunting Hindi board exam was to write a “vishesh” at the end of every question. “This is a way of differentiating your answers”, we had been told. For most normal answers we used to just pick a point off the main answer and write it as the vishesh. For the poetry questions, we were expected to pick a figure of speech and mention it. If we found nothing, we were expected to pick a random alliteration (anupraas alankaar – itself an alliteration) and mention that.
  • We were made to mug up books of proverbs so as to insert a few in the 15 mark essay question. I remember people took essay writing so seriously that most people ended up writing serious exam-style essays in the Hindi Creative Writing competition. I’d written a poem and that was enough to win the competition.
  • Then there was this stupid rule that for a X mark question, you must either write X big points or 2X small points. Was extremely bugging. There were some cases where I could find only X-1 points and would lose out, while many others would write the same point twice (using different words) and get full marks

Ok I guess that’s enough for one post.??

One thought on “Anecdotes from school”

  1. I studied in the Maharashtra board and the question about geometric progression / arithmetic progression was in Economics (which was essentially anything economics only in name. For most part it was propaganda.) And yeah the funda was the same as the malthusian stuff, but we were never told his name. I remember thinking that it was a pretty cool idea (though no one told us that Malthus has been debunked by innovation-related fundaes)

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