If I look back on my school days… which I do with some regularity in my 60’s… and I note two key things:
- If I was good at something, I wanted to do it all the time.
- If I was not good at something, I found ways to avoid doing it at all costs.
Those two things sum up my educational life… very succinctly.
I think you can imagine how those two key things have influenced my life… or rather, how I have used those two things to influence my life!
I was late to reading… believe it or not! When I was a child they taught reading phonetically and that just did not make sense to me at all. I learned to read linguistically. But once I caught on, there was no stopping me… I always had a book with me.
Math was a similar struggle… throughout my entire school life. Not once was math ever taught in a manner that made any sense to me. I had the misfortune to being in the “guinea pig” group for a concept school for 3 years in middle school. The thought behind this concept was that if children are allowed to choose what to do, they will always choose to learn. Ha! Enter wee Kat… who finished all the reading “requirements” for 6th, 7th, and 8th grade in 6th grade. That same person did not do one lick of math in 3 years. True fact. Suffice it to say, I was not the only one and they had to implement “remedial math” classes for a large group of us when we moved on to high school.
I was, however, fascinated with science in middle school. I had an amazing science teacher… Mr. Meppelink. Mr. Meppelink made science a wonder! And science remained fascinating until I reached a big stumbling block… the one where science and math merged… that was when I “fell out” a bit with science. There was no chance I was ever going to be a scientist with my poor math skills. I wish I had some nice while-I-was-in-school-aha-moment where it all clicked but there was never one while I was in school.
But, the science story did not end when I finished school!
Some many years later…I realized that science is part of my daily life when I discovered the “how’s” of baking! The science of flour, water, yeast, and salt to make something that is edible! Bread! And if you really want to get further into the science of baking… sour dough! (Which, to date, I have never been successful at achieving! But I have tried!)
So though I was never a good science student, I managed to bake my way into being a fairly good scientist in the kitchen! Even with all the Sour Dough failures I have had! And those math skills? Well, I am happy to tell you all that I am a very happy percentage baker.
While I was not the best student… I am happy that science found a way to move it self from thing two to thing one!
Thanks to Kym for making sure these memories keep percolating to the forefront of my brain!
Happy Friday and Happy Weekend everyone!
My BiL was also a “guinea pig” in fourth and fifth grade. What he chose was sitting under a table with his friends playing cards, and required much remediation to graduate from high school. Thankfully he can successfully operate heavy equipment now despite his less-than-ideal elementary education. But I’m glad you figured out reading and everyday science! The combination of math and science makes for some delicious bread.
Since you’re a percentage baker, you might enjoy taking a look at Ratio by Michael Ruhlman. It’s a “cookbook” but based on ratios for many things – bread, pie crust, popovers, cookie dough, etc. I think he’s also got a book about cocktail ratios. (There’s some useful everyday science!)
I had not heard the term Percentage Baker before, but that makes so much sense! After reading your post and Bonny’s comment I am so glad I did not attend a “concept” school. What were they thinking? Good luck with your sour dough baking…hope you can get it right!
I never really thought that much about baking and cooking being a science, but it really is! It’s a shame they didn’t combine math and baking in your “guinea pig” class, because I bet then you would have been all over it!
interesting they called it remedial when clearly you were advanced! I put up with science and math classes but I was better at science than history which I love now as an older adult!!
Your post is an interesting look back at your school days. I have never heard of the percentage baking system but it makes sense. I enjoyed the life sciences and chemistry of all things. I had a wonderful woman that taught high school chemistry. She was so patient and such a good teacher. I blame my poor Math skills on poor teachers. When I used Geometry and Algebra for quilting and knitting, suddenly Math made sense.
Baking is definitely science, particularly when it’s baking that includes yeast. I tend to bake when I’m stressed because the predictability of it feels like something I can control. I was a social studies and reading kid and definitely not a math and science kid!
Science . . . it’s woven into everything we do! (So is math. But let’s not talk about that.) My elementary school implemented something called “New Math” and I was a guinea pig for that all through elementary school. Like your “new” concept, “New Math” was a failure. I never got the remediation, though, because my family moved across the country . . . to a school system that DIDN’T do “New Math.” It took me years and years to undo the “New Math” (which, inexplicably didn’t teach fractions) (I know). When our kids were in elementary school, they were taught something called “Chicago Math”. It was all the rage. Tom and I could see the writing on the wall (true enough, it was a FAIL, too), and we insisted on teaching them regular old math at home, alongside “Chicago Math.” They thank us all the time . . .
The power of a good teacher–or, devastatingly, a bad teacher–is everything. I love that you had a science teacher who instilled wonder. I did not–ever–and it showed, let me tell you… (Luckily, I had a lot of other great teachers of a lot of other great subjects. But I think girls need to be lifted in science…which was not happening in our sleepy classrooms at the time! Glad to see it happening now.)