A Schedule You Actually Like Is Just A Myth

, , , , , | Learning | July 14, 2020

When I was in high school in the late 1990s, class schedules were handled by having students select their courses for the next school year at the end of the previous, and the guidance office would arrange the schedule as appropriate, making sure students were taking the correct number of credits in each subject to graduate without overfilling the class rosters. The schedules were then handed out in homeroom on the first day of class in the new school year, and students had approximately one week to make changes to their course load and class selection. This system generally worked out well for all involved.

The first day of my senior year, however, I looked over my schedule during homeroom and realized a problem with my courses. When I’d selected my senior classes at the end of junior year, I’d chosen Creative Writing and Mythology as two English electives because I enjoyed both and had heard great things about the Mythology class, which was taught by one of my favorite teachers. Instead, my schedule showed Creative Writing during the second semester, but Public Speaking in the first semester in place of Mythology. I was disappointed. Public Speaking was something I did not like in the slightest, and on top of that, the teacher was one who was known among the female students for generally being a bit of a creep — not enough to get in trouble, but enough to make students occasionally uncomfortable — as well as annoying.

My first free period of the day was after the first Public Speaking class, so I had to attend that first class before I could go down to the guidance office to talk to my guidance counselor about the scheduling problem. When I finally got to the office, I discovered my guidance counselor would be out that week, but one of the other counselors was handling his students and would be able to talk to me about my schedule… the next day, as she was unavailable at that moment.

So, I had to sit through a second day of Public Speaking. I told the teacher up front that second day that I was working to change classes, so not to expect me to be there for long. He accepted but still tried to get me to change my mind.

During my free period that day, I went back to the guidance office and spoke with the substitute counselor about my problem.

“Whoever set up my schedule put me in Public Speaking instead of Mythology,” I told her.

The counselor looked through my paperwork about the classes and explained, “Well, Mythology just didn’t work with your schedule, so we had to put you into another elective to make sure you got your full English credit for graduation, and Public Speaking worked with your class schedule.”

I just gave her a confused look.

This time, the counselor spoke more slowly, as though speaking to a preschooler rather than a high school senior. “You need one full credit of English to graduate, and Creative Writing is only half a credit, so we had to choose another elective for you—”

I cut her off, pointing to the top line of my schedule, first period. “I’m in AP English.”

It should be noted at this point that, due to the college-level nature of the course, AP English not only had a full-hour class period, it also had a full-hour every-other-day lab period immediately after. It was worth one and a half credits of English and took up the top line and a half of my schedule. It should have been the first thing the counselor saw when she looked at my schedule.

The counselor gave me a baffled look and asked, “Then… why did you sign up for two electives?”

“Because I wanted to take them,” I said simply.

The counselor was still baffled, but said, “We’ll take Public Speaking off of your schedule for you. You’ll have your new schedule by Monday.”

This happened on a Thursday, since the school year started on Wednesday in that district, so I had to attend one more Public Speaking class that didn’t matter. Monday morning, I had a new schedule in hand, replacing Public Speaking with another free period, giving me two free periods in a row.

The most annoying part? A few weeks later, a friend of mine mentioned that there was a second Mythology class during my original free period — the one right after Public Speaking on my original schedule — and it wasn’t even full. I could have had Mythology after all if someone had been willing to replace my free period, which I didn’t really need. At least the extra free periods during senior year let me get homework done at school rather than having to spend time at home doing it.

Silver lining, I guess.

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