Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Doing Things That Are Contrary to What I Believe?

When I was young, I used to lose a lot of marks on tests because of my stubbornness and my inability to just do what the teachers expected. For example, once in a science test there was a true or false question that was something like "We can make unique and delicious yogurts by fermenting milk." The answer was supposed to be true, but I chose false because I did not think that the word "delicious" was suitable for the question. There were many other —and perhaps better— examples,  but almost all of them were quite complicated.

The problem was that a lot of times I actually knew what the teachers would expect as an answer, but I just could not chose the supposed right answer because it was wrong to me. Instead, I would write the answer that I believed was true, and argue with the teacher afterwards. There was even once in grade five when I simply refused to attempt at a math problem because the question was wrong (it was actually, how could you have 3L of water in a 2L container?). Thankfully that question was on a homework that didn't count for marks.

When a girl in my class heard about me not even attempting at the question, she asked me what I would do if this question were on a test. I told her that I wouldn't do the question, because even if an answer was obtained, it would be wrong. She was very surprised at my answer, and said, with a lecturing tone, that I should do the question anyways because "it was on a test."

I totally disagreed with her  what would be the point of answering a question if you knew the answer would be wrong? However, I did not argue with her because I knew I would never persuade her.
---Four years later, I am now in grade ten (yes I did not do the math wrong), and I find that I am becoming more like that girl in grade five.  I begin to just do whatever what the teachers expect regardless of whether it's right or wrong to save the time of argument and to get better marks. For example, a month ago, there was a math question that I knew could be solved in some complicated steps, but I knew that the teacher wanted us to write "unsolvable," and I put that as my answer without hesitating. Obviously, I got that question right.

Just a few days ago, I did a chemistry lab report in which we had to include possible sources of error in the procedure. From what my chemistry teacher said and implied, I knew that he was expecting us to write about the compound being overheated and decomposing. I knew that this was wrong, since the compound wouldn't have done so until it reached 650 degrees Celsius. However, I still put this as my answer because this answer was very likely to be accepted by my teacher.

I definitely have changedI have become less idealistic and more practical. I am not sure whether this change is good or bad. However, I still feel bad whenever I remember one classmate from my chemistry class saying "but that's wrong" when he heard about what I did for the lab.