Sunday, 21 March 2021

Pedagogical BS

Flow

I haven't written much lately. Working 50hrs/week impedes the flow of creative juices. Weekends are for recuperation. Additionally, there's not much here to inspire a man with an adventurous soul. This is hardly the Himalayas, Borneo or the Mongolian Steppe. This is Ho Chi Ming - a chaotic city of 10M souls. Why would humans willingly subject themselves to this much noise and depressing concrete? Is the gr$$n stuff really that powerful?

Ho Chi Ming was built on a swamp. Like Bangkok, not much urban planning happened. Weekend walks have me searching for solitude and/or greenery, both in short supply here. I like watching the cranes at this building site - I've watched this monstrosity grow from 2 to 18 stories over the last 8 months. Hideous.

They're building an underground MRT system here too. As a daily treat I have to cycle through one of the building sites which will be a station one day.

I observed these ควาย for an hour one day. The most urban ควาย I've ever seen. Were they longing to be in the sticks? Like me?

Look at that backdrop man. Endless concrete. Forever. I miss Battambang where nothing rises more than two stories.



Even the sunsets are drab. This is the best one I've seen. Omnipresent pollution distorting nature's show.

Woketopia

I think about white liberals as I pass this sign. Would they moan about the lack of diversity? The Vietnamese are a proud people. Their ethno-state is 99.9% homogenous. And safe. Like most nation states they don't want, and haven't asked for, mass immigration. They sometimes ask me why Europe is hell-bent on replacing its people with Africans and Asians. I have no answer for them. They think Europeans are insane.

What saddens me is the irreversible loss of indigenous European cultures. I sympathise with the native Americans on this one - at least they put up a fight. Europeans are rolling out a red carpet of cultural suicide. My favourite thing about travel is experiencing the world's wonderfully unique cultures. Like Vietnam's. I've been doing it for 15 years. The loss of ANY culture is tragic. Including European ones. Most humans yearn for a homeland for their own tribe. With the exception of white liberals of course. Why shouldn't ethnic Europeans have a homeland? We'll see how western, multi-cultural, non-binary woketopias play out over the coming decades. Though, I have to say, I'm pleased I don't live in one.

Just to be clear, I'm not against immigration per se. I'm an immigrant myself. I'm against mass-uncontrolled-immigration and replacement of the host peoples/cultures. And not just for Europe, the world over.

Old

As I age, I find I don't want to be out and about in groups much anymore. I'm happy to do my own thing, mostly in solitude. It's a fun existence. Watching the masses scurrying around with a detached amusement. Wondering what everyone is doing? Where are they all going? My life is so simple.

I met Andy and a few of his mates one Saturday. The piss flowed freely. I nursed a coffee.

The first bar was a full-on girly bar. I hadn't been in one in ages. A fit twenty-something lass looked at me like I had two heads when I ordered a $2 bottle of water.

They were a great bunch but I had the feeling I'd been dropped out of a UFO. I managed an hour before cycling home and going for a 5km run. Party animal.


Tet

I was off for two weeks at Tet (Vietnamese new year). I stayed in Ho Chi Ming the entire time. It goes quiet as locals travel back to their home provinces. Surreal.

I was planning to get out of town for a bit but, in the end, I simply couldn't be arsed. One day I cycled to the Vung Tau ferry thinking I'd travel down the Saigon River for a couple of days at the beach. However, there was a queue at the ticket booth and I couldn't bothered waiting so went home.


Pedagogical Bukkake

Mein gott. I know teens like their kip but this is next level. I think of them as sleep-and-laptop-drones. Products of a different time. One kid was "fully turned in" on the floor with a PILLOW! This is the first time I've seen this in 13 years of teaching. I appreciate finding the volume of a non-linear function using definite integrals might not be the most riveting of topics, but this is taking the piss.

I found myself more impressed than angry. He had the foresight to bring a pillow - that has to be worth something. Reminds me of a lad on HMS Coventry in 1994 who fell asleep standing up. While hoovering.

Modern educational establishments feel more like prisons than institutes of learning. Everything's forced. Everything's fake. The over-arching system requires parents to work all day AND raise kids. They can't do both. So kids go to a centralised-child-minding facility. They will be contained from 0700 to 1800 in an area with a secure perimeter. The next generation of tax cattle will be trained to respond to bells, like Pavlov's dogs.

Professional babysitters "teach" these kids in an education factory - an institutional relic from the dawn of the industrial age. The "teachers" subscribe to a system of credentialism thus creating barriers to entry. These barriers to entry secure their positions which, in turn, lead to teachers benefitting from the perpetuation of said system. A positive feedback loop.

Tertiary education relies on the propagation of the belief in this system of credentialism. It's becoming scammy at this point. We've built an online repository of human knowledge. The most knowledgeable experts in the world can create video content and pump it to billions for a fraction of the cost. Bricks and mortar universities should be obsolete. I warn teens to think VERY carefully before saddling themselves with decades of debt for a piece of paper that gives no guarantees.

I envisage job applicants in the information age having to submit work portfolios rather than a piece of paper saying you got shitfaced for 3 years and owe the government/central banks $100k. You'd be better off investing $100k in an S&P500 index fund. Or bitcoin.

Not many teachers will agree. Like I said earlier, they're vested in the continuation of said institutions. Our egos are stubborn and resist the notion that our efforts are insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Nobody wants to be irrelevant. However, it would be insane to think otherwise if one zooms out and considers the meaninglessness of our existence from a cosmic perspective. Please tell me I'm wrong - I'd love to be wrong on this.

So what's the problem then? If nothing matters?

Well, the trouble is, this system fails so many. Kids forced to "learn" content they couldn't give two flying fucks about. Teachers waffling on about intrinsic motivation while forcing Sandra to sit through classes delivered by un-inspiring NPCs. Pink Floyd nailed it. It's all a massive dog and pony show with some pedagogical word-salad thrown in to make us feel important.

Now, having said all that, there are brief moments of job satisfaction. I have 7 students for A-Level Physics and they got 6xAs and 1xB in their mock exams. That is nothing short of excellent. The difference between this group and regular school classes? There are ONLY 7 of them and they WANT to be there.

It's that simple.

Check out the second harmonic on this standing wave. Mint.


Cold. Hard. Cash.

Wealth = Freedom. There's really no other reason to chase it. I own a $25 bicycle - that's it. My meager possessions barely fill a small suitcase. And that's awesome - exactly how life should be. However, I do hold a series of investments whose only purpose is to facilitate freedom. I just need to cancel this current subscription to the system.

I applied for this job on the 21st March 2020. The very day the S&P500 reached its apogee (astrophysics). Or local minima (math). Or its max bed shit (Geordie). Bitcoin wasn't far behind. That's how I panic-applied for this gig.

Exactly a year later and my net worth has increased 3.5x. Though that includes $28k added from this job. I've been living off 10% of my salary. Investing 90%. I thrived for 6 months in Battambang on a threadbare budget. I can now fund double that for 36 years. More than enough.

Here's a breakdown of the asset allocation:

If I had educated myself in 2011 instead of mongering, I wouldn't have handed Barry Payne, a dumb drinking mate and ill-fated financial advisor, $250k. I lost it ALL three years later.

However, I've made it back, and gravy, largely thanks to bitcoin - which I first bought in 2013. Wish I'd bought more.

My biggest life-regret is being ignorant of investing as a young adult. It cost me a decade. Time I can never buy back. Retired at 39. Lost everything at 40. I've spent my 40s slaving away in schools in Thailand, China, Cambodia and Vietnam when I should have been riding motorbikes. That was a harsh lesson. Still, I reached the goal at 47. Better late than never.

I'll be watching dudes fishing from these cute little round tubs. A far better use of time.

These are the de-facto choice for Mui Ne fishermen. And fisherwomen. And non-binary-fisher-people-of-color.

In the meantime I need to work on some HQL and LTTG plans for next week. (High Quality Learning and Long Term Transfer Goals). Yes, this is the kind of pedagogical word-salad bullshit you'll hear in meetings. One of my colleagues was explaining how the UK are switching to Knowledge-Rich-Curricula (KRC). Presumably schools used Knowledge-Sparse-Curricula (KSC) prior to this? Still, it's baffling how, despite implementing "KRC", the UK still churns out thousands of illiterates.

Gam Ern - thank you


7 comments:

  1. I think you are confronting ideas many educationalists have confronted for years and years. Fuck the career managers, the curriculum, the lessons even it's all about the relationships you develop with young adults. Often they don't get it at home so despite their seeming complacency or downright laziness, most kids want to be in school. Like them all but don't expect them to all like you back. Only years later will some realise the value of their education was the people they met. You make a difference.

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  2. Sounds like someone needs to find a soulmate, mate. A world without a soulmate is a f***all world to live in. And that is the hardest thing of them all: knowing when you found him/her/non-binary(the latter one still makes me shudder) and holding on to it. That's just how I see things, but you might disagree.

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  3. Increased net worth 3.5x, that's some serious dough now! Lucky.

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  4. I am a late 40s newly retired teacher who couldn't agree more with your evaluation of the current state of play in education. Bitcoin has helped me a lot as well. Time to put the feet up in Chiang Mai.

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  5. Oh man....I give up. You know what (who) you are.
    P

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  6. If you regret losing almost a decade, then retire again as soon as Covid calms down which should be soon since the vaccination started. No point in wasting time and torturing yourself if you can afford double the budget in Battambang until the end of your life now.

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  7. Ha, great writing, man.

    I recently me a guy by the name of Neil Skeldon here in Rawai, Phuket and am talking with him about some design work on my own blog, FreeTheAnimal.com. He shot me a link to yours. I think you'd find our social views are a bit similar.

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Please be nice.