I did year 12 in Victoria in 1992. That year they changed the system over from the old HSC to the VCE [Victorian System of Education]. This was a terrible time to be in the system. A whole range of subjects were tried Cowboy style to be tossed away the next year. One such subject was called "Reasoning and Data" and it was meant to be the easiest maths subject offered in year 12. Well, technically that wasn't true. Legally a school could offer a subject called Space and Number Science in year 12. But most schools did that as a year 11 subject. So in reality Reasoning and Data was the easiest subject on offer. It was treated with absolute contempt by every teacher. They would say "that is so easy" or "that's just year 8 maths". And that is where my title comes from. It was meant to be "year 8 maths" according to every teacher of maths or any teacher of anything else. You would think that tying your shoelaces was tougher.
Well, I failed the subject. I didn't understand any of it. None of it made any sense. I did the work. I filled a whole module with my work before I started year 12. When I got into the classroom the teacher whistled in shock that I had done so much work on it before the year even began.
But then things went bad. The subject philosophy was "you learn at the same time as doing the assessment". For instance there was a three month project on the weather. I was handed these massive data set booklets. These days it would be online etc but this was of course pre internet. I had 3 months to somehow do something fantastic analysing these weather numbers. I had no clue what to do. I was also meant to use Minitab to crunch the statistics. I also had no clue about that. The teacher gave no help. I was left to go through the motions.
I got a C which was as good as a fail. I had just managed it - failing "year 8" mathematics. Hello Fifth subject: the 10% subject that is not in your main 4.
The teacher came up to me and said "you didn't use a computer at all for your maths weather assignment - can I have 5 minutes to use you as an example for my study on technophobia?"
Today I would have told him to fuck off. But back then I was a nice, well mannered school child. I told him that my first ever computer experience was in year 7 with the Apple 2e. I told him that it whirred like a World War 2 blitz siren every time I put the floppy disk in the wrong side up. Then the teacher would scream out "No! You will wreck the computer! No!" My maths teacher upon hearing me say that scribbled on his pad more furiously than a speedy coffee powered Argentinian footballer. I don't know what happened to his study.
So I managed it. I "failed" 'Year 8" mathematics. I got 57 overall and an A for every assignment in my other 4 subjects, none of which involved any numbers or computers at all.
But I did it! I knew I could! I failed year 8 maths! Can anyone else top that accomplishment? It's time for you to tell all! When did you manage to flunk a subject that nobody else could? You have the talent!