Dealing with School

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I haven't been here for a long time, but as some of you know I'm going to school to learn band instrument repair. Overall it has gone well. It's a one year course divided into quarters: Brass I, Woodwinds I, Brass II, and Woodwinds II. Brass I went great and I loved it, the instructor couldn't have been better, but I'm in Woodwinds I right now.

The reason I wanted to come to school was specifically woodwinds, but the woodwind instructor's style doesn't suit me at all, so I'm getting very frustrated. It's not just the classwork. I need to do really well to get a good reference, so that I can get a good job. Getting a job was the whole point of coming here. And, of course it's just a drag when you're not learning as much as you should be.

Basically, I'm in my 9th year of college (I have two degrees), and I'm 40 years old, so I know myself, how I learn, and how I don't. I also know from my neuropsychologist that I have information processing difficulties, which among other things means that I have a hard time with "puzzles" and "brain games".

Unfortunately, all the teacher wants to do in class is "puzzles" and "brain games". For every ten minutes he says something helpful, he spends an hour or more asking questions no one wants to answer. I can't follow it and can't answer the questions. It's a royal pain, boring, frustrating, I don't learn much, and have to sit there for hours listening. If he'd just let us work on our horns everything would be fine, but instead I'm wasting all this time. I don't think any of the other students like it, and they don't seem to be getting much out of it either.

What frustrates me the most about it is that I know I have a brain tumor and I'm going to have to suffer through the whole thing, just like I did in high school math. This morning we had "lecture" from 7:30 AM to 11:00 AM. I'm tired, don't feel good, frustrated, bored, my back injury hurts, and I'm feeling bad about myself.

I can't explain about my epilepsy (I have been there and done that), and can't do anything about "accomodations" (he's not going to change the class anyhow). I can't "tune-out".

Any other ideas on how to deal with the stress of being in a similar situtation? I don't know how not to get upset, especially when it goes on so long. I could handle an hour, but 3 1/2 hours is simply too long, especially when I had to get up before dawn.
Matthew, have you tried getting together with some of your classmates in a "study group"? You might find that it will help you deal with stress by giving you a sympathetic place to vent. Plus you and the other students could potentially find productive ways to learn together outside the class environment. Are there any instrument repair shops that you could visit singly or as a group? It's great that you want to learn better. Don't let one lousy teacher derail your plans.

Hang in there!

The stress is not good for you as you know, trying to deal with stress is not easy or how to deal with it. Trying to relax when you come home for a few minuets would help, just sitting down with a cup of tea. To help with the puzzles and relax you should think about taking up chess, its a game where time does not matter but you do have to think about what you will do. Its not an easy game but one which is good for helping you relax and figure out puzzles.
when I was trying to go back to school become a medical asst the students ran out of the room when I'd have a tonic-clonic.A doctor would of fired them if they did that.
Nakamova, the study group thing is a good idea. I wouldn't have thought of a having a "clarinet" or "flute" study group, but we could work on our instruments together. We could also try to visit some repair shops in Minneapolis or Rochester.

I think I've got the teacher figured out now. He has gotten better about the questions, and is straight up doing demonstrations now. They go on too long, but at least it's info. What I didn't mention before, that was also driving me crazy, is that nothing I ever do is right. Even if I do something right, he has to find something else wrong. (He is exactly the same way with everyone else in the class.) He thinks it's his job is mostly to criticize our work. He just doesn't understand how to teach, that you have to give both positive feedback and constructive criticism. I think when you really get down to it, he's a good guy. I'm sure he is an excellent technician. He knows all kinds of stuff, but doesn't really know the best way to share it. I was really worried (desperate, actually) that I was going to do horrible because all I ever got was criticism. I have no idea what he actually thinks about my work, but I'm going to go on the assumption that I'll just do my best at whatever it is, expect to be "wrong", and not worry. I'm not going to worry about all the questions either, because half the time there is no way anyone could know the answer he wants, and he tells everyone they are wrong, even when they are mostly right. I just need the patience to endure it.

I remember a lot of similar lectures from uni. Probably experts in their field, but couldn't 'teach' to save their lives. :(

Sounds like you've got the right idea though. You never know where you are with these types until the end of term- they just seem unable to give proper feedback.

The study group idea definitely sounds good. We would do that, because we all didn't know what the hell was going on in certain lectures, so we'd club together and pool our knowledge resources lol
Nice to see your post again, Matt. That kind of teacher you describe can be so demoralizing but keep it in mind that it is his problem. It isn’t your problem that he is a bad teacher. In other words, calm down. One idea that might help would be to prepare a list of questions [when you are at home] about what you really need to know. Then when the time is ripe in class, ask him one of the questions. If he really knows his stuff, he might be thrilled that someone is asking, and you might learn a lot since he is going to give you the full scoop. If you have a steady supply of questions [and they are sincere questions] you might wow him. It might get through to him that you are a pretty bright light. And not only that, he might think to himself that he must be a good teacher since he can answer YOUR questions. Good luck. I bet the main thing is to stay calm.
I see that I skipped over the awfulness of his puzzles and brain games as you described. I have information processing difficulties myself and I know how hopeless I feel when a teacher is going at it that way. Sounds like half the class feels the same way you do, though. I guess I still think staying calm and appearing to be a sincere learner [!] could take you far. Might be a tall order, though. Good luck.
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