Superman II 2.17: The Curriculum

Kryptonian Memory Bank:
Education Crystal # Three-Zero-Eight
Earth Culture (Section B)
Student Evaluation Form: Kal-El

Message begins:

As per Science Council guidelines, Kryptonian Memory Bank instructors are required to administer the following student evaluation form at the completion of this Education Crystal.

As a reminder, you will be evaluating the course that begins:

“Kryptonian Memory Bank, Education Crystal number Three-Zero-Eight. Earth Culture (Section B). Trees, by Joyce Kilmer of the planet Earth. I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree…”

Your evaluation will be sent to the Kryptonian Board of Education Crystals and will help us to improve the Education Crystal remote learning experience. Thank you for your participation.

#1: Did the instructor use class time effectively?

The lessons always started right on time; as soon as I inserted the crystal into the hole, the instructor started reading “Trees” and then kept on going. The lessons definitely included everything that the instructor was hoping to put across.

#2: Did the instructor build on the core concepts of the previous lessons?

It’s hard for me to say, exactly, because so far I haven’t found the crystals for lessons two-seven-nine to three-zero-six. There are at least five-zero-zero crystals here, and they’re not labelled very clearly, so my method has been to grab one that I think looks relevant, and insert it to see which one it is. I’ve located a complete run from the early two-zero-zeros all the way to two-four-six, so I have a pretty good grasp on the Matters Physical and Historic curriculum, and I’ve got two-six-three to two-seven-eight, which is most of the material on Various Concepts of Immortality and Their Basis in Actual Fact.

A couple weeks ago, I attended three-zero-seven (Earth Culture, Section A), and then today I found three-zero-eight (Earth Culture, Section B). If there’s anything important between two-seven-nine and three-zero-six, then I haven’t heard about it yet. I really wish these things were labelled.

#3: How did the remote learning experience compare in value to live classroom instruction?

Well, I know that I’ve been writing this in a lot of these evaluation forms and I hate to be a nag, but I really do wish that I had a chair or a stool or something. I spend the entire class standing up on this ice platform, and the courses are often several days long. I know that I have super-strong legs, but it’s just awkward.

#4: Did the instructor’s teaching methods stimulate your interest in the subject matter and aid your learning?

It was pretty much the same method that it’s been all along, which is me standing here on the ice platform, and the instructor delivering information in a passionless monotone. I found that after several hours, my attention began to wander. I was with you during the recitation of the complete works of Joyce Kilmer of the planet Earth, but when you started reading Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Wolff of the planet Earth, the multiple perspectives and stream-of-consciousness narrative grew wearing after the first forty-five minutes or so.

#5: Did the instructor encourage student participation in class?

No. They never do. I’m the only student, and there’s no way to interact with the instructor. I don’t know why you ask this on the evaluation form.

#6: Has the instructor improved your understanding of the course material?

Sure, as far as it goes, but I’m not sure why there’s such an emphasis on American and British literature from the first quarter of the twentieth century. Earth Culture (Section A) covered The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot of the planet Earth, Ulysses by James Joyce of the planet Earth, and Ripostes by Ezra Pound of the planet Earth, and Earth Culture (Section B) had Trees and Mrs. Dalloway, plus The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald of the planet Earth.

I feel like I have a good grasp on the early modernists, but if Earth Culture (Section C) doesn’t include The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway of the planet Earth, then I don’t think I’ll have a really complete picture of the Lost Generation, and its influence on Earth Culture.

#7: Has this course helped to prepare you for your future career as a strange visitor from another world who came to Earth with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men, and who — disguised as a mild-mannered reporter at a great metropolitan newspaper — fights a neverending battle for truth, justice and the American way?

I don’t see how it could. Honestly, I’ve lived on Earth for fifteen years at this point, and I picked up a lot of information about Earth Culture just by living in some of it. I’m not sure why I’m supposed to stand here on this ice platform for twelve years while a bald man in a glittery tunic recites poetry at me. If I need to learn about Earth Culture, would it be okay if I just went outside, and maybe visited a library or something?

Lex and Eve make first contact in
2.18: Mother’s Day

Movie list

— Danny Horn

6 thoughts on “Superman II 2.17: The Curriculum

  1. Kal-El’s evaluation is far more literate and coherent than most student evaluations I saw when I was a grad student! I’ll suggest that he keep a label maker handy to label the crystals. It might be difficult at this late stage though to find one with Kryptonian characters.

    I look forward to seeing Lex and Eve’s evaluations. I hope they don’t trash the instructor’s overall teaching evaluation and keep them from getting tenure.

    Liked by 5 people

    “Please excuse the crudity of this model. I didn’t have time to paint or scale it. What do you see? Businessmen, lawyers, teachers, carpenters. The very people we are trying to save. Many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system that they will fight to protect it. These people are still a part of the system and that makes them our enemy. Were you paying attention, Kal-El, or were you looking at the woman in the red dress?

    And so our scientists constructed, from an irreversible mathematical equation, the Matrix. In it we imprisoned these three arch-villains for all eternity. They had got their comeuppance. They got it three times filled and running over. But those who had so longed for it were not there to see it, and they never knew it. The ones who were still living had forgotten all about it and all about them. The danger we cannot predict – it just might be cracked by 1.21 gigawatts of nuclear power.

    They only lack the light to show the way. For this reason above all – their capacity for good – I have sent them you. Being The One is just like being in love. You got the gift but it looks like you’re waiting for something. But consider. Once it is done, there is no return. You will feel like an ordinary man. I’m sorry, kiddo, I really am. Oh my son, are you sure?”

    “I know kung fu.”

    Liked by 3 people

  3. While the committee has heard many comments on the seeming overemphasis on early twentieth century American/European literature, we do want to stress that other cultures are covered in earlier stages of the curricula, such as Chinese Philosophers, 28 A.D. to Present.

    We know that since this is a preschool course it is possible that the nuances have been lost or blurred for the typical student and are working on refresher course crystals. These will hopefully be available by 2125 A.D. Until then we encourage independent study.

    As to the references to the aforementioned literature studies and the common complaint that such areas as economics, politics, STEM, and social/linguistic growth seem neglected in favor of it, we wish to remind our students that one of the main goals of the education they receive is a deep grasp of academia as emphasized in the liberal arts curricula of North American Ivy League schools of this era, which tend to, to use a Terran expression, “silo” such areas of study and keep them almost entirely separate. To grasp how the Terrans think, you must be trained as they were trained.

    Please know we listen to and hold in utmost seriousness the results of these polls.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Oh man, “a complete run from the early two-zero-zeros all the way to two-four-six” is perfect. This post is one of my favorite things you’ve ever written, which is really saying something.

    Liked by 6 people

  5. “The ‘Superheroes Every Day’ instructor holds my attention by varying the lesson format and incorporating humor, keen insight, and a wide variety of background material into the presentation.”

    Liked by 5 people

  6. I really like the idea of a bald passionless man reciting T.S. Eliot in a monotone, and the multiple camera angles (forming a creature with only one eye and a mouth in the lefthand crystals) make the moment practically Lynchian. However I found myself too distracted by the fact that Krypton blew up “thousands of years ago”, so how can they have any writings from Earth to teach Kal-El except for maybe something written in ancient Sumerian? Also, how do they even know about Earth poetry at all? Did they send probes here? I couldn’t focus on this part of the scene without getting hung up on those questions.

    Liked by 1 person

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