Piss, argh, crap, damn.
I’m feeling super-frustrated today. Not just a little frustrated, but totally blown-out frustrated.
I’ll be walking into my final Flash class tonight without a completed final project. And it’s gonna suck, and I’m going to feel like a total loser, and there’s nothing I can do about it.
I’d been seeing some issues in the class for a few weeks now. It’s a demonstration (demo) class — our teacher comes in, shows us a demo, the class then works on it, we’re assigned homework, and off we go. We don’t have a formal textbook (problem one); you complete your homework based off your notes and the demos from class. Homework was shown in class, but our teacher never looked at our code, as far as I know (problem two). In his defense, if you had questions, you could definitely ask at any time, but there were no formal code critiques. No tests for most of the semester (definitely problem three).
The class had gotten in the habit of coming in, showing homework, doing demo, etc etc. The problem is that when things began to get intricate in Actionscript, I’m not sure how much folks were actually retaining vs. simply being able to take notes off the board. My teacher commented more than a few times on how fast things were going…and in my head, I kept thinking, “Um, sure, but how much everyone’s actually remembering may be another story.”
The situation came to a head a few weeks ago, when our teacher, as part of a demo, said “Okay, make a button and have it do ‘x.’” Only three folks were able to do it. Needless to say, he wasn’t happy, and neither were we. Now, he’d been discussing a final project with us, and frankly, I haven’t had any idea of what I wanted to do. Work’s been beyond crazy, R and I have been trying to get Christmas shopping done, I was in Texas, and a Flash project has really been the last thing on my mind.
So two weeks ago, our teacher told us that we were going to have a test in the next class (last week’s class), and that it would cover the entire semester. At the same time, he said he wanted to see files for our final project. Unfortuantely, from where I sat, I had enough time that week to do one thing. I could either study or I could work on files for the project. I chose to study.
So last week, we had a short demo. Everyone was anxious about the test…but my teacher said he’d start by going around the room and reviewing everyone’s files. The ones I didn’t have. So I sketched out my concepts and discussed them with him. Other folks were working on their files, but my mind was on the test — and I hate trying to work in a lab — and, frankly, the chatter level was pretty bad. So I then sat for the next three hours while he went around the room, getting increasingly ticked off…only to have him announce, at the end of class, that were would be no test. Super. Studying is never a waste of time, but I would have done things just a bit differently had I known.
Again with the work crazy this week, and we also had a holiday party on Saturday…so this basically left me with one day to put my project together: yesterday. It’s not done. I had a good idea in mind, but kept missing a crucial concept — which I finally, finally figured out late yesterday afternoon. But I then ran into trouble making other things happen, and literally sat up until 3:00am trying to figure out how to make them work. I finally gave up and went to bed.
Today I had a workaround, but as I was getting that in, I started mixing up my movie clip code with my button code (actionscript doesn’t work quite the same for both) — and finally decided that I was making things worse, not better. We’re supposed to do everything as movie clips, but if I could have made it work as a button, I would have…better to have a working project not coded perfectly than one that’s not working at all. However, since I was tripping over my own feet, I’m going to need to take the hit.
Do I wish I’d had more time to put into this? Sure. Am I going to feel like an ass later today? Absolutely. I’m sure folks are going to come in with awesome-looking work, and then there’s me. “Uh, hi, I couldn’t get my targets to work…” But R’s already reminded me that it’s a continuing ed class, and while it matters, and it would have been great if my project were done, it’s really truly not the end of the world. He also said that from what I’ve said about it, he doesn’t think this was the right teacher for me.
I’ve been contemplating taking the next level course at the school I took my intro course at, but I don’t think I’m going to. Instead, I think I’m going to repeat intro at another institution. While the school I took this course at is a very reputable school, there were some things going on that I don’t understand, including teaching the entire course in Actionscript 2…when Actionscript 3 has been out for a long time, and Actionscript 4 is about to be the new standard. When asked, we were told that we had to “crawl before walking” — but I’ve never quite been able to get on board with that.
Damnit. I hate losing, even against myself.