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Mr. O’Brien’s ‘Brick in the Wall” Presents New Types of Stress

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Mr. O’Brien’s ‘Brick in the Wall” Presents New Types of Stress

Student-made bricks hanging on the wall in Mr. O'Brien's room.

Student-made bricks hanging on the wall in Mr. O'Brien's room.

Tucker Price

Student-made bricks hanging on the wall in Mr. O'Brien's room.

Tucker Price

Tucker Price

Student-made bricks hanging on the wall in Mr. O'Brien's room.

Tucker Price, Staff Writer

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At the start of every semester, an apparent tradition carries on in Mr. O’Brian’s english III class that creates an interesting situation for every student in the class. The assignment begins with learning about Howard Gardner’s theory of ‘Multiple Intelligences’, which states that everyone has an intelligence type that appeals to them, in most cases, multiple. A student simply writes their intelligences on the front, while also providing a visual representation for each, as well as goals for the year on the back of the ‘brick’. This might not sound bad, but the proposed caveats to this assignment are seemingly deadly, to your grade, that is.

The first crucial grading point of the project is the presentation of your work. In other classes this might be easy, but in O’Brian’s class, this is no easy feat. When you present in O’Brian’s class you are not allowed to say “like”, “so”, “you know” or even “um/uh”. Every use of such words or phrases results in a 5 point loss from the final grade of the project (even though he says it’s an automatic zero if you do).

After you finish presenting, you feel no relief, as your job is not yet finished. You must hang up your ‘brick’ in the most effective way possible, for it can not fall down from the wall for the entire semester, unless you would like your grade to become a zero. You must uphold this brick for the rest of the semester.

Many may see this entire project as an unfair mess, but to many it is quite the opposite. If you really think about the benefits of the assignment, it improves you as a person. The limitations really make you think about how you speak, improving your communication skills as a whole. As far as the entire ‘if it falls down, it’s a zero’ idea goes, this might also hold more meaning than you might think. This part of the project gives you something to care about; something to maintain. Every day you might walk into class and check on your ‘brick’, applying extra tape if needed. It’s almost like a real life tamagotchi, or maybe a peace lily. You take care of something for a full semester, and you might begin to care about it on a deeper level at the end of the semester, when you get to keep it.

When you finally take the brick off of the wall at the end of the semester, you are able to read your goals from the beginning of the semester. You will then see if you have accomplished your goals and moved forward in your life. Are you a better person now than you were before?

About the Contributor
Tucker Price, Staff Writer

Tucker is a junior first-year staff member. He was born in Charlotte, North Carolina, then moved to Cary in 2013, and is an active member of the Green...

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Mr. O’Brien’s ‘Brick in the Wall” Presents New Types of Stress