Several years ago, I had a sub who went a bit above and beyond. She not only took up whatever assignment I’d left for that day – she organized the papers and completion-graded them. In other words, she noted who’d finished and seemed to have taken the work seriously. She didn’t give them a number or a letter grade, of course – that would have been bold. But she did give each paper meeting her requirements a sticker.
Good morning, class. Today begins the roughly three days we have allotted by our state-mandated curriculum to cover the causes, major events, and impact of the American Civil War.
There’s nothing more terrifying than finding out your district administrators have just returned from a conference somewhere, and they’re excited about something. You know because they suddenly smile too much, and now they want to come talk to your department or hold a special faculty meeting.
I’m a bad person.
I’m an idealist with little use for idealists. It’s not personal. I like those I actually know. But their articles, and books, and speeches make me want to break things and yell school-inappropriate yells.
I’m a fairly narcissistic fellow. I don’t mean to be, it’s just that I’m vain and self-absorbed. At least I have the skills, style, and cojones to make it work for me. I make no apologies; every rose has it’s - oh, are you still here? I hadn’t noticed.
Most of you are probably unfamiliar with the name “Antoine Roussel.”
He’s not a traditional educator – or an educator at all. He’s a professional hockey player. A personal favorite of mine, actually.
And I have the t-shirts to prove it.
I'm a big fan of reading in social studies. I realize there are reasons we don't do more of it, but I don't want 'lack of ideas' to be one of them. Questions about why and how and when to fit in reading to an already overcrowded schedule deserve more time and wisdom than I'm able to give them here, but that hasn't stopped me from anything else on this site, so...
In an academic context, argument isn't a bad thing at all. In fact, it's crazy beneficial. It's how science is supposed to work - great minds doing research and writing papers primarily so other great minds can criticize and question everything about them and explain why they're flawed or incomplete. It's our preferred format for difficult legal questions, whether determining the constitutionality of a company policy or trying to figure out if you actually stole that car before or after the body was stuffed in the trunk.
And it's how history and its interpretation(s) get sorted out. At least, that's how it's supposed to work...
If you ever want to have real fun, start talking about the 'correct' way to teach writing with any group of teachers. For serious fireworks, try it with AP History folks after you've all had a drink or two. Better you stick with safer, less provocative topics like abortion, religion, or the validity of comic books and superhero movies as cultural touchstones.
If you were to assign your students to take apart a vacuum cleaner and look at it, and they do so, they may learn a little bit about how vacuum cleaners work - although they haven't necessarily demonstrated so by this disassembly.