A Shrewdness of Apes

An Okie teacher banished to the Midwest. "Education is not the filling a bucket but the lighting of a fire."-- William Butler Yeats

Saturday, January 28, 2006

My take on the teacher who is now a Forty-Year-Old Unemployed Person

Okay, so EdWonk and Smithie have posts about this forehead-slapping story over at their places, but right now I'm Blogging for Sanity since I am back in Oklahoma again where Dad's in the hospital, so a little distraction would seem a good thing.

Fernando del Pino has done his little bit to further discredit my profession by showing his class The Forty Year Old Virgin, an amusing but puerile bit of cinema juvenalia which in no way is as funny as this or this or this or even this or THIS when it comes to laughing about sex. Of course, none of these treasured bits of insanity, which can make me laugh when I am lowerer than low, would ever come within a light-year of being shown in my classroom, not just because I don't want to explain some of the humor to some of my students, but-- get this-- because it's not appropriate!

I have an ambivalence toward eating up my classtime showing movies that these kids could see on their own and probably have seen on their own. Second, I don't want the F-bomb tossed near my presence while on school property. The special ed teachers once used my classroom on my prep hour to "teach" a US history class-- and I walked in one day to find Love and Basketball blaring on the tv-- I heard some of the language and practically flew out the door faster than my puzzlingly Victorian gasp could actually become audible over the pulsing soundtrack. What did this have to do with the US Constitution, which I heard them talking about the day before (I know this because the teacher started asking me questions as I tried to get some materials)? I don't know-- I don't recall which amendment protects the right to waste classroom time.

I once worked with a teacher who was the administration darling who showed Disney movies in her 8th grade math classes all the time. And it wasn't like she was trying to make it remotely relevant to her curriculum, like say, "Find all the examples of Euclidean geometry in Fantasia," or "Explain why Peter Pan could not actually achieve escape velocity with Wendy and the other kids hanging on to him," or something. I consider this type of behavior, while not nearly as galling and idiotic as the example of Mr. del Pino, to be just as wrong.

I appreciate the service Mr. Del Pino has done to further the cause of Mr. "Is Our Children Learning?" and his gang of chimps at the Ed Dept.


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