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

Friday, October 21, 2005

Why I love teaching, part 1

No matter how much the detritus of red tape and smug yet ignorant policymakers grates upon me, I love my job.

We were talking about George Fitzhugh's apologies regarding slavery-- in particular, his claim that slaves were the freest people in the world. It kinda reminded me of someone claiming that Katrina refugees actually had gotten a better situation as refugees in Houston than living in their homes in New Orleans slums....

So I decided to go multidisciplinary on them, and asked them if this statement could be interpreted as Orwellian. This of course necessitated that we explore what was meant by Orwellian, so we talked about 1984 and also Animal Farm. I told them that Animal Farm was an allegory, and some didn't know what that meant, either, so I described it, and one of my girls said, "Oh, like Plato's story 'The Cave!'" And she could even talk about what some of the symbolism was! And then a bunch of them wanted to read it too.

Now, I know some will criticize that this discussion had nothing to do with getting the kids ready for the APUSH exam. But I disagree. Learning how to interpret and learning how to make connections ARE what it's all about.

It was cool. And that's why I love teaching, part 1.

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At 10/22/05, 11:11 AM, Blogger Jim Connolly said...

Once upon a time, teachers were able to take advantage of teachable momenents without having to worry about deviating from the scripted, narrow, test-specific curriculum devised by legislative bureaucrats and their flunkys. In this magical age, teachers could prepare their students for life by teaching them how to think, in addition to the content area they specialized in. Students were engaged, interested, and enjoying the educational experience.
Then the darkness came...

At 10/22/05, 11:32 AM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

Hahahah! Clever!


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