Wednesday, November 26, 2008

School's Out, Part II

I did my second day in the local junior high yesterday. This one didn't go quite a smooth as the day before. I guess part of it was because everyone started their Thanksgiving break yesterday afternoon and also, I didn't seem to find my groove to drop into.

I did manage to bring them around with a new approach I was sorta proud to come up with and would like to share with you.

I asked the teacher to step out of the room for a few minutes and asked the class to be honest and tell me how many really LIKED the class. Only a few raised their hands. I then asked how many DIDN'T and most held up their hands. I asked them them why and was told "It was boring" "It didn't have any relevance" "It was too hard" and "They had to cover too much in a short period of time" I listen to their comments a few moments then asked them if they ever watched any of the CSI programs on TV. Almost every hand shot up. I then asked the kids why they liked to watch those programs. I was told that they were "Interesting", "exciting" and so on.

To sum it up, I told them that they were somewhat handicapped because the school system was forced to try to teach them almost 350 years of history in less than 8 months. That this was neither good or bad, but just the way it is. Teachers could only "skim the surface" of the past when they were teaching. With all the limitations of time and course content, they were lucky to get what they had gotten so far. I said that history if you allowed it to be could be as interesting, if not more so, than a CSI program. But that they would have to do a little work to discover the true story. Read a book, look something up on the web, question everything you know or have heard.

Before the day was done, I think I made at least one or two kids think just a little about history, education and how important it is to know what your history is. I also hope that I have pointed them in the right direction and given them the "fire in their belly" to make the extra effort to learn more. At least I can hope so......


Anonymous said...

As you well know, you can lead 'em to the water but when you try to make 'em drink, the scratching and kicking and spitting and screaming gets everybody mad and some hurt and drowns out the questions from the few who are interested in learning. It is a wonder that folks like you still try.
Thank you for that.

Mike W. said...

Thanks for the kind words!

This bunch wasn't so bad, just full of themselves and I just remember how "I" was at that age. My folks should have put me in a tow sack and tossed me in a cheek. -grin-

But even with the "difficult" students, when I am able to reach those kids (so very much like me) and get 'em interested in the history of their country and you see the light come on in their eyes, it makes it so much worth all the headaches.

Trust me!

Chris Grimes said...

Don't you just love it when you know you've reached a kid. When I see the twinkle in their eye, I think to myself "Job well done"

Mike W. said...

Yep, that's what "I'm" talking about. Winning 'em over one at a time. Strangely enough, as cynical as I normally am, I feel a bit more positive after working with the kids.