Thursday, October 29, 2009

Thursday, December 02, 2004

I just thought you should know that I have snorting, file-cabinet thumping, fingertip tapping monster holed up in my room right now.

It is so crazy to me how desperate some kids are to create a distraction. Mr. Snort over in the corner talked all through today's lesson-- which was fun group work where they got to create a rubric about buying a car and then look through the want ads to pick one to buy. He got out of his seat twenty times, insisting that he had a runny nose while I could see him blowing as hard as he could to produce some snot for his cause. He then maintained that he had to go to the bathroom and that it was an emergency and that he had a very "special and serious problem" that made it crucial that he pee whenever he chose. When thwarted in that endeavor, he focused his energy on sticking everyone's post-it (I used them for the activity) onto his forehead and then lamenting loudly that his face was too greasy for it to stick. Then he asked me a minimum of five times whether or not I thought his face was greasy and if so if it was greasier than this other student in the class.

Finally I have sat him in the corner behind the file-cabinet. And now he is tapping his fingers with increasing speed and strength, snorting up (fake) snot as loudly as he can, pretending to sneeze, trying to peek out between the cracks of the file-cabinet to hopefully catch another students eye, etc. It must take phenomenal amounts of energy to keep that up.

Don't you love, by the way, the fake bodily functions game? They know that if they get in trouble for sneezing loudly or snorting their nose a million times in a disgusting manner, they can cry to their moms and say, "I just had to sneeze! I have a runny nose! You know how my nose runs, sometimes! How can you get in trouble for sneezing?" And the moms will usually seem hurt and mystified that you would be so callous.

I am a mean, mean woman. ¶ 6:31 AM

I know that I just posted, but something that posted made me feel like ranting.

At what point did the leading theory become that children must like and find everything that we teach relevant? I keep reading books and hearing speakers that say we have to make sure that every child finds the material interesting and make certain that the material is relating back directly to their lives. And it seems from posthipchick’s entry that the kids know we are supposed to do this and decide they don’t have to work if we don’t do it.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Of course I would love it if every student I had was interested in every lesson I taught. And relevance is wonderful. But am I wrong to believe that there is some value in kids understanding that not every single thing in the world is about them and that they might not like everything they have to do?

I just wonder what kind of adults will be made from these kids who believe that every task they have should be enjoyable and all about them. I have kids complaining that I don’t cater to their particular learning style when I teach grammar. They say that they don’t like grammar and that I should make it have pictures or music. I have kids complaining that they don’t see what Anne Frank has to do with them—even when we have had discussion after discussion about the relevance—and then refuse to study it.

I do try, like any teacher who cares, to consider learning style and relevance in my teaching. But sometimes we are just going to do activities that some of the kids don’t like, simply because we need to! As an adult, I do a lot of things that I don’t want to do—simply because they need to be done. I don’t think that, when I go to staff meetings, my bosses give a rip about my particular learning style as they present information I have to have.

Are we creating students that are incapable of retaining information if they don’t like it—like posthipchick’s unfortunate student? Are our kids going to be paralyzed at PTA meetings in the future because the information isn’t set to music and they aren’t rapping it? Are future employers going to have to draw pictures of business plans and make sure that they are only selling products that our students like to sell?

It is frustrating. I think it is important for our kids to learn to do what they need to because it needs to be done. Right now I feel like we might be teaching them that they only have to do things if they like them, find them interesting, and will maybe get a candy.

Thanks for letting me rant.
¶ 8:56 AM

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