Saturday, December 04, 2010

Day #55

I can't do this Humanities stuff! It's too befuddling. Language Arts is hard enough to teach middle-schoolers without having to teach it via Social Studies. And Social Studies still derails me on a near daily basis. For example: I'm teaching chronological organization as a text structure and I'm using a paragraph about Confucius and Mencius. I've jumbled up all the sentences and the kids have to use the dates and other clues in the paragraph in order to re-organize it correctly. Before they start I tell them that "BC" dates go backwards, and then I have to stop everything and teach why, which takes 20 minutes of unexpected class time, but I think it's important. And then I end up talking about BCE and CE as opposed to BC and AD and why and whatever and then we're in some theological discussion because kids think Jesus was the first human on earth and they're keen to argue that and the Moslems in the room take exception and a couple Christians argue with the others that Adam was the first man, dummy, and then there's a fight.

The second paragraph we work on--this one a main idea and supporting details thang--is about Egyptian myth and religion. Osiris weighed your heart after death, and if it's too heavy it got eaten by a fabulous monster. Whatever, the kids get all freaked out and ask if it's real and then I have to go into how it's only real in the sense that it was an Egyptian religious or mythical belief thousands of years ago. And then we're all talking about death and what happens after death and the lesson is gone.

But these are the kinds of days I like best--the meandering sort of learning I enjoyed leading when I taught college kids. When I taught college kids, however, I was not required to follow, nor was I held accountable to, a curriculum!

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