Tag: School

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That is the question being debated now in Texas, where 26 districts, mainly in rural areas, have added paddling to their toolbox of disciplinary actions.  The parents must sign off on this.  The comments from parents run the gamut, as you can imagine.  From ‘you touch my kid, I’ll beat you senseless!’, to ‘studies have […]

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I am not a pack rat.  The periodic purge has never been a cause of angst for me.  I prefer to travel light, and whether this is due to my upbringing in a military family or the byproduct of having my belongings strewn across barren acreage in the aftermath of a storm – “things” just […]

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School of Life; School of Fish

 

As a boy, one of the great joys in life of which I have fond memories is of going fishing for perch on the Oregon coast with my dad. Though a lot of fun, this is never really an easy endeavor for a young boy. A coastal fishing trip always involved waking up very early on a Saturday morning. In hindsight, it was worth it. At the time, as a boy it was hard to appreciate getting up at 5 a.m. on Saturday for anything other than Saturday morning cartoons.

The reason for such an early wake-up time was because there are really two things you need to successfully fish for perch. The first thing you need is a good supply of sand shrimp. The sand shrimp is a nearly transparent pale or ash grey shrimp that can be found in the shallow areas of the ocean buried within the sand. We’d get up early to catch low tide. Then we could walk out into the sands normally under the waves and pump out the hiding shrimp.

Led Gently to the Slaughter

 

I have troops of ants streaming across my bathroom floor. A helpful Facebook friend recommended liquid ant traps which he promised would kill the entire colony at its source. I dutifully purchased the traps and placed them in the corner of the bathroom where the ants seep in.

The traps work through deception. Scouting ants are constantly seeking food and water to feed the queen and her many children. If you place the trap in the way of a scout, he finds it, and tasting manna, heads back to the nest, leaving a trail for the colony to follow. A line of ants appears. They become a revolving walkway, transporting thousands of ants from the crack in the wall to the trap and back again. The ants take the food of death back to the nest, where they give it to their young, to the queen, to the entire colony. Only hours later, the seductive poison acts upon them all, and they disappear forever.

School Days: Propaganda

 

Something on Ricochet recently reminded me of an event that happened when I was a schoolgirl.

I must have been in 3rd or 4th grade when my class watched a video at school about the inevitable destruction of the world coming soon where we would have no food because all the plants and animals would die due to humanity’s neglect. Then we would die from acid rain, complete with a vivid little enactment of people dying from acid rain. The only way to stop this Certain Death was to start telling grownups to tell people to stop cutting down the rain-forests. I went home bawling to Mom about acid rain death and rainforests. It took her some time to calm me down and I’m fairly certain she got a hold of someone at the school over that.

College vs. the Love of Wisdom

 

Part I: A sad realization

While we Ricochetti may find it regrettable, the vast majority of human beings aren’t interested in ideas. In my Advanced International Relations class, we met once a week after reading a book. It was mentally electrifying. We ran the gamut of different ideas and theories and hammered out what they all meant. The teacher was superb, and it was a smaller class, so it was perfect for discussion. The class was among the most intellectually productive things I’ve ever done. Sadly, I doubt that a majority of the students were really into it. I asked my Professor why the students were so uninterested in the morality of torture and wars and Empires. He shrugged and said that while he always found it odd, it was usually that way.

Furthermore, some of the straight-A students were as intellectually stimulating as dusty cardboard. They perfectly regurgitated whatever the Professor spoke or whatever the textbook said, but they never bothered to think about anything they absorbed. My Uncle and my Dad hate this argument. They think they can force people to be intellectual and thoughtful. I never saw a lot of that on campus, did you?

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It started with music. The band launched into an aggressive rendition of Chicago’s “25 or 6 to 4,” always seeming to teeter on the edge of losing control of their horns. As they wrapped up, the lights in the upper bleachers dimmed and the flag unfurled from a panel in the ceiling of our gym. […]

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School Daze

 

I’ve taught school, officially, for 22 years now. I mean, as a contracted teacher. I also worked as a teacher’s aide, and as a short-term and long-term, substitute teacher for a couple of years, as I finished the credential program in California. I went to college, for a couple of years, fresh out of high school, but wasn’t a dedicated student. So I dropped out, got married, had five children, then decided to go back and finish my degree (because I had so much spare time). But, this second attempt at college was more successful because I’d gained more self-discipline, and better stick-to-it skills as a mother. I became a full-time teacher when my “baby” was in eighth grade. It was a really hard transition because I didn’t realize how much time was involved in being The Teacher. Wow … lots of work and time. But, it is a very entertaining profession. I’ve taught in California, Maryland, and Nevada, and have been in 4th grade for my whole career … I love them.

Here are few anecdotes:

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I don’t care about your favorite school teacher. I don’t mean to sound harsh, but I really don’t care about your favorite school teacher. I’m sure that your favorite teacher was a great mentor, role model, etc. I had some great teachers in elementary, middle, and high school. I had some great professors in college. […]

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School Bologna

 

In the beginning was the word, and the word was the law: the law of Rome. And Justinian I commanded that the law be gathered and compiled. And in this compilation of 1,500 volumes, he found many conflicts, so he ordered these conflicts resolved and fifty were published as The Fifty Decisions. And when this was done and apparently liking the number fifty, he commanded that the 1,500 books of law be digested down into fifty volumes, and that this should be the Law of Rome henceforth. And so it was done; and so it was published, and so it was the law of the land. It was called the Digest, and it was good and much simpler than what had gone before.

And as the years passed, it was used in both East and West, but then the West fell to barbarians. And so they lived in the light of a golden age for five hundred years with no professional lawyers to pester them and make wreck of their lives, only having to worry of honest robbers and barbarians.

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Somewhere around the time of my eleventh birthday, and just when I would have been entering the sixth grade, had I been living in the USA, my parents unceremoniously dumped me at The Abbey School, Malvern Wells, and my English boarding school experience began. I’m sure they meant well. I’d had a rocky and circuitous […]

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One of the great issues in education in the last few generations is: how do we get kids to learn? This is generally used in the context of public schools, and how they are being effective, or not, and how that effectiveness can be improved. This usually focuses on teaching methods, which I am going […]

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Watching Movies, Old School

 

Christopher Lee appeared on screen, and 500 girls screamed for all they were worth. Peter Cushing deftly snatched two candlesticks from the table and turned to face him, holding up the candlesticks in the Sign of the Cross. 500 boys roared their approval.

I’ve written before about how my hometown was transformed in the late ’50s from a small, sleepy town into a bustling suburb by several massive housing developments and the arrival of 10,000 new residents, along with what that did to the local school system. The new houses were perfect for young families, and the influx of thousands of new children necessitated the immediate building of four elementary schools and a high school.

That’s not to say there wasn’t already a school in town; just one school that covered K-12, with one classroom for each grade, although in my day it was used as the middle school. A stately, three-story old stone building, originally built in the 1880s, there were several additions made through the years, including a large new wing that was added at the same time those other schools were built. These additions created a school that was a rambling, twisted maze that ranged from the ancient core, with its uneven floors and age rippled windows, to the modern, up-to-the-minute, 1960s style of the newest wing. But it was the first addition, the auditorium, that stood out as truly weird.

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It’s graduation season, and so I thought it an appropriate time to reflect on School as a concept, so “School” is the topic for Group Writing in June, though as always random associations and riffs on the topic are welcome. In Group Writing, Ricochet members claim one day of the coming month to write on […]

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What do those four words mean to you?  What images are generated in your mind?  Is it the 4th of July?  Memorial Day?  When high schools apologize for wearing red, white, and blue at sports events, because somebody was OFFENDED, I have to wonder, “What does it mean – to be an American – these […]

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Well, That Didn’t Take Long!

 

shutterstock_65361118My son entered high school last week. In his American History class, the teacher wasted no time with the indoctrination: The very first assignment was a selection from the work of Howard Zinn. Before you suggest I summarily withdraw him from the school, let me say that I think this is a good thing. I want him to be exposed to progressive thought, the more ridiculous the better.

Furthermore, the assignment required the students to assess Zinn’s biases, which my son did with gusto. He told me it was absurd for Zinn to judge Christopher Columbus by modern standards. I couldn’t have been more proud.

Addendum:  See my Comment #27.  Although the teacher is definitely a progressive, I may have been too quick to judge, as he appears to encourage critical thinking, notwithstanding his bias.

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Ted Cruz was ‘disinvited’ from speaking at an ELEMENTARY SCHOOL in Bronx, NY because 4th graders wrote a letter to their principal. This is on Redstate—the title, “The true meaning of “special little snowflake” and why it should matter to you as a citizen…” (I can’t link on my tablet!). Preview Open

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