Tuesday, January 19, 2010
A Rambling Post
Today I almost got stuck in my driveway. Totally my fault. I should have known better when the slush turns into ice and the ruts take over. I just overshot my boundaries. I figured I could get myself out of the stuck position knowing I just needed to get down to the base (gravel) as I was spinning my front wheels on ice. The problem is is that I have been ignoring the fact that I really need some serious gravel in the driveway and due to my "other priorities", the foundation is starting to crumble and if I don't start filling in with some gravel.....well I might just have to start over from scratch.
What is my point? Usually I don't go into this "philosophical" deepness but on my way home from a "required" meeting for school that irritated me, I need to vent.
Warning: Rambling may occur after this point.
Today's meeting was one of those meetings to create ways to "inspire" today's student. I know that when I went to school, I learned by drill and practice.....oh, and I read and studied. The drill and practice started like in first grade and continued on up through school. My parents who are in their 60's also learned by drill and practice.....those "old-fashion" ways. But we all learned. We can read and we can write, regardless of the fluency, the basics are there. This is my 16th year of teaching. And more and more, the basics are disappearing. More and more of my students can not read fluently and write in cursive??? Forget that. I gave them a "surprise quiz" in which they had to write the alphabet in cursive, both upper & lower case letters, and out of 55 students, not one could do it......they are 8th graders. Identify the 50 states & capitals? Heck, I had a student teacher who was majoring in Soc. St. and when I asked him to quiz the kids on the capitals, he was concerned because I handed him a blank outline map of the U.S. and wanted to know if I had one already filled out with the answers, really????????
I am not that old. I graduated from high school in 1986. I am no hater of technology. I use my computer everyday, its a great tool; but I don't ask it to read and write for me. I mastered those basics on my own.
Everyone wants to use the cute bells and whistles and this creative stuff but if the foundation has not been laid or if it has and its crumbling because the basics are not being practiced enough, or nor one is there to help it along, what is going to be the end result? I can't hang the cute picture on my wall if I have no walls or nails. I can't teach with air, I need to be able to grab on to something and if what I grab on to won't let me hold on for a bit, is that my fault? Our society is the same way. Too many want all the bells and whistles, heck, what has happened to the basics? Some of the founding principles? Where is that simple reading, writing, and arithmetic?
I know that everyone does not learn the same way and everyone deserves the right to learn but first they have to want to learn. Trying to pull them in with all the bells and whistles is not necessarily doing them justice.
The wheel can only be reinvented so many times.
This is Addison. She was an "opps". Her dam is Martha, a Black Cotswold. Her sire, Jedidiah, a blk. gully Shetland. Both parents were purchased as foundation stock for the 2 breeds of sheep I raise. Credentials: Addison is a basic sheep with wool. Wool that is one of the softest among all of my sheep (38 plus sheep). I am not looking to start a new breed of sheep here but with her strong foundations, basic essentials of wool (softness and a long staple), and her willingness to work with me (she is pathetically friendly and very vocal), well I think its going to be a win-win situation.
So, what is my point again? I guess its my way of saying, that the foundation has to be laid, the basics have to be put into place, and the drive to want something bad enough has to be there.
The writing is on the wall if one is willing to read it and want it. It does not require a bunch of bells and whistles.
So why do I have to keep going to these meetings? I know, its a personal issue. I guess I am just having one of those moments. I'll get over. Its not even that time of the month.
Faculty meeting on Wednesday. Thursday a Dept. Chair meeting. Okay, so maybe I'll get over it by the weekend.