Wednesday, June 20, 2007

I'm not wearing enough pieces of flare

I'm at a seminar today. Fortunately I brought my laptop and there is a remarkably weak internet connection that still lets me check my email after about a hundred attempts at a page load. And the food is free, albeit a little carb happy.

But other than that I kind of wish somebody would just knock me unconscious.

This entire day is dedicated to theory. No practical anything. Just this thing filled with jargon and generalizations we like to call "pedagogy."

There are about 80 people in here. We just had a 20-minute debate about whether or not you should tell students when they give an intelligent reply in class.

Let me explain:

If you say, "Good answer" to a kid and not another kid, the other kid will feel very bad about himself and nobody will want to comment anymore. So from now on we are supposed to stop using positive reinforcement when kids give their opinions.

That's right. Enough people think this is a good idea that we managed to carry the debate for 20 minutes until the speaker finally cut us off to start a whole new argument on how evil pop culture is.

In order to facilitate this discussion, we read an article about pop culture by a man whose entire set of quotes and references comes from books he wrote. And we're all supposed to agree and smile and take gleeful notes. The speaker is less than pleased that people have begun to point out the problems with this.

It reminds me of this one seminar for English teachers I went to last year where this guy said we shouldn't discourage them from using Spanish in the classroom because if you force them to speak English it teaches them that English is the preferred language in our culture.

I looked around at all the nodding heads and tried to remember what subject I teach. Then I stabbed myself with a fork and ran out of the room screaming.

The worst thing is how they took away my friend. I was sitting next to a cute boy who will giggle with me and pass notes about how stupid all this is, when they made us meet new people by getting up and moving to other tables. And they won't let us move back. So my friend went away and now I'm stuck at a table where everybody's wearing lots of flare.

There is a class going on next door where some woman is teaching in Spanish very loudly. I wish I was in her class. They're singing and clapping their hands while someone in our room just asked a question I don't understand about "cognitive understanding."

I miss the Bald Guy. Whenever he gives a seminar he goes, "Okay guys. I know most of this sucks but if you just take this thing here and that thing there and combine it there's some stuff you can use. Now let's go eat some cookies and talk about it."

Jesus. It's only 9:40. I don't think I'm going to make it. Somebody get me a fork. And some water. I ain't drinking this koolaid.


  1. Gotta love the educational establishment. We used to have to do stuff like that the week before classes started, Flex week is what they called it. The number of hours required was directly proportional to the teaching load that semester. One year I got to see a slide show about someone's summer trips to Alaska. Another was a motivational seminar based on Seattle's Pike Place fish market. You are getting paid for this, I hope. And yeah, I always get separated from the cute girls too and next to some goddamn baby boomer who takes all this stuff seriously. How long is the ordeal?

  2. Wear a sombrero.

    You'd be surprised at how effectively the right pieve of ironic millinery can communicate your disdain for any proceedings.
    B (in Viking helm, of course)

  3. Sounds like torture.

    Next time, turn on the speakers on your laptop and put on a very offensive song - and start dancing.

    Wearing Brett's sombrero.

  4. Yeaaaah. I'm gonna need you to go ahead and fill out the No Child Left Behind T-47 Form to explain why you're stabbing yourself with a fork on school grounds.

    Kay? That'd be great.


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