Thursday, January 26, 2012

You teach WHAT?

I had a desk job once... for five days. I was a temp the summer we moved back from Dallas and I mostly filed papers and occasionally answered the phone. That job was about four and a half days too long and it helped me realize exactly how amazingly unique teaching is when it comes to careers. Every day us truly different. As an example I will share with you a few of the things we have discussed in my English III classroom in the past three days. All but one were (somewhat) connected to the play we are reading: The Crucible by Arthur Miller.

  • We discussed lechery. From the play: Mary Warren tells John that Abigail will accuse him of lechery. What is that, boys and girls? It is extreme sexual indulgence/lustfulness. Yes, I got to share that definition with 91 teenagers. After all, it is in the play. We discussed what the Puritans would have thought of people today in this regard. I did NOT ask them if they were lechers. I abide by the philosophy that I don't WANT to know about this aspect of any of their lives.
  • We discussed why, in a early American setting, it was not an issue that in The Crucible Abigail was 17 and John was in his mid-30's but rather that they weren't married. We discussed that it was common for older men to marry younger girls if their wives had died. After all, I said with a wink, how on Earth were the men expected to clean their own homes and make their own food if they didn't have a wife? We were all in agreement that it was still gross.
  • My favorite discussion: how did Puritan women even KNOW they were pregnant? Um, the same way they do now. My wording "Missed monthly cycles"; I did say that they found out later but that they did indeed know, just as Elizabeth in the play was pregnant. A spin off of this in one class was how women back then tended to their monthly cycles. Really? Did I mention that I teach English? This last part was from a class that is 85% female but I still responded by telling them to Google it. I know a little about the subject but, out of respect for those few sweet boys, I didn't go there. I don't know if you've ever seen a darling, dark-skinned African American boy blush but I have and I didn't want to make it even worse for him.
  • This one is NOT academic. We discussed how some kids save their friends under nicknames instead of their real names and even their girlfriends under "Mom" in case their phones get picked up. The ensuing discussion revealed that sometimes that can lead to some unintentionally revealing texts when you think you're texting your girlfriend and it's really your mom. My contribution to this conversation was that I do not look forward to this time period in parenting.
The best story is one that I have saved for my co-workers and will not be posted on my blog. Think of it as a special little tidbits for my fellow educators. Let's just say that the fun didn't stop there. Every day is unique, for better or worse, when you are a teacher.

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