Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Paper Jam

Today is probably the day I dread most out of the school year. Today, I will introduce the research paper. Insert blood-curdling scream here.

One has to see the big picture with research, before delving down into the nitty-gritty; and sadly, that’s just not a typical teenager’s mode of operation. So on day one, I’ve already lost them. And if anyone tells me that I need to find good examples to show them, don’t you think I’ve tried (along with a number of other methods)? What good is providing a map, if it’s in a foreign language? On top of that, there’s just so much information presented to them at once that it’s difficult to keep them from shutting down.

The system could throw us a bone by the way. For example, could I get some freakin’ help and have the state require writing courses for graduation? Seriously, why do I have to teach literature and writing? Just imagine how things would be if all students were given sufficient time where they just focused on writing. That way they could focus on literature in a different class. Learn to interpret metaphors in one; learn how to write them in another.

Don’t tell me that the subjects are so closely related that it makes sense to combine the two, or I’ll punch you in the throat. Math is used in science, so why not combine those two? What? “That would be silly,” you say? That’s interesting, yet I’ve got to cover literature and writing, and all because they have letters. Hey, I don’t care which one I would have to teach, just divvy them up, so I don’t have to be spread so thin. Whom does that help?

Don’t tell me that there’s no room in the curriculum either. A third of the students have early release; another third has late arrival, while the other third have early release and late arrival. Why doesn’t the school, I don’t know, have these kids come to school, and not for floral design and shop either.

Need more? Okay, with the new writing classes in place, then you don’t need four literature classes. I’ve never understood why we have a British literature class and a world literature class anyway. Who wrote the curriculum? King Charles II?
I don’t know. Perhaps, I’m just cracking a bit under a more than usual stressful day. It’s just when a kid asked, “Why are we doing this?” I was thinking the same thing myself.

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