Thursday, October 12, 2006

Parts of me have already died

I woke up earlier than usual for a Wednesday and finished up some work for Diagnostic Reading. Then I headed over to Art class.

We had a quiz. I got 85% on the previous two in this class, I guess because I don't do any reading in the book at all. Hey, I'd like to do the reading but every time I crack open the text, a soul-leeching cloud of 99.99% pure boredom rises out of its pages like the miasma around a particularly foul swamp, and I grow catatonic. It truly is the wort kind of brainless textbook, saying nothing with endless verbosity and needless lists of things like "the ten philosophies of art integration," where five of the ten things seem to be exactly the same but are worded differently.

Another thing that bit me on the ass in the class is that I plumb forgot to bring in a children's book to discuss its illustrations. Stupid of me, especially as literally hundreds of children's books are at my fingertips every day.

Three more groups had art lesson presentations. We made paper spiders that glided along fishing line (or, as the southern belle doing the presentation charmingly called it, "fishin' war"), paper flowers in a Styrofoam cups, and trees with colored tissue paper fall foliage. This last project suggested a good way for kids to make tree trunks: trace their forearms and fingers.

Evening rolled around as evening will (you just can't stop it), and then I went to Diagnostic Reading. I turned in the approximately seventy-four different printouts and lesson plans that were due, and the class went laboriously over how to give an IRI. Dr. C, the magpie-brained, is so incredibly boring, self-serving, self-contradictory and incomprehensible that it took quite a while, but finally, with the help of several questions from me, she wrote out a step-by-step chart of how to do it on the board and I think we all have a fairly good idea about it now. I feel very sorry for the three students in the class for whom English is not their first language; given how little we native speakers get from her blather, they're probably lucky to understand every tenth sentence or so Dr. C says.

We got the midterms back. I got 190 out of 200, which is good. I missed a couple of points on only one of the 40 short-answer items, because I failed to provide a few explanatory words for the four "IRI comprehension levels" that I listed (literal, inferential, critical and creative). As I'd noted when I took the test, it was the multiple choice section (with questions so badly written as to be self-contradictory, incomprehensible, etc.) where I lost the most points.

Example. One of the questions asked what happens when the student reaches the frustration level during an IRI. Two of the answer choices were: (a) the student stops reading and (b) listening comprehension begins. If Dr. C weren't so Ba'al-blasted bird-brained, she'd have realized that these two answers are in fact mutually inclusive, and therefore one can't be wrong if the other is right.

I'm glad that there my classmates this semester seem to be a bit more academically grounded compared to the dingbats from last semester. But there are a few. As I said to a classmate who was laughing with me about some of those said dingbats on the way out of Art, "I realize that elementary teacher is sort of the default profession of young white women, but really, if you 'can't do math,' and you have no interest in science, and you don't read for pleasure in your own life, why be a teacher?" And yes, sadly, there are a few people about to become teachers for whom that description is accurate.

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