Monday, January 08, 2007

Spring 2007 semester begins!

It seems like just last year that 2006 spring semester was starting. Actually, I have only vague memories of anything to do with State School.

I'm taking two evening classes this semester. Today's was the laboriously titled "Language Arts and Social Studies Methods." The professor, Ms. W2, has a very bizarre accent. Born in New York, she went to school in England. As a result, her accent, which I can tell would be, without the time abroad, a very thick and typical "New Yawkah" brogue with broad vowels, has been twisted into a bizarre melange of that and the poshest, final-R dropping British speech. She's both fascinating and somehow disturbing to listen to at the same time.

She's also one of those teachers that seem to love to treat those who are learning to become teachers as little children themselves; we got stickers and a poem and had to make an "about me burger" (with spaces to respond to trivial personal questions on a picture of a bun, lettuce, cheese, etc).

Under "Things that bother me" I put "Filling out children's work, which infantilizes the learning process." Under "What I enjoy doing" I put "Listening to music" and "Worshipping Dagon, the fish-god of the Levantine people." I guess that proves what I put under "Words to describe me:" "Impatient with those who ought to know better."

What a colossal asshole I can be.

We also did a childish "get to know each other" activity where we linked arms in a big line around the classroom. Another terrific way to spend valuable class time.

We labelled states on a blank map of the US. Most of my fellow teachers-to-be correctly identified around ten to fifteen states. How sad is that? I got 46; the next closest was 44. There's a three and a half year old kid in my pre-K class who knows all the states by shape and their location on the map. I'm not saying that's normal, but it's so eminently attainable. This isn't African countries or something esoteric; it's our country's most basic geopolitical makeup! Lord, people are willfully ignorant.

Ms. W2 used the jigsaw approach on us as well, breaking us into small groups. We each studied a different handout on strategies for teaching social studies, devised an outline for the handout on poster paper and presented it to the rest of the group.

There were other silly games too, like sharing "bio-poems" (something I had to write for Diagnostic Reading last semester), more useless meet and greet material based on, of all things, where we'd like to go on vacation and how and what we like to eat and what magazine we'd read and blah blah feckety blah, some handout with emotion icons on it we were supposed to identify with, some quotes from Maya Angelou, and etc.

Is this time-wasting a tacit admission by State School that they are actually incapable of giving teachers concrete information on pedagogy and content? whatever, I think I'm done with writing about tonight's class now. Maybe we will get down to brass tacks next time.

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