Monday, February 12, 2007

Now here's a surprise

It's Monday again, which means it's time once more for Social Studies. We began the evening with a filler activity: literally, because we were presented with a blank map of Europe. As on the first day, when we were given maps of the U.S., this was a shameful fiasco. Most of my classmates gave up instantly, saying they could not name a single European country. Some said they knew Italy because it was shaped like a boot. I correctly labeled twelve or so, getting lost, of course, in the quagmire that is Eastern Europe.

But most of the girls identified only one or two countries. Keep in mind that these people want to be, and will soon be, professional teachers. It never fails to blow my mind. They know nothing, they don't care to read or learn or know anything now, they've forgotten everything that they may have (probably inadvertently) learned in school --- which was a good ten years, at least, more recent for them than in my case.

Ms. W2 asked if any of us had traveled in Europe, and implied that those of us who actually identified a few countries, knew them because of that experience. I wanted to shout, "No, that's not it! I learned these in school! Haven't any of you gone to fifth grade? Seventh grade? High school? What did you do at school?" But of course I didn't. Anyway, maybe I'm being unfair. I know my memory is exceptional; and I was a geek who loved reading. They probably used school for exploring the intricacies of social networks.

Anyway, then we presented the games that we'd made for our second big assignment. A lot of the products presented were very creative and well-made, and I could really see students getting involved in the learning process through them; perhaps there's hope here and there for the teaching profession.

So, after a few more infantile, demeaning activities that involved cutting things out and playing games, we had our exam review. Now, I haven't bought the book or even looked at it beyond that first cursory glance to see if I thought I'd need it before class started.

This may have been a mistake. Listen in, won't you, on my thought processes as the review began:

"Ho hum, second-grade activities... Cutting and matching pieces... Booooring... Okay, here's a review sheet... So what will the exam--- Holy shit! Kant?! Plato?! What the--?!"

Seriously, there seems to be a lot of philosophy in the text that we're apparently not talking about in class. Now, I've got a BA in philosophy, so these concepts aren't new to me, but this was a shock and a half, let me tell you. The exam will apparently cover a lot of theory of teaching and the history of thought and ethics.

I may need to acquire, and crack, a book.

1 comment:

NYC Educator said...

It's good, though, that you don't buy expensive books until you're absolutely sure they're necessary. If you're not sure, you can sometimes get them in public libraries and renew as needed.

I wouldn't do well on a map. I had a Western Civilization course in which we had to label a map of the world, and I think I got a C plus. Today, I'd fare much worse.