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The Teachings of Mrs. Cap’n Firepants

 

One of my students wrote this on my dry erase board, and it made me feel –  well, dead.  I mean, I don’t know anyone alive who has “teachings”.  The only people I can think of that have teachings are  Buddha, Confucius and Socrates.  And, while that “s” at the end of the word “teaching” appears to give my time spent in the classroom an extra sort of  dignity that I never knew it had, I would like to state, uncategorically, that I am not dead.

Oh wait, I think the Dalai Lama has “teachings”, and he’s not dead.  And Yoda.  Who technically isn’t dead when you think about  it…

Since I do have aspirations to join the Order of the Temple of the Jedi, my “teachings” may be similar to Yoda’s.  But, I like to think I’ve put my own spin on them.

Size matters not a lot:  Every year, my 5th graders watch an A&E video that lists the top 100 people of the last millennium.  Because there are a few artists in the list, I always preface the video by reminding the students that sometimes artists portrayed the human body unclothed, and that I expect the students to handle this maturely when it appears on the screen.  This lecture worked fine when we were watching the video on the tiny t.v. in the corner of my classroom.  When we transitioned from that to a big screen and projector, though, I don’t think anyone was more surprised than me when the full-frontal closeup of the statue of David by Michelangelo made its appearance on our 4′ x6′ screen.  To their credit, the kids did not start snickering and guffawing until I tripped over my own feet racing to find the remote.

Do or do not… there is no try but at least give it a try: O.K.  Yoda was so wrong here.  You have got to try.  If I told my kids what Yoda said, their response would be, “Thanks.  I think I’ll choose ‘Do Not’.”  Maybe that works when you are training Jedi Knights who weren’t raised on Earth, but on this planet trying is pretty much the only thing we can do.

Grave danger you are in. Impatient you are I am:  I probably can’t take credit for this one because it’s some weird phenomenon that works with all kids.  If you start counting really loud after you’ve asked them to do something, they suddenly rush to finish it.  You don’t have to give any kind of consequence or even tell them a final number.  They apparently have been programmed to think the world will blow up if they don’t complete their task.

You must unlearn what you have learned when your teacher accidentally showed you a bigger than life-size David statue on the screen:  I wish I could unlearn that, too.

Control, control, you must learn control where is my remote control?:  Not just a problem when really well-endowed sculptures suddenly appear on the classroom screen, Remote Control Loss happens to me on a daily basis.  Partly because I have so many to keep track of:  projector, document camera, iPod player, etc…  I’m not really sure what my students learned from this, other than the fact that it was easy to convince me they had turned in an assignment, and I just “must have lost it” – most likely in the same place where I set the remote(s).  I’ve decided that, next year, I will just velcro them to my face.  (The remotes, not the assignments, and certainly not the students)

So, there you have it, all of my wisdom in one handy, printable blog post.  If I decide to come up with any more gems, I will make sure you are the first to know.  If I’m not dead, of course.

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