Sunday, February 5, 2012

Consistency is Key...

I teach World History to a class of twenty-three 9th graders. We are about a week into our World Religions Unit where we cover the five major world religions: Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Christianity and Judaism. I'm hoping to briefly touch on Mormonism and Shintoism but will spend most of our time focused on the big 5. As an assessment at the end of the unit, I split the class into groups and they have to create a skit where all the leaders of those religions come together to have a dinner and discussion. It's really fun to watch and students enjoy doing it. 

Anyway, last week I was teaching about Hinduism and the effect it's had on the social class structure in India. We've already learned-ish the names of the caste system and how each level affects society but I was trying to teach them another word for the lowest class- the untouchables.

And let me just preface this by saying we were in the middle of really good classroom discussion. I was feeling all teachery and a little rock starish because they were laughing in all the right places and asking questions outside of the info I was telling them.We were in tune. I was well on my way to a "teacher of the year award" with this lesson.

Me: Let's review. What was the name for the lowest social class in India way back when?

The entire class: Untouchables!!!

Me: You're geniuses! Can anybody tell me another word that's used in place of 'untouchables'?

Total silence....

Me: I'll give you a hint. It's also a name for a type of fish. A very deadly fish.

Student 1: A perch!

Me: (raised eyebrow) No.

Student 2: A shark!

Me: Nope

Student 3: A piranha!

Me: Oh...ha. Yes, a piranha is definitely what I was thinking of...but not the right word. But it's close...(trying to hide my utter embarrassment and feeling the "teacher of the year award" slipping through my fingers)

Student 4: Pariah!

Me: Yes! Pariah! That's it. Not piranha. Please, oh please, do not write piranha on your test. I will be humiliated as a teacher. 

They laughed but I was so serious.

Sigh. Sometimes my brain just doesn't work. And I don't even notice that it's not working until I'm deep in the middle of a discussion. 

The following is a story that I blogged about in 2008. It still makes me blush when I think about it...

So, I was at church tonight, getting ready to sing on the worship team. We, as in several pastors, the other singers and the band, were all gathered in the green room getting ready to pray and the men were going over the run-down of the service. We're all standing in a circle, I'm the only girl, surrounded by the head pastor, the worship pastor, and all the other guys. This is what happens:

Head Pastor: "The message today is about Noah. Okay, so-and-so Pastor, you'll be doing the welcome but you won't need to introduce the sermon. We're going to go straight into it."

So-and-so Pastor: "Oh, okay. I thought I was going to be introducing it so I was looking up information about Noah. I came across a book by Maxwell discussing his (Noah's) leadership abilities."

Head Pastor: "Well, that's interesting. He really didn't have any. He wasn't a good leader. He couldn't get anyone to follow him."

Peanut Gallery: "He did get his family to follow him onto the boat."

Me: "Yah, and he got the Israelites to follow him out of Egypt."

*Chirp* *Chirp* *Blink* *Blink*

Head Pastor: "Noah?"

Me: "Yah, they followed him out of Egypt. Like 2 million pe...oh, I'm an idiot."

Nothin' like making a fool of yourself in front of a group of pastors. 'Lead Pastor' did go on to question if I taught my students Bible. Which I denied. I'm pretty sure I became neon pink and tried to laugh it off. It's all a blur now.

Oh, if I only had a brain!


I'm nothing if I'm not consistent.


Robin said...

You consistently bring a smile too. Hope you are doing well. Sounds like you do deserve that teacher of the year award :)

Jerry Jones said...

In fairness an ark could have gotten them across the red sea without all of the stress. You're a great teacher.

W. MacLeod said...

So I had heard the first story, but the second one has me literally laughing out loud. For me it's always Jonah and Noah that I get mixed up! :)

Also, the word verification is "anacking" I don't think it's a word, but it sure should be.

jenn collins said...

love this and love you!

DWill said...

1) I love that your creativity is not stifled in other countries! #greatassessment

2) Those were the best stories I've heard in a long time!

3) I'm sure you still deserve the award! I can only imagine how much your kids love you!

Anonymous said...

Jen, I think the Lord allows us to do things like this so we don't get too proud of ourselves. It's not fun, but it is funny for other people. Maybe there is value in that?????

I figure that if we say a 1000 things a day, 7000 things a week and 210,000 things a month, we are likely to say ONE thing wrong. I'd say we have a pretty good percentage of non-humiliating things!

Just keep on talking!


Jen said...

Robin, thanks! You sweet woman, you!

Jerry, with that point in mind I may NEVER get the two guys straight in my head.

Warren, I've thought about the word "anacking" and how we could use it. It could be our code word... :)

Jen, thanks friend! Love you too.

DWill, I think I know who you are. Thanks for your kind words.

Mom, I really like that theory. And the truth is, those of us with more words to say are just going to have more mistakes.