Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Boredom, students and teaching

On Sunday, January 22, I read an article in the Anchorage Daily News about a teacher's experience of teaching in Kongiganak, AK and the struggle to keep the children's interests and teaching them lessons.

The same day there was an article in the News and Observer on a falculty rating web site RateMyProfessors.com . On this web site, there are some really funny ratings ( Funniest ratings ) that students have given their teachers.

It would be very difficult for me to teach children who claim to be bored. They should have had my mother. If any of her children claimed to be bored at home, she would find dishes to wash, floors to scrub and lots of cleaning to do. Then we would get a lecture that if we could not even use our imaginations to find something to do, then we deserved to do cleaning as that was all we would ever be able to do. And if you had seven brothers and sisters, you know that is the last thing you want to do the rest of your life.

The first day of my sixth grade class, Mrs. Forest gave us a warning. It was repeated at any time during the year that she felt appropriate. It went like this--- "Until you know everything there is to know, every definition of every word in the dictionary, where every country is located and what they export and import, information on every subject in the encyclopedia, you cannot claim to be bored unless you are just lazy, unimaginative or don't care what you become." To her credit, she always kept things moving along and we were not stuck listening to what we already knew. It was in her class that I did a lot of dreaming. I wrote essays of wanting to live in Alaska and Australia---but never once did I ever mention that I was bored!

Writing this, I realize that both my mother and my teacher were teaching us a lesson. The lesson was, "You choose to be bored or you choose to engage and create what you will become and you have the choice."

Now over 40 years later, I am never bored. There has never been enough hours in the day for me. I will probably go to my grave saying, "Wait, wait, I want to do this, do that....."

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At 1/27/2006 7:53 AM, Blogger Samantha said...

I could swear we had the same mother -- except I was an only child, adopted. Perhaps they're the same generation. Did your mom use the phrase "elbow grease"? That was my mom's favorite and to this day I refuse to use it.

I wish I'd gone to your schools. I lived in the Big City and all my teachers were pleased if no one disrupted class that day ... That was about it.

I'm glad you updated. I miss your thought-provoking posts!

At 1/27/2006 4:28 PM, Blogger Jeanne Rhea said...

Samantha, I had so many brothers and sisters, cousins, second cousins and friends living in our home when growing up, I don't know how my mom could stand it. We were all rambunctious in a way and her best tricks were guilt trips (She's still good at that!) and admonishing us to make something of our lives---even if we wanted to be a junk dealer we were to be the best junk dealer!


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