I've been trying to post some pictures of our lovely cherry orchard in bloom, but Blogger and I are having issues. Or my computer is having issues. Or our ISP is having issues. Unfortunately, I know just enough about computers to get myself in all sorts of tangles and not have the faintest idea how to untangle myself. Sigh. When in doubt, try again! (That's probably NOT the best maxim for computers, but it seems better for the job than the surgeon's maxim, which Scott enjoys proclaiming sometimes: "When in doubt, cut it out!")
So, for your Friday pleasure, here is my favorite student mess-up of the week (there were several to choose from, but this one provided the greatest mental pictures -- of its aftermath, I mean:
[In an essay about the piece "Graduation" by Maya Angelou--an account of her 8th grade graduation in the Jim Crow South.] "The graduation speaker told them their only ability in life was to be like Joe Louise." Joe LOUIS, the boxer (you know, the Brown Bomber?), is who this young gentleman had in mind. The great mental picture was, as Scott said, wondering what Joe Louis would do to anyone who actually called him "Joe Louise." Of course, he (the writer) also identified "Jim Crow" as being the name of the graduation speaker. That, I felt, was rather sad. It put me in mind of that quote about those not knowing history being doomed to repeat it -- especially considering that this was a student of African-American descent. And Jim Crow was, in fact, recent enough to be in the clear memory of many -- and I don't mean 95-year-olds, either. My mother can remember where she was standing when she heard the news that Martin Luther King, Jr., was shot. My father can remember seeing the "Whites Only" signs on drinking fountains, buses, and restaurant seating IN WASHINGTON STATE (which shocked me).
I could wander on here into a damning critique of schools, or teachers, or parents, or "kids nowadays," but truthfully I think it's everyone's fault. Parents, for not really spending TIME with their children, teaching them. My parents took me to all kinds of museums and historical sites (including ones near to home -- it doesn't have to be a globetrotting adventure, though those are nice, too). They weren't too busy watching television to explain and discuss current events. It is, also, the fault of teachers and schools. I have students in the class -- in all my classes -- who should have been held back long ago. Someone should have said, "No, you can't go on until you really KNOW this stuff. And if it's happening in writing, I know it's happening in other subjects. I know this may be the fault of teachers, or it may be the fault of administration, but this post is long enough already, and I'll tackle that another time!
And, of course, students have to be responsible for themselves. Having a really bang-up and encyclopedic knowledge of Lost or The Simpsons isn't going to prepare you to have a very keen mind. Or to make you mindful of what's happening worldwide. Sigh. That thunk was me stepping down off my soapbox.