Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.
Middle school students are in that in between stage – no longer children, but not yet savvy about the world around them. As a result, they wind up making astute observations, yet sometimes they don’t have a clue.
When asked to describe the shape of Australia, one student wrote, "It's shaped like a round rectangle."
Instead of answering an essay question, a student wrote, “Epic Fail” across the space. At least she knew.
On a test, one student explained a positive aspect of becoming a knight: “This is dangerous, but I get the ladies in the end.”
At Mt. Monadnock , the insides of the toilets in the restrooms are stained yellow, which I’m sure is caused by minerals rather than something more sinister. When entering a stall, a female student screeched, “That’s mad ghetto water.”
On the way down the mountain, several boys were behind me, talking about basketball. Topics like, Shaq joining the Celtics and LeBron on Miami. Miami lost to the Celtics and they were wondering whose fault it was.
“Maybe the coach is terrible,” one student said.
“He’s Filipino,” replied another.
I don’t know if that meant the coach was good or bad or the kid was just changing the subject.
The eighth-graders went to see a play about the Little Rock Nine at the Boston Courthouse. While we waited on line to get inside, a tour guide dressed up as a colonial woman brought her group behind us.
“Is she in the play?” one female student asked me.
“Um, no. She’s dressed a little differently than people did in the 1950s.”
As I set up the TV and DVD player for a seventh-grade class, one student said the high pitch was annoying him.
I told him, “I can’t hear it. I think you have to be under 30 to hear it.”
Another student exclaimed, “You’re over 30?!”
I didn’t know whether to be elated he was shocked I was over 30 or demoralized because he was horrified that someone could be over 30. It’s not a disease, y’all.
One Friday during snack time, a male student asked a female student for some cereal.
She replied, “Aren’t you rich?”
He looked taken aback. “Not really. Nobody is rich in Cambridge. We have some money.”
“Then why can’t you afford to bring snack to school?”
He didn’t get any cereal.
I decided to show the students a DVD of “The Dark Ages” to supplement the unit. I made a handout so they’d actually pay attention to the DVD. During the film, a student came over to ask, “Who’s Clover?” I looked down and realized that Microsoft Word was kind enough to change Clovis to clover. (Thanks, Microsoft Word.)
Note to self: always edit your work.