I’m pretty sure I encountered the scariest thing ever today. (Okay. Second scariest. High schoolers are the scariest.)
Now that my creative writing class has spent time practicing the act of writing through our home journals and in-class exercises (the other day we were standing in random locations like the parking lot behind our building writing the setting based on a given emotion), we were finally given the task to draft a poem to bring into class today to workshop.
Not only did my peer group have to read the poem I drafted last night…but then one of them had to read it aloud to the group so we could hear how it sounded, how someone else besides the writer (in this case me) would read it.
It was utterly terrifying. Because now the words I wrote, the moment I was trying to capture (a really personal one, at that) weren’t just out there…they were out there. I felt completely and totally naked.
I start my practicum next week (finally!). I’m going to be with seventh graders. I’m really, really excited. But the thought of being in classrooms full of kids my brother’s age, knowing what he and his friends are like? Sort of terrifying. (But not as terrifying as high schoolers. 😉 )
I think I’m also going to be tutoring high schoolers once a week starting…soonish? One of the clubs I go to on campus occasionally is getting together a group to do it. I actually did a service learning placement at that school last year, so I’m already sort of familiar with the school. I guess they mostly need tutors for math and science, but I’m still going and I’m still going to help where I can. I know that school also has a lot of ELL students who stay after school for extra help, so it would be really cool to help some of them again.
I was sort of sad when I was watching the State of the Union the other night, and President Obama kept pushing math/science/technology as the solutions to all of our problems. Not that we don’t need those, because especially today there are a lot of fields to which math and science is vital, but it feels a lot like the humanities don’t even matter anymore, y’know? I’m constantly having to defend them to other people who ask why I’m choosing to teach such a useless subject, or who assume I’m only going into teaching because I won’t be able to get a job with a history degree when I get out of school.
But I feel like the humanities are important in turning out well-rounded members of society. For example, page 10 of the Washington State social studies curriculum says:
Social studies education contributes to developing responsible citizens in a culturally diverse, democratic society in an interdependent world. Social studies equips students to understand their own power and their own responsibility as citizens of the world’s most powerful democracy. It equips them to make sound judgments and to actively contribute to sustaining a democratic society, to good stewardship of the natural environment, and to the health and prosperity of their own communities.*
Like…I’m pretty sure those are all important things for people to be able to do.
And right now I’m attempting to write a unit plan for my methods class on the Crusades. One of my targets for this unit asks that students be able to analyze “how a major historical event helps us to understand a current issue.”* Basically, understanding historical events like the Crusades “from a variety of perspectives”* (another of the targets for this unit) can help us understand things like the present-day conflict between the Middle East and the West. Because unless we understand where the conflict comes from, we can’t really find an effective way to try to overcome it.
I could probably rant about this for hours. Days. More like years. But I’ll spare you all by changing the subject. Like, how I laughed when I saw the specifications for the essay I just turned in for my history class yesterday. It had to be 1000-1250 words (so about four pages), answering the question How did race matter to American culture and society in the 1920s?, using only the three books we’d read for class so far. Which, compared to what I went through last quarter, I was able to do practically in my sleep.
(I didn’t do it in my sleep. I took the assignment completely seriously. I promise.)
Oh. Or how completely amazing the cookies my roomie is baking smell. They’re chocolate chip cherry oatmeal, or something like that. And they’re just out of the oven, at least the first tray. OMG.
I also asked a couple of people to look over SHARDS for me. So I’m supposed to be editing the first chapter and emailing that to them, hopefully today or tomorrow. It involves shifting some things around, clarifying some things, adding some things, slightly altering Calanthe’s mindset…anyway. I’m excited. It’s exciting. Yay. Excitement.
And…my other roommate (the not cookie-baking one) is cleaning. Again. So I’m probably going to relocate so I can get something productive done instead of feeling like I’m in his way…
Currently Listening To: Carolina Liar – “When You Are Near”
*Quoted from the Washington State K-12 Social Studies Learning Standards, published in May 2008 by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction