03 March 2008

Monday Miscellany: Pennies, Epics, and Partisan Teachers

I left school a little early on Friday so I could cash in the high school's Pennies for Patients coins. I fed coins into the CoinStar machine at Kroger for an hour. By the time I was done, my back was aching, my fingers were blackened from many filthy lucres, at least four other CoinStar customers had turned away upon seeing my haul, and $1,320 worth of coins had been donated to Pennies for Patients.

One day, after the 117th time of claiming to be bored, my eldest son was instructed to write a story by his mother. The story concerned an epic underwater battle between a chicken and a spidershark. The sentence construction of the second sentence made me laugh out loud. Here is the entire story for you enjoyment with original spelling and grammar preserved:

1 Day a chicken went under water and rose and sew a spidershark and aimd at the spidershark and hott [hit] the spidershark and the spidershark ate the speer! And back and forth it was. The SS [spidershark] shoot it from it's moth [mouth] soon the SS was dead chicken got a gold metel. The End.

When I first started teaching government I decided to teach the subject as neutrally as possible while attempting to challenge the beliefs of my students. I did not think it would be enlightening to merely parrot those students who agreed with me, nor did I think it would be fair to only attack the beliefs of those students with whom I disagreed. My stance on this generally drives my students crazy. They want to know. Earlier this year a student tried to draw me out by claiming, "You're a liberal. All teachers are liberal, right?" Certainly the most vocal of the teachers at my new school are strong partisan democrats, but I refused to fall into his trap. Early this semester a student asked me why so many people hate Hillary Clinton. I spent about twenty minutes discussing partisanship, politics in America, the history of the Clinton family, and the importance of judging people and issues for yourself. That night she left this comment on the class blog:

I just wanted to say that our discussion today in class gave me a whole new perspective on politicians. Thanks Mr. C!
Last spring, I enthusiastically supported Clinton for president (because I really wanted a woman president) however when I shared my enthusiasm with some of my fellow students and teachers, they showed an immense dislike and maybe even hatred towards the woman. Therefore, I began to falter and came to really dislike her too. I had no idea why I disliked her, but just because everyone seemed to, I did too. They said she was a witch and other bad stuff and so I thought so too, which is pretty shallow. But then again, I only supported her in the beginning because she was a woman.
But after today, I stopped 'conforming' and decided to actually think about some of my beliefs and decisions. Instead of listening to other people's opinions about the person, I've actually started to look into the different policies and beliefs the candidates supported and etc. Hmm, I kind of feel smarter now. :P
Thanks again~


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