Sunday, November 11, 2012
A FEW THOUGHTS ON THE TEACHING BUSINESS, THE EIGHT-FINGERED CRIMINAL'S SON AND THE SPIRIT GUIDE BAR
A FEW THOUGHTS ON THE TEACHING BUSINESS:
I assigned homework to my junior English class. Just about half of the students complied and turned in their wok the next day.
This was nothing new, but I felt compelled to ask the girl from Germany, the best writer in my class, "What percentage of students in Germany don't do their homework assignments?"
"I don't understand the question, Mr. Snyder."
She looked confused.
"If I gave a homework assignment to ten German students, how many wouldn't do it?"
"Mr. Snyder," she said, " I know what percentages are, but why wouldn't we do our homework?"
"You mean everybody did their homework at your school in Germany."
"Of course we did. Failing to do our homework could bring our grades down. Low grades would damage our chances of being accepted into a good college."
For or five knuckleheads responded by laughing and making cracks like:
"Yeah, but you guys don't have fun like we do, you just go home and study all the time."
How am I supposed to respond to this mentality?
This little incident took place a year ago. I thought back to a scene in the movie Teachers, a film that inspired me so many years ago. Nick Nolte played an idealistic teacher at a chaotic inner city school. Some juvenile delinquent pulled the fire alarm, students were running in every direction and things were out of control. A burnt out old teacher said to Nolte, "You know, half of these kids won't even go back to class. "To which Nolte idealistically replied, "You're right, but half of them will."
I gave a home work to a class of 42 students last week. Ten completed the assignment.
This is just one of a boatload of reasons I'm not sure I can stick with the teaching business.
ON WRITING BOOKS:
I published a book last year. It's called The Eight-Fingered Criminal's Son. People seem to think it's nostalgic and funny. You can order a copy by clicking here: http://www.amazon.com/The-Eight-Fingered-Criminals-William-Snyder/dp/1468142585
My new book is novel called The Spirit Guide Bar. It's about a burnt out teacher who hikes to the top of South Mountain in Phoenix, Arizona where he embarks on a transcendentalist journey. The tired educator interacts with likes of Ernest Hemingway, Ulysses S. Grant, Carl Sagan, Richard Feynman, and the Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz. The book will be available in March.
The photograph above depicts South Mountain Park.
Posted by #167 Dad at 7:10 AM