Back to School

classroomYesterday I had the privilege of going back to school.  The first part of my morning landed me in 8th grade where I studied volcanoes and then “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere.”  Soon after that I was transferred to 1st grade where we studied greater than and less than.  Math has never been my strong point, so I was only mildly embarrassed when I read the math sentence backwards.  I discovered 1st graders are genuinely kind and didn’t mock me.  From 1st grade I quickly progressed to 5th grade where we spent an hour talking about the Industrial Revolution and Andrew Jackson.  I thought it quite interesting, a bit amusing and a tad sad when the Korean kids exclaimed Jackson’s greatness at some points, his villainy at others and called him “our president.”  I spent only an hour in Grade 5 before winding up in the Headmaster’s office.   Thankfully that was planned before I wound up at school yesterday.

So, what did I learn?  Well a few things . . .

1. Being a Non-American while following an American curriculum with an American teacher can lead to interesting points of identification.  I know from experience it’s difficult to always make the necessary distinctions when teaching multi-national high school students.  I’m sure it’s even harder at an elementary level.

2. I was not cut out to teach little kids.  Those first graders were adorable.  I’m sure if you look up “adorable” in the dictionary their picture will be there.  I was so impressed with the patience of their teacher and her wakefulness.  Moving at that pace on a daily basis while trying to communicate important concepts would have me fighting sleep regularly.

3. Workbooks can’t be relied on.  I’m a fairly intelligent person; I couldn’t discern all the right answers on the volcano worksheet because the information was ambiguous.  (Really—I was good at Earth Science back in the day.)

4. Kids need to be taught a little Boolean Logic.  It would make their on-line searches much more efficient.

5. There are a lot of amazing teachers who have given up good positions in their home countries to raise their own salaries, move overseas, and provide a good American education for expatriate families.

Photo courtesy of  Carlos Gustavo Curado

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7 Responses to “Back to School”

  1. LoriMMarch 11, 2010 at 1:23 pm #

    I could use some Boolean Logic training myself. Oh, I’ve pretty much figured it out but I always wondered how I could google even more efficiently… 🙂

  2. WaltMarch 11, 2010 at 2:50 pm #

    Wow-8th,1st,5th all in one day. No wonder you wound up in the headmasters office before the day was over. Did they ever decide on an appropiate class???

    Amazing the non-English kids can handle American studies.

    Sounds like you had a lot of fun!

  3. RuthMarch 11, 2010 at 3:08 pm #

    So I’m ignorantt – at least of tjis, what is Boonlean logic???

  4. SoulMarch 12, 2010 at 2:00 am #

    I’m with Ruth. What’s Boolean logic? And where are you? And how are you?

  5. SherylMarch 12, 2010 at 12:12 pm #

    Basically Boolean Logic is what allows you to google with using the + sign or – sign without typing out whole sentences. On top of that, it’s fun to say!

    Soul, I’m in Spain till Monday. I’m doing pretty well—tired, but good.

  6. SherylMarch 12, 2010 at 12:13 pm #

    I think they decided the appropriate class is not at their school!

  7. SherylMarch 12, 2010 at 12:14 pm #

    I have complete confidence you’re googling better than an 8th grader, Lori!

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