Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

I would like to call your attention to a link down in my fun links section that is particular good, imho.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid is essentially a fictional journal / blog of a 7th grader. It is hilarious and makes lots of good points.

For example, if you read next week's entries, you can get a classic example of a bad teacher. His English teacher reminds me of my 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Moody. She is just about the only teacher in my whole K-12 career that made me mad. Every year she read Little House on the Prairie Books to her classes. Instead of reading to us, she usually just complained to us about how bad we were so that she never had time to read us. Excuse me, we're third graders - that's your classroom management problem and telling us about it does nothing to solve it. Then, one day a parent came to talk to her during class. So she left the class area into the hallway. I can't say she left the classroom, because we were an open concept school and we didn't have classrooms. All third grade classes were in one large open area divided only by cubby shelves. Same for every other grade except Kindergarten, which actually had two separate rooms. But kindergarten had some overlapping space - namely the centers (fun!) and the pit - a literal pit in the ground where we met for story time, etc. The library also had a pit. How I loved the pit - it was just cool! In kindergarten, the pit was associated with the filly milly box, a box that if we were good we got to reach into and pull out a prize to take home - like pink plastic butterfly magnets or spider rings!
I guess people think the open concept is weird, but having grown up in it we never found a problem with it and liked it. We were not distracted by the other classes but we did know when they had specials like art or music and when their lunch and recess times were and if they got in really big trouble. But other than that, we were too busy in our classes to know what they were doing. It did kind of unite us - we thought of ourselves as a grade as a whole instead of a bunch of separate classes exclusively. I'm a person who likes to see the big picture - so I liked knowing what was going on in the other classes yet it never distracted me. At the same time, that is why I like living in Colorado - you look outside and you can actually SEE WHERE YOU ARE and where you are going - not like those annoying places out east where you'd need to burn down a forest to get a lay of the land. I feel claustrophobic driving on those highways out there where there is nothing to look at but the road and even then you can't see but 400 yards of road in front of you because it turns every few seconds.

Back to Ms. Moody and the parent. While she left, we had nothing to do. So, we talked. We were not way out of hand, we were not throwing things, we were not out of our seats. Well, when she came back she threw a hissy fit and went on a tirade about how awful we were for talking while she was talking to the parent. Then she did the dumbest thing imaginable. She asked third graders to tattle on each other and tell her who were the main culprits. Well, duh, we were all talking. But, no, she let people raise their hands, she picked some of them to call on, and then that kid got to tell one someone and say they were talking. And once your name was given up by someone, you were not allowed to give any names to her because that would be retaliation. Obviously, my name was given or I probably wouldn't remember this at the age of 30. There were kids who had been talking more loudly or whatever who did not get called. Those of us who were given up had to stay after school, where she went on about how bad we were and how we would lose centers and recess for a week and how we needed to write letters to our parents about what we did. Then she looked right at me, singled me out, and said how she knew my mother and knew how disappointed my mother would be. I was probably in tears by this point. When I met my mom later, I told her what happened and she thought exactly what I thought, that it was ridiculous. I didn't get angry until later because up to that point in my life teachers could do no wrong. I had always practically worshipped my teachers and been a really good student. I stayed that way, but she became an exception to the rule in my book. The statement she said to me about my mother was totally false. She didn't really know my mother and I knew my mother would not think it was that big of a deal and be disappointed in me, and she wasn't.

So go read Diary of a Wimpy Kid starting here Day 86
to read about a Ms. Moody - like teacher, then if you like it you may find yourself going back to read from the first day of the journal.

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