Firefighting with Revolutionary War Pioneers

March 28, 2007 at 12:37 pm 2 comments

I have heard not one but TWO references to firefighting today, both of which I found interesting.

One was from a student teacher on our campus who is having to do a 45-minute lesson on fire safety with a group of 4-year-olds.  FORTY-FIVE MINUTES!  With FOUR-YEAR-OLDS!!  This is why I teach high school.

The other came from a colleague a few minutes ago.  On our campus, we pass out some kind of grade report (either progress report or report card) every three weeks.  So for quite a few of my students, today was their 9th time this year to have a failing grade (or five…or six…).  Anyway, I asked this particular colleague, “Is this a normal 5th-six-weeks thing?  Do they tend to slack off at this point in the school year?”  And he responded by telling me that he has noticed a trend with his students over the years: when a student fails a class, they concentrate on that class and consequently, their other grades slip.  Next time around, they have a higher grade in the class they were failing, but now they’re failing a different class.  As he put it, “they’re putting out fires.”

It was an interesting observation – and a great metaphor – but the more I think about it, the more I think that maybe this behavior is somehow correlated with the “bill cycling” we see in low-income households.  After you’ve paid the rent, bought food, etc. and you’re left with $20 to pay the bills….  You end up paying the phone bill now, but the electric bill won’t get taken care of until your next payday – and neither will be paid again for 90 days, because you also have to take care of the water bill and the cable bill.

My argument is a little convoluted, but I think you get the point.  It’s crisis management; it’s living paycheck to paycheck.  It’s slightly foreign to me, but totally normal for many (if not most) of my kids.  It’s just a way of life.

Second point: Did you know James Otis was a “pioneer of the American Revolution“?  Another colleague of mine is helping her daughter research this man for a school social studies project.  Can we talk about how everything I know about James Otis I just learned – and I mean just learned – from Google and Wikipedia?  Which, in my mind, begs the question, “Do students really need to do big research projects about him?”

Please don’t make me write another post by commenting about how much you love James Otis and how important his contributions were to American independence.  Consider it a rhetorical question. 🙂

One last thing: I recently read this very fragmented post and loved it!  This is the video that it references toward the beginning.


Entry filed under: Education.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Wesley Fryer  |  March 28, 2007 at 5:25 pm

    Sorry for the fragmented post, but glad you found it worthwhile! Thanks for locating Guido’s excellent standup routine on YouTube! 🙂

  • 2. Check out this podcast! « The Other Side of the Desk  |  April 2, 2007 at 11:44 am

    […] 2nd, 2007 by theothersideofthedesk Last week, I referenced a post by Wesley Fryer that contained his notes from a keynote session in San Antonio.  I was […]

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