Wednesday, November 30, 2011

memorable (transformative?) education experiences

A recent issue of Oxford American was their Education issue, and, as usual, it had some good articles for blog inspiration, general consideration and passing time on car trips. For unknown reasons, maybe just because we travel a lot on weekends, whenever I pick up a new issue of OA Hubby and I are scheduled to hit the road. So, I read the essays and articles and tidbits from the magazine, and it passes a lot of time quite pleasantly.

There were several great pieces in the Education issue, but the one that caught my eye was the "100 Most Transformative Moments in the Classroom" by James Whorton, Jr. So Hubby and I, from the same high school, started recounting some of our favorite classroom moments. Despite attending the same high school, our memories were different, but for the most part they fell more into the space of "memorable" classroom experiences with the "transformative" part up for debate.
I'll share some here from high school but also from other educational places, spaces, and dates.
  • 10th grade French, Mrs. G - right before lunch, twirled her pen in her ear and licked the top. (I don't think that's a delicacy!)
  • Elementary school, Homeschool - using dinner time to memorize the capitals of all the states and compete with my siblings. When we learned the 50 capitals, we started memorizing the colors of the states on the map.
  • First semester teaching at university, Contemporary International Conflict - student quoted Yoda on her final paper.
  • Same semester, same class, first week or so - Getting so tongue-tied, confused and embarrased that I dismissed the class early with promises of a bit more composure at the next class.
  • Senior year in high school, American Sign Language class with future sister-in-law - as we went around the class each Monday signing about what we did over the weekend, she kept asking/signing "Who did you go with?"
  • Volleyball coach interrupting AP Government to demand a kid in front of me go get a desk for me to prop my sprained ankle on - we had a rival game that night, priorities!
  • Home Ec teacher talking smack about home schooled kids only to give my friend and I (both home schooled up to middle school) the choice location in class because she trusted us and thought we were good kids. Little did she know...muahahaha.
  • Undergraduate graduation - Chatting with family in gym seats before the ceremony and then ripping my gown when I stood to leave. Not to worry, mom found a staple gun. Keepin' it classy. Also proof that you can't learn everything in a classroom.
  • Graduate graduation - Well, a small group played the "bowl" while we entered and then cleansed the space and the speaker "chanted", but all I heard were the eyes of my family rolling into the back of their heads, my grandma snorting, and my middle sister whispering "Am I doing this right? My happy space is a karate studio kicking someone in the head?"
  • Getting schooled by a five-year-old in France when I realized I didn't know the French word for "Frog."
  • Telling my instructor in Germany and another student that "I don't know my height in kilometers." I think my German was correct though.
  • Senior year in high school, College English, Mrs. B's introduction to the class: "I want you to graduate and not be able to ever watch another movie or read another book without analyzing it the whole time you're watching/reading it."
  • Junior or Senior year in high school, Sociology class, Mrs. B (different) shouting "Yellow! Yellow!" to get us to sit down, only explaining afterwards that she was referring to the color-coded classroom rules of conduct on her cabinet. (Sometimes I think we were her giant experiment)
  • My advisor in college looking askance at me when I announced I wanted to graduate in three years and then proceeding to outline how I was going to do that and what questions I needed answered. Her patience and support were absolutely essential. God bless Dr. H!
  • Graduate school, after a class-simulation of a Track 2 diplomatic intervention, a classmate from Colombia remarked: "It was interesting to me that you calmed the group's concerns by saying the police had it under control and were providing information. In many countries, that would not be reassuring." Wow - yep, it was my first instinct - how fascinating culture, history and life is and how much there is to learn.
What educational experiences stick out most in your mind?

1 comment:

  1. Some of these had me laughing out loud. Very funny!