If you’ve ever seen the movie version of Chicago, you might remember the scene where Richard Gere is defending Rene Zelweger in the courtroom. He knows that he will have to do some verbal maneuvering, and he expresses this by announcing that he is about to do “a tap dance”. Most days in the classroom, this is how I feel.
My tap dance is the careful question-and-answer in each class session. This is the pivotal moment where information is either solidified or forgotten for many of my students, so it’s important that I handle it well. Part of Friday’s session went something like this:
me: when the president appoints a judge, who has to then approve the nomination?
(sequence of answers):
“the president!” (really?)
me: what part?
“the legislative branch!!”
me: congress IS the legislative branch.
To be fair, there are far too many synonyms to keep up with. It is also beyond me how anyone ever learns the difference between nation and state. I still have students who think that Obama can decide what they eat for lunch, or that the governor can send troops to Afghanistan. It’s a process.
Meanwhile in the administrative world, my assistant principal reminded us last week that it was time to change out the bulletin boards. Each quarter every teacher has an assigned bulletin board that we have to decorate. I hate this with every fiber in my being. I decided to get mine finished the afternoon before our day off, so that I wouldn’t have to make the drive in to school. Imagine my surprise when I received an email informing me that “background paper and borders must be changed out each quarter. They often become faded over time, and it is necessary to put up fresh paper.” After making the 30-minute drive, spending an hour undoing and re-doing my work, I received another email on Friday evening. While the principal “love, love, loves my board”, she notice some “curling” around the edge of one of the posters. I’ll need to fix it first thing Monday morning.
I’m glad we’re keeping the main thing the main thing.