The Medieval Bestseller
I read it somewhere on the Internet...
Thursday, October 11, 2007

Here's what's supremely annoying: being turned down for a job you don't even want. This happened to me today, which I had suspected because I hadn't heard from the woman since Monday and I knew she'd be making her final choice. The thing is that I really did not want this job, so I was fully prepared to reject them. In actuality I should be just glad that the choice was mutual on both sides, but I think it's mostly just very irritating because I could have done that job and I could have done it well, but figured that they weren't able enough to keep me interested in them.

Why is it that looking for a job and dating are such similar activities?

In the past couple of weeks, I have come under the impression that my house must be infested by crickets. It seems as if it's the 11th biblical plague that just never got the press and has gone unobserved until now. Is anyone else in Burbank experiencing these crickets in biblical proportion? On a side note, like the poor seminarian I am, I had to google "biblical plagues" to figure out how many there were (I was thinking 12, but wasn't sure) and ran across this quiz that determines which biblical plague you are. I am a plague of boils [I'm scientific and well-meaning. I mean, no one's ever died from boils, right? I may be a little distant sometimes, but I'll erupt if you prod me too much."]. Fun, right?

Substitute teaching the 7th grade today was fun. First & second periods was CORE, where the assignment was a creative writing exercise on a favorite place. My favorite interaction from the period:

Me: [to the class] What is your favorite place, and why?
Student: Well, my second favorite place is New York because...
Me: Ok, so that's your second favorite, but what's your first favorite?
Student: Oh, I don't have a first favorite.
Me: ...Ok, so...you don't have a first favorite place, but you have a second favorite place???
Student: Right.

[fast forward 5 minutes, after more people have shared their favorite places]

Student: I want to change my favorite place to Las Vegas.
Me: Ok, so this is your first favorite place?
Student: No. I don't have a first favorite place.
Me: Um...ok.

Classic. Once they started writing their 400-500 word essay, one of the girls asked me something like, "Do you want us to write a paragraph on each sense?" (because I was telling them they had to explore all 5 senses when writing creatively so as to help the reader be able to experience the place without actually having to experience it). And I was like, "Well, I don't really care what your paragraphs are like. I mean, that's one way to do it, but it makes no difference to me how you separate your essays into paragraphs." And then it struck me - I was the "authority" to these kids and they really cared about how I wanted them to structure their essay. Weird.

Then we did a word search and a worksheet and, after lunch, I taught Algebra. Now I've always been good at and have enjoyed Algebra, but it's been a long time since I've done any formal math. So I open up strong with "Anyone have any questions about last night's homework?" Then about half the class protests, saying that the substitute yesterday didn't tell them they had any homework. The other half of the class, apparently, checked the website to see what their homework assignment was and did it. So then an argument erupted between the two halves and all of a sudden I said, "Look. Personally, I don't really care if you did your homework or not." Then I realized I probably shouldn't have said that, so I quickly followed it up with, "But if you don't do your homework, it will hurt you in the end and eventually you will have to pay someone a lot of money to do what you can't do. So let's figure out what you don't know how to do and learn how to do it." So then...
Student: I need help with #66 & #68.
Me: [opening up the teacher's manual and realizing that it's fairly incomprehensible in going into further detail about the lesson] Ok, the problem reads, "Write a 2x3 matrix." [a matrix? What the hell is a matrix??? I see an example of how it could be done, followed by the words, "this is just one of countless variations"...great.] [to the class] Ok, so who can tell me what a matrix is?
Another student who, all day long, had been giving me the impression that he is not a good student: I do! [I invite him up to the board to explain. He starts writing down this mathematical problem that, even with me not knowing what a matrix is, I can tell that this is an incorrect answer to the question.]
Me: Whereas you have added and subtracted the matrix problem you've put on the board, it's not really answering question #66. Give me a second to look over the section. [so I furiously and quickly read the section and come to no further understanding about what a matrix is, other than maybe it's a table with numbers in it, so then I explained the whole aspect of columns and rows and it all came into perspective for everyone.]

Seriously...who uses a matrix once 7th grade Algebra is over?

- Jenny, 10/11/2007 06:17:00 PM

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