Wednesday, October 14, 2009
On Tuesdays and Fridays I pick up my daughter at school, take her to the diner, and then it's karate class, where she gets in touch with her inner dangerous woman. At the diner, I usually help her with her homework.
In my sordid past, before I discovered the wonders of ESL, I was an English teacher. I like English. I like reading, and I can't stop myself from writing. Still, some cruel English teacher gave my poor little girl The Most Tedious Assignment of All Time. My daughter didn't seem to mind. She's a math person anyway, so perhaps she expects English to be tedious.
She had an essay, and her assignment was basically to interpret and rewrite every single solitary sentence of it into four boxes, each representing a paragraph. The topic was light pollution ("LP" to my texting-frenzied child). Apparently there is too much light. The solution is to use less of it. Turn off your lights when you aren't using them. This concept was explained in five or six hundred words, and I got to examine each and every one.
If you want kids to hate reading, you can't do much better than this. I remember years of sitting through insipid English classes where my hippie teachers played Neil Young songs (you have to respect a man with a voice like that who makes a living singing) and asked us about the symbolism of the Little Cowgirl in the Sand. I was reading real books at the time, a lot of them, and would have loved to discuss literature.
Still, we never did anything quite as tedious as that exercise my little girl did in the diner. For her, everything is copasetic as long as she's eating chicken noodle soup. But I kind of dread going to open school and meeting the teacher who made her do that.
Maybe I'll wear dark glasses.