Friday, October 10, 2008

I Get Schooled

Today we were writing about electric guitars, in response to a NYS Regents lecture about the history of the instrument. I'm actually interested in electric guitars and know a little bit about their history, but this particular lecture left me cold and the kids confused. There were lots of references to people like Jimi Hendrix (who was associated with a Gibson Flying V rather than his trademark Stratocaster) and Bob Dylan, which did little to tune my kids in.

Nonetheless, today I started reading a kid's paper, and found she had written the following:
For over hundreds of years during the 20th century Americans invented the electric guitar.

Sometimes when I really don't know what to say, I get this flustered look. I couldn't find words for several moments, and the girl (a very nice girl despite that sentence) began to give me instructions.

"Calm down, Mister. Take a deep breath. Count to ten. Do you want me to bring you some water?"

It took me longer than it normally would have to recover because I actually followed her instructions to the letter. Then I calmly asked her what a century was, which she knew, and asked her why she would have written such a thing.

She apologized and rewrote it into something comprehensible and coherent.

But I always feel like I must be off my game somehow when I unquestioningly take instructions from 16-year-old kids.
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