Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The Pain You Feel Is The Ignorance Leaving Your Body

It's a painful week in English II.

We're kicking off every class with our Daily Grammar and there's all sorts of new difficulty in the week's sentence

Wally was eager to prove that his dog Blue was different than the other hunting dogs.

If you're keeping track, there are predicate adjectives afoot! Infinitive phrases lurk!! Beware the verbals, kids!!!

We're doing it. I love this grammar program, but we're covering more grammar in a week than these kids are used to seeing in a whole year and it hurts.

After that, we are working through the narrative essay.

I've never taught with such resistance. Oh! How the children groan! How their eyes roll back in their heads as they moan that they'll never use this! I smile and breathe deep and persist.

So I've gone to sports metaphors. It's funny to hear me resort to this if you know me at all. I have never played a sport, I've actually spent a great deal of effort avoiding such activity. I am spectacularly unathletic. Still, I go on with references to "mental toughness" and urging them not to run away from the pain. We speak so often of eating the elephant one bite at a time that my kids wonder how elephant meat actually tastes (anyone know, by the way?).

Looking for help, I call upon my most resistant student. He's also a football player and is presently swept up in the anticipation of next season.

"Robespierre" (no, his name isn't Robespierre, but isn't it funny to think
about it?) "Robespierre, you all talk about this in football, don't you?

"Yeah...yeah!" says Robespierre, finally catching on. "Coach says that the
game is 70% mental and 40% physical!"

Sure, kid, I'll take it.


Jim said...

You can be forgiven for thinking that Robey misquoted his coach, but he probably didn't.

One of the things you've missed out on, dear Educat, by avoiding sports for so long, is the notion that you are supposed to give 110% in every game.

It is likely that the 70/40 split is exactly what that coach was talking about.

I am sure you can figure out a way to use even this tidbit of sports knowledge in the instruction of your charges.


40 said...

As I am about to teach the French Revolution, your student's name jumped out at me.

As a former coach, I too use the sports catch phrases often. But, mostly to keep students minds going. Many kids today relate to that 'arena' (no pun intended).