The One Right Answer

Planning life out just doesn’t work. It was on the calendar to walk the dog or go to the gym, but by the time the plumber was done with the garbage disposal (now I can grind up my hand, no problem), I was too exhausted to move. If I sit down at all, for more than 20 minutes and a cup of tea and a snack, I’m a goner. I won’t leave the house. Part of the problem is work is hard right now…I’m trying to get kids to problem solve, to think critically. I tell them they can’t google the answers for what I’m asking them, so what do they do? Google the damn things. Then say “I don’t get it!” because they can’t get an answer. Engage the brain, my pretties. Today I’m ramping it up even higher. The kids who do well are the creative thinkers, those who can think outside the box. We train students with state testing to look for The One Right Answer. Ironic. Isn’t that how we try to live all our lives? The One Right Person. The One Right Answer. No such thing. And even the support teacher wants me to give her “The Master” so she can check the resource kids’ answers. There is no One Right Answer. I will accept any claim as long as the student supports it with evidence and reasoning. I’m looking forward to some of the answers…there are some bright kids in there, and they’re not always the ones with A’s. The ones who turn in all their homework. But I don’t know if I can get those kids to Write It Down. They hate that part.

So yesterday I had to push them out of their boxes. I’m watching them google “How do I know if I have cells?” and I’m cracking up. Then they’re looking up the traits of zombies, which might help them today, but was totally useless yesterday. I didn’t ask you to prove he was a zombie. I asked you to determine if he had the characteristics of a living thing. Today I push them further out. Then tomorrow I give them an assignment with no example, no Please Ms. Nida Can I See the Sample So I Can Just Copy It? I feel like an evil doctor, chortling in the corner. In some of the slower classes, there’s a chorus of “I don’t get it!” (don’t get WHAT, I ask…the answer, they want to say but know I won’t respond well to that. Use your brain. It’s not in the book.) and “I need help!” (use your table brains, use google, use YOUR brain. This is a code phrase for “Give me the answer.”). Hard work for me to supervise this, to push the kids who don’t want to, who want it to be easy. I can’t just assign it and sit down and grade. That’s not how my job rolls.

So yesterday, I graded stuff online. And then the girlchild Facetimed me for a couple of hours on the Hardy-Weinberg equation…which is why there’s stuff like this all over the couch this morning…

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My brain hurts. But it was nice to see her and 17 of her closest friends. I was joined by all three animals…cats sitting on opposite sides at all times…

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They just can’t be friendly. By the end of the evening, Midnight had knocked all the books on the floor. She kept the Kleenex. No one knows why she does what she does.

I did finally get to pin and start sewing binding. By then, I had watched the Dr. Who episode with Van Gogh, which made me cry. There was no explanation of why he still killed himself, although I can guess. But a tearjerker…for the hormonally challenged.

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Miles and miles to go…miles and miles to go…

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