Ring, Ring, Why Don’t You Give Lee A Call?

11 Jan

I always learn quite a bit from my students.  This fall quarter, I learned more than previous quarters–more, in fact, than I might have liked.  I learned how to not smack students (rhetorically or otherwise) who really deserved it.  I realized, for the 900th time, that teaching is 98% acting, facilitated by frequently telling yourself, “I feel good, I feel great, I feel wonderful, IfeelgoodIfeelgreatIfeelwonderful, baby-steppin’ it into the classroom, baby-stepping’ it into the classroom.”  But here are the best things I learned:

The Cherokee traveled by chariot on the Trail of Tears.

The Pink Panthers were a militant group from the 1960s.

Jacob Riis was one of the ‘founding fathers of flash photography.’

We’ve had more presidents than we realized and some of our actual presidents did more than they thought:  Henry Clay finally achieved his presidential dreams by winning an election, Hairy Truman ended World War II, Thomas Jefferson founded the Confederacy, and Richard Nixon enacted sweeping civil rights reform (or was that his plumbers?) and somehow didn’t illegally wiretap himself while doing so.

Reconstruction led to the Civil War (the South told you so, you just didn’t listen).

Sometimes, during the Civil War, Mary Chesnut listened in on her husband’s phone conversations.  She was also an abolitionist (wherever did she find the time between snooping on James’ convos and organizing those tea parties?).

Franklin Douglass wrote an important book about slavery.

And after a particularly ugly day in the classroom, I also learned I do have, on the whole, the best students ever, even if they think I should name the baby either Opechancanough or Tecumseh.


One Response to “Ring, Ring, Why Don’t You Give Lee A Call?”

  1. Jonathan Ponder January 12, 2012 at 4:03 am #

    I’m on board with Tecumseh as the baby’s name. Or Hairy.

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