Monday, February 09, 2009

No pun intended

Meet the new board of education!!

(Okay--that pun was intended.)

Image found here.


Let's just dispense with the one patently-obvious question you are almost certainly going to ask by answering in this way: I don't know what the hell she was thinking.

I talked with my older daughter G. on the phone tonight, and she caught me up on all the goings-on at her school. But she led off our conversation with the pronouncement that she thinks her science teacher has gone crazy and proceeded to provide a fair amount of evidence that, even allowing for typical 8th-grader flights of hyperbole, I think would persuade most people who know how things should run in a school. I strongly suspect that she (the science teacher) will not be back in the fall. Well, neither will G., but that's because she'll be starting high school.

Wow. "High school." I just typed that.

Anyway. One of the more interesting pieces of evidence G. supplied was that this teacher, without parental or administrative knowledge, much less their approval, recently planned to have her classes build and then try out a bed of nails. Yes: I understand how beds of nails work. So, if you don't see what the big deal is, then envision middle-schoolers, with lots of sharp things and tools, building something like what you see in the picture. No approval. From anyone.

But never mind all that. You're reading about this at all because of the teacher's name:

Ms. Pierce.

UPDATE (Tuesday the 10th): So as to reassure my tens of readers, in these days of stimulus packages, that I don't just blindly assume that throwing lots of money at public schools will suddenly cause school district administrators to acquire Solomon-like powers of discernment, in this same conversation G. noted that her school has both cut "by half" (she says) the number of copiers and purchased and installed "several" flat-screen TVs in the school cafeteria.

Why is it that technology--or, more precisely, its acquisition--causes otherwise intelligent people entrusted with purchase orders to become glassy-eyed with desire and yet not think about, you know, how its acquisition will benefit teachers and/or students? Sometimes it actually does aid in learning, yes; sometimes, though, it turns us into bipedal raccoons.

4 comments:

Nick said...

...a piercing insight your daughter had.

R. Sherman said...

Stunned silence.

Cordelia said...

I hate to tell you, but Ms. Pierce is on the cutting edge (all puns intended). It is a well-known science experiment, acceptable for middle schoolers, though that group way prefers the rubber band cars that come later.
It can be real:
http://www.planet-scicast.com/experiment.cfm?cit_id=2752
or virtual: http://demonstrations.wolfram.com/BedOfNails/ (Slide the lever and see what happens).
Perhaps Ms. Pierce will be the one to relax on the bed when it is finished ? That would delight the students !

John B. said...

Cordelia,
Thanks for the links. What was more unnerving for me wasn't the "bed of nails" part--I agree that that holds a fair amount of scientific value, as my daughter agreed when she and I talked about it, but her having the kids build it themselves. It just seemed risky to me as someone who not only is a parent but can also remember what he and his contemporaries were like when they were in 8th grade (an unfortunate combination of hormone-addled silliness and carelessness).