Sunday, October 21, 2007

But Will it be on The Test?

Eight out of ten respondents said, "Go, granny!" Two said, "Nice try, but try again."

Both of the two are of grandmotherly age, so may have been biased (so much for anonymity -- but both emailed me with other thoughts, so they're the ones who pulled back the curtain...just in case anyone else out there is concerned). Of the two, one was more concerned about the content of my response than about my moniker. The other suggested 'Aunt Luigi.' Now there's a thought...

In any case, I think I'll stick with Granny Annie for a bit and see what happens. You'll hear from her from time to time and, if her audience begins to demand it, she may even acquire her own space. We'll see.

Dear Granny Annie,

My teacher makes us read the whole chapter even though only part of it is going to be on the test. She won't even tell us which parts. This isn't fair! Why should we spend time reading stuff we don't need to know? And even the parts that are on the test are a waste of time. Who cares when some stupid battle was fought? Besides which, if I really need to know, I can look it up on the Internet.

Disgusted Student

Dear Disgusted,

Ahh...I see your point. The Internet has made learning obsolete and there are so many other things one could be doing besides reading, studying, and going to school.

Such as?

Before you answer that, stop and think. Do you get more done when you are on your own or when someone else is telling you what to do?

I know what tends to happen to me when I am on my own with no schedule, no assignments. My cell phone alarm goes off, but I roll over in bed for "just a few more minutes." An hour later I wander into the kitchen for a bowl of cereal and the morning newspaper (yes, some people still read one). By the time I get dressed and sit down to my computer, it's almost noon. The whole morning is gone while I puttered around.

But...if I have to meet someone or have a deadline? Things are quite different then! My cell phone alarm goes off, and I get up. If I have to do so, I can be out the door within half an hour. If I'm working at home that day, I get to my computer and start working. And, yes, sometimes I look things up on the Internet, but...

But how would I even know to look something up to check the date or the spelling or whatever if I'd never heard of it?

Think of your teacher as your brain's personal trainer. You know. Like what a physical trainer does to help an athlete build muscle and endurance.

"OK, now, we're going to start with this 3-lb. weight, which seems light enough, but I want you to do 15 reps of bicep curls with an overhead lift and a tricep drop, then back up and down. Got it? Good, let's go ... and one-two-three-four and two-two-three-four and ...."

Crunches and lunges and kicks and squats. Heavier weights. More repetitions. Longer workouts.

"OK, now, we're going to start with a five-page chapter, which doesn't seem very long, but I want you to pick out the important people and dates and events, write them down and memorize them. Got it? Good, let's go ... 1914-1918-World War I-Woodrow Wilson-League of Natons, 1929-Stock Market Crash, 1930s-Depression Era-Herbert Hoover-FDR, 1939-1945-World War II..."

Times tables and names of planets and punctuation rules. Harder problems. More information. Longer chapters.

An athlete does it because he/she never knows what's going to happen in the game. You have to be prepared for anything ... ready to sprint, leap, dodge, catch.

Your teacher makes you do it because he or she knows you never know what's going to happen in life. You have to be prepared for anything ... ready to figure, know, explain, understand.

The more an athlete's body is conditioned by training, the more he or she can adapt to what happens in the game.

The more your mind is conditioned by training, the better you'll be able to adapt to what happens in life. That's the real test.

But...deep down I think you already knew that.

That's OK. We all need to be reminded. Including ...

Granny Annie

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