“No I’m not wastin’ your time. I’m tellin’ ya what you need to do. You want kids to come into your class; you want ’em to get excited for this? You gotta come in here; you gotta make ’em excited. You want a kid to change & start doing’ better you gotta touch his freakin’ heat. You can’t expect him to change if all ya do is just tell ‘im.”
It’s going viral. A precious 1 minute, 27 seconds that says it all. Watch it in full screen.
Saw this the first time late last night, about 8 hours ago. Had about 27K views and now, over 60K—with a 60:1 ratio of likes to dislikes—from 28 lazy and worthless teachers, administrators and union officials, probably.
My 6th grade teacher wife, Beatrice, loved it. Aaron, her 1st-year principal and longtime friend and co-teacher will love it too. They’re running an experimental school with an all handpicked staff of the best teachers in the district, where learning is project driven. Their most recent was a restaurant design project (this is most of what they do…projects that integrate all the things needed to accomplish it: like readin’, writin’ & ‘rithmatic). They split into groups, about 8 or 10 groups in all, and had to come up with a complete business plan: theme, design, layout, menu, pricing…everything you’d need to do and accomplish in reals lifes, to get a restaurant idea off the ground. She’s there to facilitate things, including having experts come in to give the kids lessons on the process. Plus, they all have iPads and MacBooks and unfettered access to the web, and Google and Wikipedia get used profusely in the class. Beatrice has one of those smart whiteboards where the chalkboard used to be, that projects her own Mac onto it, and the computer can be controlled from right there in front of everyone.
The project was so successful that each group did a whole 1-table mockup of their restaurants—including an architectural model of the entire restaurant—and the school conducted an open house. 100% of parents showed up. Most of these are Mexican and Vietnamese immigrants (not a single white kid in the class), and the parents were overjoyed. They’re engaged, because they see in just under a year how the school has been transformed: from the worst in the district to one that has teachers from other schools and administrators from other districts showing up every day to see what all the rumbling is about.
I’m so proud of my wife. It’s her 30th year and she literally cannot wait to get to school every single day. She could retire now and get something like 70% of her pay (CA public employee pensions are insane). She’d rather teach her kids every day for 30 cents on the dollar. She has no plans of quitting any time soon.
…And guess what I did this morning? As she was getting ready to head out? Mapped out her lesson plan for the whole day. See, yesterday—and this is how things often roll—she asked kids what they wanted to learn about. “Legends” was the consensus and so they did. What she found is that it ended up being a kid-driven lesson on superstitions (many of them Mexican), and that the kids believe these things because their parents do, and so on down the line. She was trying to explain to them how these aren’t literally true, but at most based on a few grains of truth that then get blown out of proportion. But she wan’t satisfied, so I lent a hand this morning.
Within a few minutes and the help of Google, she has all the material she needs for today. Today, her 6th graders get a lesson in mass hysteria and popular delusions and the madness of crowds. In the end, I told her that what she needs to convey to them is that it’s true, “they can believe whatever they want,” but that what that really means is that they get to be as stupid—or as smart—as they want. That’s the true implication, and they’re better off choosing to be smart.
…It’s a small world. I had put that video out on my FTA Facebook Page last night and this morning, here’s a comment from Anna Holland, Jeff Bliss’ 6th grade teacher.
Well, just listening to Jeff in that video makes obvious that he had some care and real educatin’ come his way from a few good ones. It doesn’t even take many, and now he’s all set to give his own high school “teacher” a real & righteous lesson in the art of teachin’.
In other news, here’s a TED talk that may be worth a watch, Geoffrey Canada: Our failing schools. Enough is enough!
It sure is.
Perhaps this offers a clue as to where the spark for real change and reform will come from: morally outraged children.
Update: Tod Robberson of the Dallas News (firstname.lastname@example.org) is quite a little fuckwit. How about click on the email link and tell him so? You’ll see I’ve even drafted your email for you, which you can edit any way you desire.
In the end, here’s what I wrote:
From: Richard Nikoley
Subject: Jeff Bliss
Date: May 10, 2013 1:11:04 PM PDT
Dear Mr. Robberson:
I’m responding to your opinion piece in the Dallas News in the matter of high school student Jeff Bliss (http://tinyurl.com/d5flmor) …Jesus, what an ignorant fuckwit you are, aren’t you? See here, and find out why. If you dare. See the other comments now piling up, too.
[link to this post]
Oh, and do note the comment from his 6th grade teacher on the FB page (highlighted in the post), and who also placed a comment in the blog post itself. I’m confident that most people of good will not only actually understand Mr. Bliss’ moral outrage, but would also agree that you need a lesson in news outlet opinion writing every bit as much as that teacher needed a lesson in actual teaching.
“The student was disrupting her class…” Indeed; and with moral standing, too. That’s something a fuckwit like you knows nothing about; and do you know why, Mr. Robberson? To an ignorant fuckwit like you, authority is the only valid standing, and anything that challenges it is “disruptive.” …Just like this email is disruptive of your waning, glory-days-long-gone perceived “authority” as a “newsman” working for a mainstream corp/state controlled media outlet.
And my blog post is surely disruptive; isn’t it, Mr. Robberson?
Well I—and the increasing millions who are not actually ignorant fuckwits—will say “let the celebration begin” and “Quicken the Disruption” (of fake, lazy, conventional “authority”).
You’re a dinosaur whose extinction is thankfully nigh, Mr. Robberson.
Lukewarm regards and have an ice day,
-Blogger-proprietor of the wildly popular Free the Animal
-Husband of 30-yr 6th grade teacher Beatrice, whose competent teaching is highlighted in that post as well