First the good news.
Today, I taught the Quadratic Formala… that’s not the good news. I taught it by humming “Pop Goes the Weasel” all period. Then I put a slide on the wall with the quadratic formula.
Intimidating, right? Then I sang the Quadratic Formula song, which sounds like this:
Two out of my three classes burst into applause. I’m feeling pretty good.
Now the bad news: our kids are dumb.
The future leaders of the world are—right now—not too bright.
Someday, they will be presidents and doctors and professors, but now they are about as sharp as … a bowling pin.
If you’re a parent… well, I’d say that I’m sorry. But odds are that you already know; you can’t leave them alone with a sharp object.
In my class, we do a Jeopardy-question-of-the-day, using my Jeopardy day-calendar. Here’s today’s question:
This country’s largest lake shares the name with the country; the second-largest lake shares the name with the capital city.
In my class, I expect chaos for a couple minutes as kids yell stuff. I make a point to only call on students with hands raised and give props to only those students if they guess correctly.
Inevitably, however, students spew stupidity anyway.
Mr. Vaudrey: That’s not a country.
Mr. Vaudrey: Guys. That is also not a country.
Zach: Oh, Lake Perris!
Mr. Vaudrey: Guys! United States is a country, California is a state, Los Angeles is a county, Moreno Valley is a city.
Antonio: Wait, I thought Los Angeles was a city?
Susana: We’re in Riverside County, right?
TJ: No! Riverside is a city.
Mr. Vaudrey: Yes, and it’s also a county. Riverside is a city and a county. [Deep breath] Okay, think of it this way: Mexico is a country, Michoacan is a state.
Alejandra: Don’t you mean Michigan?
Mr. Vaudrey: No! I meant Michoacan! I would’ve said Michigan if I meant Michigan!
Alejandra: Well, you pronounce words funny.
Alex: Oh! Is it Kentucky?
Mr. Vaudrey [grabs two fistfuls of hair, through gritted teeth] Nope. Also a state.
Zach: That’s a continent!
Daria: …wait… then… the country that contains Europe.
Ryan: Oh, that’s Africa!
That’s right. We’ll be retiring in a world that our students will be governing.
I sure hope they can use the big-boy scissors by then.
And for the record. It’s Nicaragua.