Continuing: Collections of a Middle Aged, Middle Income, Middle School Teacher
Story #2: How old people will use cursive to take over the world!
It’s happening. My evil plan to take over the world is taking shape and it’s going to be glorious. I know you’re sitting on the edge of your seat wondering how you can get in on this gig, but be patient. I’ll get to that.
It’s the end of the school year in Texas. I have taught everything the state requires me to teach. I went on a journey with my student starting in 1607 Jamestown and we ended up in the South during Reconstruction in 1877. It’s been a long year. The students took the state required STAAR test so they can show just how much I taught them and just how much they don’t remember. Now I can put my evil plot into action.
Because I don’t like chaos and we have to “keep the kids busy” until the last day of school next Thursday, I’ve decided to do a 20th century project with my students. Basically, I’ve come up with 30, of what I consider to be, the most important events that took place in the 20th century. Events that shaped the nation we now live in. Kitty Hawk. The Great Depression. Invasion of Poland by Hitler. America entering WWII. Korea. Vietnam. Assassinations of JFK and MLK. The Persian Gulf War and 9/11. The kids each received a topic and have to do a little research. Nothing too difficult. Tell me who, what, when, where, why and how. I gave them a sheet to complete this research and expect them to turn it in with their finished product, which is a puzzle piece. Then we will put the puzzle together. It’s a puzzle of the United States thus showing the kids how each event “shaped” our nation.
I know. Great idea. But please, hold your applause and ooos and ahhhs ‘til the end.
The day that I handed out topics, Gerald wasn’t at school. So, I took his research paper and wrote down his topic. Nothing unusual. I do it all the time when kids are absent. Their work is waiting for them when they get back.
The next day when Gerald returned to school, everyone was working on their research and about half way through the period, he walks up to my desk.
“Yes, Gerald?”, I ask.
“Miss, I don’t know what to do.”
“Oh! I’m sorry. I gave you an event that took place in the 20th century and you need to research it. Tell me who, what, when, where, why and how. Answer the questions on the back and then complete your puzzle piece.”
“Yeah!”, he says. “I get that part, but I don’t know what topic you gave me.”
“Well, it’s written right there where it says topic to be researched.”
I’m puzzled at this point. He is holding the paper in his hand. I can clearly see that I’ve written everything he needs on his paper. What am I missing? But alas, Gerald is still looking at me like a dear in the headlights.
“Yes, ma’am. I can see that, but what does it say? Can you write it in English?”
English? He wants me to write the topic down in English. I don’t know what to say. I don’t speak another language. I don’t even speak a little bit of another language. Well, that’s not true, I live in Texas, but this kid SPEAKS English.
“What do you mean, write it in English? I did write it in English.”
And this is where I decided me and a few select others can be the real Pinky and the Brain.
“Well, you wrote it in cursive. I don’t understand cursive, so I need you to write it in the kind of English I know how to read.”
The kind of English he knows how to read. Are there different “kinds” of English? Was I sick that day of elementary school?
“Gerald. What kind of English is that? The kind you can read?”
I am genuinely interested.
“You know Miss, the print kind.”
BOOM! That’s it.
I’ve always wanted to take over the world and it seems the way to do it is to write everything in cursive. It’s a secret code we old people can use and we don’t have to put forth that much effort. It’ll be so simple. Those youngins won’t know what hit ’em!