Sunday, August 17, 2008

An interesting read

Kristie works with a man who is the director of a cooper center that seeks to distribute funds to teachers and other groups. Kristie told him that I was a teacher and he gave her the book Entertaining an Elephant. Here is the link for the book

It is a fictional account of a tired English teacher who is pantomiming his days away drilling his students full of grammar lessons in order to make them better writers. One day he meets the new janitor who is unlike anyone he has ever met. Then the next day he sees an interesting quote scrolled on his board, which he believes is the remnants of a debate club meeting. He finds his kids discussing the quote rather than chomping at the bit to start on their grammar worksheets (imagine that!). The rest of the book is the story of this teacher's rebirth as his former beliefs in drilling grammar into his kids evaporates. Instead of covering material, he sees, instead, the importance of teaching his students. Or rather, letting his students have an active role in both teaching him and themselves. This forever changes him.

In fact, it reminds me of my time in grad school at BSU and how I had a similar experience.

This is my favorite quote from the book. I don't know how true it is, but it certainly is interesting --

"Our bodies contain three grams of iron, three grams of bright, silver-white manganese, and copper. Proportionate to size, they are among the weightiest atoms in our bodies, and they came from the same source, a long-ago star. There are pieces of stars within us all."

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