Teaching as an adjunct can be a lot of fun. It is also challenging. As I have encountered a number of situations, I realize such a blog can be helpful, both to me and to others.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

What Goes Around, Comes Around

My parents used to say, “If you live long enough, you’ll see everything”. Those words came back to me as I was helping my son student for a test about colonial times. One thing which he has to be able to do is identify the original 13 colonies on the map. I was helping he do this.

I am pleased to say I was able to help him. When I was in Junior High School, I hated map skills. My father spent hours with me going over the map and telling me it was pure memorization, it was simply a matter of how strong the muscles were in my backside. That was what was going to get me to pass the test.

I did pass the test although it wasn’t until I was 18 years old that I could look at a map and determine that in order to get from New York to Florida, one had to go south. Nowadays I can look at an unlabeled map of the United States and identify at least 45 states and probably all 50. Don’t give me a world map or a map of another country, please!

It honestly was quite a thrill to be able to help my son with map skills and unfortunately I was not able to pick up the phone, call my dad and say, “Guess what”. He would have gotten a laugh and a thrill over it.

I do think there is an important lesson here. Dad was right. Sometimes doing well in school, on a test, in a class, is directly proportionate to your ability to sit still and stay focused. I realize that is often times easier said than done. Still, students who actually take notes, read the textbook and have the discipline to review the information on a regular basis, not just before a test, tend to do better in classes. That is true, I think, on any level.