Thursday, November 6, 2014

On Meat Puppets and Ditch Digging...

Middle School students are funny.  Most of the time they don't realize how insightful their attempts at humor actually are.   On the corner of my whiteboard I started a "Memorable Quotes" space, and it worked like this:  When I deemed something to be both witty and insightful, the quote went on the board, until such time that it was unseated by another profound thought.

 About eight years ago, two brothers accidentally gave two of the best quotes.

The Te@chthought Question of the Day:

Nov 6 Share a quote or verse that has inspired you and tell us why.

 

The cool thing about teaching gifted -- okay, one of the many cool things -- is that my classes are multi-grade, and often have multiple members of the same family in class.  Brothers, sisters, cousins, bring a whole new level of connectedness to the classroom because they have so much shared history on which to draw.  In an amazing coincidence, the two quotes that have endured, much longer than the writing on the white board, came from brothers.

Being a generation (or more) older than my students, they often look at me with quizzical expressions when I tell of personal experiences.  I often answer those looks with, "I'm not older than dirt."  or something similar.  One afternoon, after talking about 9/11 to a bunch of students who were preschoolers at the time of the attacks, I made my "older than dirt" comment.  Joey piped up and exclaimed, 

"Ah, Mrs. Heydt, you're not older than dirt until you're in it!"

How comforting!  (Actually, it was, in a sick sort of way...)

This saying has resonated for years, and was later presented to me as a formal, permanent display, by another student with an amazing talent in woodworking.

  The quote made it on the board, and remained there for several weeks before it was finally unseated by another quote -  coincidentally from Joey's brother, Alex.

The quote?  Ah, yes.  The best advice for gifted and talented children who don't bother to think or to realize their full potential:

"Don't be a mindless meat puppet."  

I have to admit, I've used this phrase more than a few times since then, and am shamelessly using this platform in the hopes that Woodworking Alex will dust off the jigsaw and make a companion sign for my classroom.

As an aside, there is, apparently, a band named the "Meat Puppets."  Based on my limited research looking for an image for this blog today, I really prefer the image above than the music or other connotations.  I'm certain that anyone can relate to the educational  implications of allowing others to think instead of pushing the idea of promoting the sharing of independent thought. 

Whether it's meat puppets or their tolerance for antiquated stories, the G/T population is the best when it comes to unusual, quirky, random, abstract, weird (you get where I'm going here...)...  I anticipate many more "famous" quotes in future years, and will continue to reserve a corner of my whiteboard for the brilliant Brainy Quotes.  (And now we must figure out how to get them recognized as legit on "Brainyquotes.com!"