Sunday, April 26, 2015


Students often provide inspiration for me.  I guess it makes sense that I'm a bit more cutting edge with social media than the average 54 year old, because I spend the bulk of my waking hours with high school students who share the joys and frustrations of Vine, Yik Yak, Yelp, Twitter, and other apps that I frantically scramble to analyze and determine whether they are "friend" or "foe" in my book.  So while I hadn't been able to make sense of having both cable tv AND Netflix, I'd been pretty good at not caring about having just another time-wasting video service.  (Besides, I already had AmazonPrime, and could download what I wanted when I wanted it.  The thing was, I didn't really know what I wanted, so it was relatively easy to keep the cost per month fairly low.)

I argued that I couldn't make sense out of it, and then discovered that my own mother has had a subscription since the mail-order days.  Feigning ignorance was no longer an option.

One thing led to another, and now I have Netflix.

Bert says, "Think."

It's been a struggle around here with Comcast, recently, so Netflix on my tablet has actually proven to be a very nice thing.  Portable and prop-able, allowing some multi-tasking while binge-watching Raising Hope.  While I haven't finished season one -- which may actually happen tonight -- I'm quite addicted to the implausible stories that it tells, that I wish were true by the end of each episode.  Kristin asked me recently which character is my favorite, which is a tossup at this point, but there is definitely an endearingly educational value to Bert.

Especially when Virginia glares at him during a crisis and says "THINK!"  

How often do I do that as a teacher?  Does the pressure I put behind that demand cause the same reaction in my students that poor Bert experiences?  Do they suddenly see flying balloon letters spelling out the word THINK, comic book style, racing down hills, exploding on chandeliers, and taking over the world, offering no actual room in their brains for thoughts other than THINK?

Is it possible to force active thought onto a student (or group of students) simply by ordering them to do so?

Honestly, I don't have the answer, and the actual question is starting to make my head hurt just a bit more than I'd like on a Sunday afternoon.  After all, the entire process of learning has many questions that become the basis for discussions.  What is rigor?  What is focus?  How valuable is homework?  Is motivation something that is innate?

The musings are in my head, and, occasionally, in a lively discussion with a colleague or two.  

Does this count as reflection?  I sure hope so.  I'd hate to think that this is actually entertainment that doesn't cost me $7.99 a month with streaming back to back episodes.

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