Ok, I’ve been totally slacking in writing about my experiences at school. There’s a really good reason for it…I’VE BEEN STUDYING!!!
My Nevada School Law class didn’t meet this week due to Labor Day, but I missed out on telling y’all about the class the week before!
We have 2 professors team teaching NV School Law, Doc McC and Doc H. Now Doc H is new to teaching NV School Law because her specialty, I gathered, was in a higher form of the Academic Ethics field. Nonetheless, I like Doc H. Now if you recall, on my first day in NV School Law, I thought that she was the really pretty TA…nooooo, she’s got her own thing going on and she’s a highly competent professor!
Standing in front of the class, she did the bravest thing I’ve ever seen a teacher do, she admitted that it was her first time to teach the course. Wow, talk about putting your life in someone else’s hands! That was so brave! But, she came out like a champ. Her lecture included Schoolhouse Rock! Now anyone who uses Schoolhouse Rock is aces in my book because that really takes the time to bring the subject matter to the students in a unique way. I LOVED Schoolhouse Rock as a kid. “Interjections” was my favorite (“YOW! It’s no fair giving a guy a shot down there!!!”) Doc H showed:
How a Bill becomes a Law:
They’re both so cute and they do address what we are covering as far as the Federal Government goes…we’re more concerned about the state constitutions (because the Constitution does not make any provision for education, they leave it for the states to deal with individually).
Anyhow, Doc H did a great job on our lesson for the day, and she gave us homework to find out who our School Board Representative was, it was hell and high water trying to it figure out from the Clark County School District website! They only give the district name for each school board representative on the site, you have to actually dig to find what district you live in…for a website about school stuff, ooh, that’s a big faux pas, because things like finding what district you live in should be easily accessible, you shouldn’t HAVE to dig for it. But, I finally found the map, figured out I live in District E and my representative happens to be Terri Janison, wife of the local weatherman on channel 3. Well, I’ll say this, at least she knows what to wear to work every day because her husband will tell her how hot or cold it’ll be! Also, she’s the president of the board of trustees. Good on ya Terri! Girl power in action!
So my homework for that class is done, all I have to do now is sit down and read 40 pages…*sigh* Making School Law sexy and something you want to read is like trying to hug a porcupine…it’s gonna be painful.
Now on to Comp II. I like Doc T, he’s totally rockin! But, I had to write a summary of Malcolm Gladwell’s argument in the article “Something Borrowed” from the New Yorker. Now I’ve been a passive reader for a long time. I just soak up the content, get what the writer has to say and move on. The catch with the assignment I had to do is that after 20 years of passive reading, I have to re-train myself to be an active reader, to question things and come up with my own interpretation of the argument presented. It’s something I learned today from Doc T, “When you read, it’s not about the story the article tells, but rather what Gladwell is trying to say with the examples he’s giving”. Much less to say, on Monday, I shut down all of the technology in the apartment, sat down and read the article, then tried to explain in my paper what I got out of it. Ok, PAINFUL. Simply because I’m not thinking in critical terms, I’m being a very hum-drum passive reader. At first, when I read the article, I just saw circles. I sat back going “What the hell is he saying? He got robbed, he accused the woman, then he comes back, figures out it’s a compliment, now he wants to apologize because he contributed to the ruin of a playwright? I don’t get it. What’s the point of him trying to shove the manure back into the horse? What is permissible borrowing?”
When we went over the article in class before we turned our papers in, I sat there looking at my paper thinking to myself, “EPIC FAIL, I missed the point.” Gods, 3 weeks into school and I’m an epic fail. I went home and just resigned myself to “Next time, I’ll do better. Gotta re-train the ol’ brain.” Then, there was the “I’m to old for this shit” thing wanting to rear it’s ugly head; I squashed that thought quickly…NO, I’m not too old to learn, I need to be challenging myself, this gets me out of the coma I’ve been in for the last 7 years. Go beyond your comfort zone…tackle it, understand it, embrace it. I looked up at the ceiling and yelled at myself, saying, “Come on, Sher, you’ve been passive for the last 7 years! You can do better! Get into it, sink your teeth in, tear out a hunk of the academic flesh and chew on it! Get the nutritional value out of what you’re reading, don’t just sit back and say “Ok, read that, what’s the point?” No bonehead husband around anymore to explain it to you! Get it together girl! Get active!”
I got my paper back today…I got an A. How in hell I pulled that one off, I’ll never know. But, I guess I got something out of it in a critical sense, but I’m hard on myself because I need to actually dig deeper into what I’m reading. To really suck the marrow out of it and let it become a part of my soul. I think that’s what is meant by Critical Analysis…to really challenge it in your own mind and let it provoke questions and feelings about the topic.
Much less to say, I can do better. It is a really good example of how I need to shrug off more of my passivity. The son-of-a-bitch really did a number on me to make me this passive…and now, I’m pissed and I’ll be coming at Academic Arguements with a whole new vigor (at least I hope so)!
Thanks Doc T! You’re helping in ways you don’t even know!
Anyhow, got another article to read and summarize for class on Tuesday and I’ve got 2-3 pages I need to write for my Research Proposal for my 7-10 page research paper…ok and Doc T says that’s short. *Gasp! Whimper!* NO! I shan’t let it intimidate me! I am a wordsmith! I am a purveyor of wisdom (cynicism and wit too)! I will conquer the 7-10 pages! That’s right blank pages! I’m talking to you! I will overcome! Now what the hell am I gonna put on you?!?!?
I started out with this notion that a hardcore athiest like me can go out and rip the idea of Creationism being taught in public schools to shreds. Ok I’m dense, there are already laws on the books that prohibit it, yet some states are still fighting the fact. How the hell am I gonna tackle that!? It’s against the law already! It’s an argument that’s already been won! Shit!!!! What am I gonna do?!? How do you take some backwater hillbilly who still believes the bible as fact and wants their child to learn that a deity created them and convince them that their child needs to know the evolutionary theory? That the fact that they want “Intelligent Design” taught as a science when there is no substantive proof to be had! No part of the scientific method has ever conclusively proven there is a god! But still, in the case of Mr. Hillbilly…they’re not gonna budge! I come from a world that thinks like that. My father, the king of “take the bible and just believe. Don’t question, just believe.” To me that’s a great example of Dawkins’ “Flat-earthism”, I mean, how are you going to take someone who believes in nothing but what they’ve read in a book that they think a deity wrote and turn them on to the viewpoint of questioning the very thing that they believe with all their heart? Man evolved!!!
I like to think of evolution in terms of a pair of “Rabbit Nikes”. Let’s think about a caveman for a second, here’s a visual to help out…
Well, on second thought, let’s not…because all of the pictures I found on cavemen or neanderthals…well, the pictures all have everyone’s “whatevers” hanging out and, no, I’m just not gonna go there. No pictures of some caveman’s willow on my blog!
Anyhow…but that does illustrate my point quite the bit…let’s imagine our very nude caveman walking along. He gets a sharp rock in the foot. Now in today’s society, we’re liable to hop up and down like a jackrabbit hollering about the pain! To Mr. Caveman…well, that’s normal. One more rock in the foot…so, he reaches down and pulls the rock from his foot and keeps going. Now, let’s switch to a different caveman, same situation, he gets a sharp rock in the foot, but this time he figures he’s about had enough of his only means of transportation constantly being hurt by things on the ground that he steps on. So, he sees a rabbit…he’s hungry, so he figures, “Hey! Food!” (I’ll leave out the quip that the rabbit was probably the first rendition of “Fast Food”…go ahead groan, it’s ok.) He chases down the rabbit, kills it, skins it and has a really good lunch…BUT then he looks at the leftovers…bones, fur (if he’s not eaten them in the process)…all sorts of stuff…so, he looks at the cut in his foot, looks at the fur, feels how soft it is and figures out that “Hey, that fur could be protecting my foot!” So he takes the skin, wraps it around his foot, uses the remaining bones to fasten the fur together so it’ll stay on his foot, then gets up and walks on, not worrying about rocks on the ground anymore…our friend the caveman invents the first “shoe” of sorts, a “Rabbit Nike”. Now, let’s put the shoeless caveman next to the guy with the Rabbit Nike’s on, is the caveman with the “Rabbit Nike’s” going to be able to go a further distance when he walks? Odds are he will. Odds are that he’s got better survival skills than our caveman who just pulled the rock out of his foot and moved on.
Think about it, you’re a caveman, if you hurt your feet, how are you supposed to hunt and gather when you can’t walk? Now I’ll concede that the caveman foot of pre-historic times probably had the sole of a Doc Marten because their bare feet were their only mode of transportation, so the skin of the foot was probably extremely calloused and made to survive a sharp rock or two. But now we’ve got the guy with the Rabbit Nike’s on…he invented something that he probably put on his girl, then on his children. What happens to the feet of that family? Odds are, they got softer, because there was not a lot of damage being done to them, the damage was absorbed by the fur and skins that encased their feet. They got to walk farther in inclement weather, (snow, ice) and survived a lot better. That is a great case of evolution. The next generations of the family of the Rabbit Nike inventor brought about a change in their feet, the foot takes less damage, hence less calloused, softer feet, plus with the insulation, they probably got sick much less, leading to the dominance of the Rabbit Nike wearing caveman. That passes down through the generations, changing the foot over the millenia to what we see today when we look down at our feet to get out of bed, all because some bright caveman was sick and tired of getting a sharp rock in the sole of his foot and used his lunch to protect them. Now I’m using a male pronoun for the caveman, but it could have easily been a cavewoman who invented the shoe.
But I wouldn’t be me without having the Rabbit Nike wearing caveman trying to convince his fellow cavemen the benefits of wearing Rabbit Nike’s. The birth of the first salesman…”You like fur? You like no rock or thorn in foot? You like to run fast to catch mammoth for big meal or run away faster when big cat tries to eat you? Shoe made from Rabbit. Rabbit fast. You be faster wearing Rabbit Nike.” I’m sorry, I had to do it, it was too funny to pass up.
The Intelligent Design guys would probably rebutt saying , “God gave man the blueprint for the shoe.” *sigh* *rolleyes* As the old saying goes, “Necessity is the mother of invention”. Look at the doors you open and close, how did the doorknobs and the hinges get there? Someone had to work it out! Someone had to think outside the box and figure out a way to make things work so a door opened and closed easily and there was a way to keep the door closed when you wanted it shut! Now, we take doorknobs and hinges for granted, but that’s some person’s great thought there! We evolved to make fancier door knobs, fancier hinges…now we can lock our doors and know we’re safe! A deity did not show up and teach us that, we figured it out!
But, how do you convince Mr. Hillbilly that little Susie and Jimmy Hillbilly needs to understand that a god had nothing to do with how we came to be?
Anyhow, I’m still working out what to write for my research paper…it’s not going to be easy.
Have a great weekend everyone!