Maybe I’m in the wrong business and need to consider a career change. Actually, come to think of it, I don’t have a business to begin with, so forget the career change thing. And, upon even further consideration, I don’t have a career either…
Anyway, this came up because of a couple of things. The Confederate Reunion Grounds (CFG) outside Mexia had their annual re-enactment and living history event a week ago. We’ve been attending those for many years, so when my X-Flags presentation developed for those and other occasions, I began receiving an invite to come down on the Friday-opening to share this with the youngsters who came on that day from area schools.
More than 1,100 5th and 8th grade students showed up for the CFG event on Friday morning, so we were quite swamped for the next few hours. I love students, with the 5th graders being my favorite for a couple of reasons. One, they have not yet completely outgrown listening and paying attention and two, they actually ask pretty good questions at times.
Fifth and eighth graders both, however, are pretty lousy at geography these days, which happened to be one of my favorite courses back in 1950 (5th grade) and 1954 (8th grade). Stability was more, well, stable then and it’s quite possible the globes and flip-maps we employed were already several decades old at the time, so memorizing and knowing places on the map was simpler, for countries’ names pretty-much stayed the same for longer periods of time.
Today, a lot of nations seem to be changing their names more quickly than up-to-date maps can be printed, so part of the geography weakness by present day students can be understood.
All this geography talk stems from the fact an imaginary cruise is taken by my X-Flags students whereby we get to identify the countries, oceans, and continents as we pass them by. One young male student once identified the country of Italy as Louisiana, which tips one off to a possible geography weakness. Funny though.
The Mexia students, though geography-challenged as the rest, appreciated my story of the two travelers passing through tricky-pronounced Texas towns like Waxahachie, Nacogdoches, Boerne, etc. Entering the town of Mexia, an argument and bet ensued over its proper pronunciation, so the guys pulled into an area restaurant and ice cream establishment to inquire.
Entering, they asked the employee at the counter to say the name of the place very slowly so as to establish which of the two guys had won the bet. The employee shrugged his shoulders at the strange request, the answer to which seemed so obvious to him, but slowly enunciated D-A-I-R-Y Q-U-E-E-N.
One eighth grade girl, cute as she was, said she didn’t get it…
On the imaginary cruise, our final destination is Israel, not today’s Israel, but the Israel of 2,000 years ago. To get into that time element, I have us traveling through a time warp. Now we all know there’s no such thing, but 100 percent of my students can explain a time warp in precise detail, which doesn’t exist except in science fiction, but cannot identify Italy from Louisiana. Go figure.
I’ve already forgotten what that second of the couple of things was (see second paragraph above) so, if you think of what it might be, let me know.
Oh, keep searching out the best candidates for the May 8 elections upcoming. In addition to the special election for our Texas Senate District 22 position, school board and city council elections are also slated. It really is time for finding representatives who really are (for a change).