He said that when the schoolteacher was seven years old, he had good sense but later it dried up.
—The Violent Bear It Away, by Flannery O’Connor
The fall semester final exam is ready. I cut and pasted a cool picture of ol’ Sequoyah on the front of the exam. That picture of him holding a big page of his Cherokee syllabary and he’s pointing at it with a finger and he’s smoking a pipe. I don’t know what’s in the pipe. Sequoyah’s got a colorful turban on, too. One hundred and eighty-two questions pulled from the eleven hundred or so they’ve been asked since late August.
That special number—182—actually represents the number of things I hope to have them remember for the rest of their lives concerning the history of Georgia up until the Civil War starts.
I really do know better. But it’s worth a try.
What I really want them to remember is how to think for themselves. How to fearlessly ask a question and how to question without being cynical or critical. How to fearlessly offer up a thoughtful discussion item. To know that life and strife and success preceded them in certain citizens and patriots, but first and historically, of the parents who love them … then others. So many others really did die before us and if they didn’t die they suffered to make a good and new country and a new state.
Speaking again about that hard-to-grab wild monkey called motivation … I went to the grocery store yesterday and bought four monster bags of candy in order to bribe the children into doing a good job during exam preparation week Torture Chambers.
At the start of class I announced I enhanced The Drawer of Happiness in order to motivate them this week … knowing in my naïve heart all that expensive candy was a good investment for them and me … and after a few of them ran back there to open the drawer and see what was inside and what would be motivating them today they shouted, Dang! Jesus! Shit! Wow! Damn! Awesome! I love KitKats!
Cuss words theirs this time.
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