Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sheep Meat

One of the best parts about teaching is realizing how much smarter you are than other people. Despite the fact that you maybe in your late 20s, 30s (and they are 12).

Most days, I leave school feeling like the smartest person in the world. There are days however when a student jumps out of his/her role as an ignorant being. This is a story about one of those days.

In the state of New York, the English State Test is the equivalent of Jesus in the Catholic church. The Holy Trinity is: English State Test, Math State Test,(and some days I pretend I'm the third part of the trinity--other days I pretend I'm atheist so I don't have to create analogies to understand what is important and what is not).

Anyway, we're preparing for the holiest of tests and I give my students a practice exam. It was your typical 6th grade test which explained the origin of how the border collie went from a sheep herding dog to a family pet.

When I came across Sue's (which is not really her name) paper, I saw that she highlighted every word. So my initial thought was, "you're an idiot". But she proved me wrong with her answers. "I am an idiot" I then thought.

The following are her answers to the questions. It's important not to skim, as you might miss the greatness of her answer.

Explain a Border Collie Trait
She wrote:

"They crouch and use a gaze to hold the sheep's attention."
"They run around sheep into smaller and smaller circles to gather them up."

How Trait Helps with Sheep Herding
"It makes the sheep come close to them so they can eat them. It makes them easier to capture and eat.


Moving on.
Use details from the article "From Farm to Family Room" to support the opinion that a border collie should not be owned by someone who lives in a large city.
She wrote:

"A border collie can not be owned by someone in the city. Because the city is a busy place and the border collie would want to go for a walk"
"But it would mean that it would probably want to go to a zoo and look for sheep and try to kill the sheep and eat him or a grocery store and eat up all the sheep meat."

Again...I feel strange, and cannot put my finger on the feeling inside, but this time it's a cross between: ??????... mixed with that feeling of suspended time when you're about to sneeze, but you never sneeze.

While reading her answer, my mind blew a circuit and thought: "Either she's a genius, or she's witnessed things in life that no child should ever see, or she's secretly a rogue border collie dressed up like a 6th grader, or she's really dumb, or she has an imagination that is sickly amusing, or".....and the thoughts continued for hours thereafter.


Ian said...

My money's on 'genius.' Of COURSE the dog would miss its daily ration of sheep flesh. Of COURSE the only place to find said ration would be the zoo. And of COURSE it's not good for dogs to attack zoo animals. So, your student is perfectly correct.

Chronicles of Noel said...

I'm in total agreement with you.