Thursday, September 17, 2015

Learning from Ancient Greek Democracy

by Brandon Parson, Ohio BAT 

 

Brandon Parsons teaches 7th Grade World History in Ohio. He teaches at this badass level daily. His students, and their parents love him. We in Ohio BATs...love him. He does NOT love reform and fights it all with as much passion as he exudes in teaching. Here is what he shared:

So, today: today was an interesting day in a great many ways, but the thing that stuck out the most amongst the running around and prepping and modeling and teaching 150+ kids was what happened with my most challenging class.

At best, you never know what might happen in this class, as it is chock full of a wide range of personalities.

Some days it's mass chaos and drama-soaked and almost-unteachable. Other days, it's absolutely amazing how engaged they are, how many various clarifying questions they have and how on the edge of their seats they are to hear a story.

Today, we did an out-of-your-seat demonstration of how ancient Greek democracy worked in Athens, and the kids got to actually take part in a secret-ballot election where they had to pick two stones (a black and a white which each symbolized a candidate for leader) and put their choice into a large Greek vase, as per the custom way back then.

At first, I wasn't sure how this was going to go; transitions and instructions can be tough with this group (did I mention it is always right after lunch, too?)...but once we got rolling, they were INTO IT!

Best of all, I chose one of my toughest cookies as a candidate for leader, and she was sooooo excited to be one of the ones being voted for AND to be able to vote for herself!

On most days, she is very disengaged and withdrawn, but today? All energy, enthusiasm and smiles!

Better yet, she wound up getting the votes to win the election!

After it was all over and we were waiting for the bell, this student offered me a piece of gum...and THAT was the best part of the day.

Why?

Because in almost any situation where anyone has gotten through to her over the last two years, THAT is always the known peace offering. A piece of grape Hubba Bubba. The flavor lasted all of about five minutes, but the sweetness is still going on.

And THAT is something you can't measure with any of these damn pointless evaluations, "value-added-measures," computerized soulless state tests and all of the other invalid, fakey-trendy clown-shoes attempts to quantify what I do daily.

Today is what authentic teaching is REALLY all about and SHOULD be about; the kids, how they learn, what they feel and what they remember years from now!

‪#‎EvaluateThat‬ ODE, Dickie Ross and "Bad King John" Kasich!
‪#‎NeverVote4Kasich‬

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