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
At best, you never know what might happen in this
class, as it is chock full of a wide range of personalities.
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
On most days, she is very disengaged and withdrawn, but today?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.
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!