Hallucinations and Realities

Between naps now, again so inspired by Palin's diarying that I feel the urge to jot.

Speaking of Palin, I'm to a part in 1974 where his father's advanced Parkinson's has led to hallucinations. Hallucinations of hamsters. Everywhere. Palin's mother has to carry a bag to "put" them in. (Palin notes the Pythonesque absurdity of it.)

Here I turned to Mike, explained the passage, and said, "Whatever happens in our lives, we'll never be able to invite Michael Palin over. He'll take one look around the living room and start having to conceal a panic attack that he's gone the way of his dad."

On the plus side, one more reason to not bother vacuuming?

Interesting to me is that Palin's father also reached a point of dementia where he thought that people had been living in the garage since 1966. I'm sure I've mentioned it here before, but my (beloved) great-grandfather, in his final senility, would go on and on about the "little people" who lived in their garage apartment and would come to visit at night. He was so lucid otherwise that it did make me wonder... and now to see something so similar elsewhere? What makes people hallucinate what they do? Is it like dreams? Is there unfinished business? Wishing?

My last(?) observation for this year was a few days ago. We were doing something particularly good that day, and I'd had enough sleep, plus I'd had a gut feeling that this might be THE day so there was a little extra confidence... I am glad to be (almost) done with this for another year. The final evaluation has yet to take place, but at least now I feel like I can show more than five minutes of a video clip (which isn't worth dragging everything out and rearranging seats) and not get in trouble.

(I don't know how my current supervisor feels about video, but the official line is that it should happen rarely, never be more than a few minutes, and always be rated G.)

This article in the paper - why hasn't it made national news yet? - had everyone shocked and our friends in math subdued today. There is so much I want to say about it, but I don't have the energy at the moment. Surely it will come out that there are some reporting errors or an oversimplification of the results.

It was sad, though, to read the comments and see those who (solely) blame teachers and think merit pay is the solution. I'm not opposed to earning more (or less) for doing more (or less), but I just don't think these things can be measured. Should I profit because the lottery sent me students with a strong work ethic? Should I fail to make the rent because I got the paint sniffers? (Or "cheesers"? Great take off on Heavy Metal!) There'd be blood matches in the teacher's lounge to get the Honors classes, that's for sure.

WAIT. I remember what I came here to say. Today, in 4 out of 5 classes, when I wrapped up an overview of next quarter's research project, at least one student asked if the class could read for the rest of the period. THEY ASKED IF THEY COULD READ. And then? They read. And when the inevitable people tried to be distracting/noisy? The reading students got mad. Because they were trying to read.

Apologies for burying the lead - I am still in the happiest state of disbelief. Yesterday I assigned two novels - one to the girls and one to the boys. Not because I'm sexist, but because we don't have enough of either one for everybody, and I thought this division might be an interesting experiment until they swap books in four weeks. (Some who already read the one for their sex are reading the other, though, so the experiment won't be perfect.) It's the girls who came to me today to announce that they read at home (They READ! At HOME!), and it's the girls who wanted to read in class.

Still, I think The Outs*ders is the better book, so it will be interesting to see how many girls (who were all so pleased to get Sp*ak instead, which they've seen on Lifetime - gag - and have heard about from their friends) take to the Hinton novel. Last year quite a few "converted." (Alas, getting the guys into Anderson's book is tougher. I'm hoping they will do better this year without the girls' gushing interest clouding the experience.)

All of this makes me want to assign nothing but very recent young adult novels (like Sp*ak) instead of having to hard sell the classics all darn year. I love those classics, but if they objective is to get them to read more and think/talk about they read...? (Of course, it's the classics that are already in our book rooms and that everyone has already aligned to state standards and planned for, so this is just cloudtalk.) I hate when I'm not sure if I'm being innovative or if I'm being part of the problem.

28 March 2008 |






Carnival Elation (2009)
Carnival Splendor (2009)
Carnival Spirit (2010)
Carnival Spirit (2011)
Carnival Splendor (2011)
Norwegian Pearl to Alaska (2012)