Thursday, August 12, 2010

How can our country be saved when they don't even know what a country is?

I have been back teaching since Tuesday, and only three days in, I am already depressed. I did one of my standard first-week-of-school activities where I had my students pair up and interview each other using four questions I wrote up on the whiteboard, and then introduce their partner to the rest of the class, using the information gleaned from the questions.

Question #3 was the following: What country would you like to visit that you have never visited before, and why?

Waaaaay too many times today, I was asked by waaaaay too many of my students, "Mr. Chandler, what's a country?" These are 8th graders, mind you.

Just to verify how off base these confused students were or were not, my standard response was to address their question with one my own: "Well, you live in a country; what is it called?"

The standard responses were either, "I don't know," "California," or "Sacramento." By the time students reach the 8th grade, I don't think I am expecting too much when I expect them to not only know what a country is, but to also know in which country they live!

Think of the millions of American soldiers who have either been killed or grievously wounded fighting for our country, the millions of workers, inventors, and entrepreneurs who have toiled to make this country the envy of the world, and these kids, our future leaders of tomorrow, don't even know what country this is, or that they even live in one. I am quite seriously on the verge of tears as I write this. This is also a moment when I am quite satisfied - and justified - with my new sign-off:

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson


Hube said...

THAT is one scary story, man. Whoa!

Anonymous said...

Thankfully they have a teacher like you, one who understands the greatness of the country they live in. Focus on the positive my friend.