Friday, October 4, 2013

Back to School and Extinct Indians

It's been a while since I last wrote; you see, the month of September for teachers is like April 14th for tax attorneys.... an insane blur. Days are filled with new classes, new students, new administrative demands, back to school nights, open houses, faculty meetings, department meetings, summer reading projects, 5am alarms, essays, quizzes, and dress code detentions.

I primarily teach upper division literature honors courses, but this year I also have one section of 10th grade American Lit Honors. During the first week of school, one of my sophomores reminded me that I have to readjust my expectations a bit for my younger students....

Me: "Alright everyone, what do we know about Native American culture?"
10th grader: "All I know is that Native Americans are extinct."
(other students nod enthusiastically in affirmation)
Me: "Respectfully, I think a lot of Native American people would disagree with you on that."

During the rest of the class, my mind kept conjuring up visions of an "extinct Native American" stoically standing next to a Woolley Mammoth in a display at the NY Natural History Museum - spear in hand, ready to take down the mighty tusked beast.

Let the year begin....

The Spider Grandmother did give two rules to all men, not just the Hopis. If you look at them, they cover everything. She said, "Don't go around hurting each other" and She said, "Try to understand things." - William Least Heat Moon.

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