Thursday, January 05, 2006

Is a Ferret a State Animal?

Second graders at our local elementary school are required to do a project on an animal (apparently this also includes reptiles, birds, and insects) native to our state. As loosely as this "teacher" defines "animal," the project still continues to befuddle parents every year.

"I need a book on a State Animal. Can you show me where the State Animal books are?"

"I can show you where the animal books are . . . it will be up to you to determine whether or not they are from this state."

. . . seeing as how just telling you which animals are State Animals would be doing the project for you.

However, one grandma's solution takes the cake of all State Animal stories. After telling her several times that I wouldn't be able to determine for her which animals were state animals, she finally agreed to let me take her to the animal books, her grandson in tow. I gave her a brief tour of the area: fish, mammals, birds, bugs. And then I left her there.

Fifteen minutes later she returns to the desk and asks:

"Would a ferret be considered a State Animal? People keep ferrets as pets. Would that count?"

After I had left her in the 590's with the animal books, somehow she migrated to the 630's (an entire two stacks over) to the pet books!

"The only person who can make that determination is the teacher. So you'd have to ask her."

"But do you think it would count?"

Are people really so brain dead that they are unable to make a simple common sense determination for a second grade school project? And why is she doing the project in the first place? Why doesn't she let him make the decision? How much is he really learning at this rate?

It's not in my job description to do someone else's homework, or think for someone who refuses to use their own brain. If the public wants me to think for them, then I should, by right, also get to vote for them! Go tax levy!


At 6:56 PM, Blogger DaftLadybird said...

So, what's the answer?

At 10:27 PM, Blogger Happy Villain said...

Sure: State of Confusion.

At 10:24 AM, Blogger NonAnon said...

"Yes, of Puerto Rico, which became a state in 2003. Tell your grandchild to write exactly that...they'll get a really good grade."

I cannot STAND the parents who do their kids' homework, asking questions at the desk while the kid stands around not listening, and not helping, only offering clarifications or gems like, "No, Mom, my report is on colonial America, not revolutionary America, god, DUH!," after which the mother whispers, "Um, I guess she needs books on colonial America..." So, so painful.

At 3:58 AM, Blogger Simon Chamberlain said...

I used to work for the library in a small government agency. I'd get kids emailing me lists of questions to answer - they'd literally take the questions their teacher asked them, and just email them to me (so it would include questions like "what do you think of this?"). Most of the answers were easily available on our website anyway.

I had a discussion with a teacher who claimed that, in doing this, the kids were learning research skills, because they were learning to ask me the questions.

I'd always thought research skills meant learning how to find something yourself, but what do I know. It's not like I had any real research to do for our agencies scientists and policy workers, anyway....


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