Arun is Bringing You...Your Daily Remedy

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Elementary, My Dear Arun

Sometimes I look back and miss the days of elementary school. Lots of drawing, building things, recess, and easy homework. When someone had a birthday, the whole class got cupcakes! I received more valentines in one day in elementary school than I have in the combined years since!

The more I think about grade school though, the more I realize how many ineffective and somewhat useless things we spent time learning and practicing!

The Pledge of Allegiance:
I'm all for patriotism and think its important to establish a strong feeling of citizenship at a young age, but seriously, reciting the pledge everyday in grade school is a waste of time.

I said it everyday, yet didn't know what it REALLY meant until like sixth or seventh grade? All I knew was the routine of standing up, looking at the flag, putting my hand over my heart, and reciting this spiel.

For heaven sakes, I thought "...and to the Republic for which it stands" was actually "and to the Republic for Richard Stantz" for the longest time!

I always wondered who that guy was...

Studies have shown that most younger kids think "One nation under god, indivisible" is "One nation under god, invisible." Somehow, being a citizen of an "invisible" nation doesn't come off as very patriotic :)

Good intentions??? Yes
Does it Work?? No way Jose

Extra Curricular Teachers:
In most elementary schools, including mine, we had once or twice a week mandatory extra curriculars during the day such as music class, physical education, and library.

Let's start with music class. In elementary school, we went through four music teachers while I was there and none of them were particularly adept at anything musical. Sure they taught us some very rudimentary music history and we sang classics such as "Mama Sita," but none of the teachers had any profound musical talents.

I think I could teach a more effective music class than we had in grade school! At least we'd sing cooler songs than freaking "Mama Sita" or whatever the hell it's called.

Similarly, PE was so much fun, but it was only later on that I realized how not in shape my gym teacher was. Can we at least have someone in shape educate us on the importance of being healthy and active?

And speaking of out of shape gym teachers, I'll never understand why people pay big money to get trained by personal trainers who aren't in tip top shape! I mean, if they can't take care of themselves, how the hell am I supposed to trust them to take care of me?

Back to the rant.

How about the lessons we learned when we went to the school library? Reading is important, but seriously, I just remember spending years learning the damn Dewey Decimal cataloguing system. Honestly, who needs to know Dewey decimals except for librarians? When I go to a library, I use a computer (or the old fashioned card catalogue) to locate the section for my book. Who even remembers the Dewey Decimal?

I think I still remember the first three (0-100 is Biography, 100-200 Psychology and 200-300 is least I have a backup career as a librarian) but aside from that, who really needs to spend so much time learning how to look up books in a library?

I remember my library teacher Mrs. Prockish, would give us a treat once we had checked out 8 books. We were only allowed to check out 2 books per week in library class which means it took about a month to get the treat. What was the treat you ask?


I will confess, I actually snuck an extra bean a few times and was never caught! In about third or Fourth grade, Mrs. Prockish introduced a new treat option! Now we had the choice of either ONE Jelly Bean or TWO Cheezits.

May her generosity never cease. (I still loved Mrs. Prockish by the way)

Despite these little shortcomings, I love elementary schools for funny little games that everyone plays. No matter where we'd go, everyone always wanted to be in the front of the line.

"Hey no Cuts! But, you can have Chinese cuts if you want."

Elementary School Dictionary of Terms: Chinese Cuts - allowing someone to get in line at the position immediately behind you...apparently this is how you cut lines in China.

Or the good ol' games that we'd play in the cafeteria at lunch:
"Last person who has their feet on the ground likes Stephanie!"
(Thundering sound of everyone's knees hitting the bottom of the table)

Inevitably someone would chime in:
"Nuh uh!!! Today's opposite day!"
(Thundering sound of everyone's feet hitting the ground)

Good ol' Elementary School. It's too bad bad I'll never do it again. At least I have the memory of being playground Tether Ball and Tag Champion!


Emily Weaver Brown said...

I really had to laugh about the 1 Jelly bean thing. We had a music teacher named Mrs. Veltcamp and she had a 20 gallon glass jar of Jelly beans on her desk – it was absolutely huge. During music appreciation week if you remembered to wear your music appreciation badge you got 1 jelly bean. The rest of the year the Jelly beans just sat in the jar on her desk. We would sit in class and look up at them longingly. One day in 6th grade Mrs. Veltcamp was a few min late to music class and we had about 5 min of total unsupervised chaos (this was pretty typical). I was talking to my friends and I didn’t even notice what was going on but when Mrs. Veltcamp showed up and the class resumed order and sat down on the floor in a circle. All eyes were drawn to the desk at the front of the room - the entire jelly bean jar was empty. There were so many jelly beans in that jar that there was no way the 30 kids in class could have consumed them in the 5 unsupervised min that we had, besides I never saw anyone eating jelly beans… where did they all go? Mrs. Veltcamp noticed the empty jelly bean jar immediately and kind of had a nervous break down. She flipped out and started screaming at us and accusing students of stealing them, she even cried. After about 15 min or her lunatic ravings the principle showed up and took Mrs. Veltcamp out of the room. Then our teacher came and got us and we went back to class, we didn’t have a music lesson that day or for several weeks after. It wasn’t until high school that I found out what happened to the jelly beans. There were several boys who had planed the whole thing out and brought a trash bag to school. During all the mayhem they emptied the jar discreetly in to the trash bag and then hid the bag outside the music room, they later went back and got it and spent weeks gorging themselves on jelly beans until they couldn’t even stand the sight of them – they were never caught.

Mark said...

You can't forget about the game "Heads Up, 7-Up."

Everyone would have to put their heads down on their desks so they couldn't see. Then the 7 chosen ones would sneak around the room and each tap one person. Once the chosen 7 were back up front the teacher calls "Heads Up" and the 7 students who were tapped got to stand up and guess who tapped them. If they guessed right then they got to take their place as one of the 7 chosen ones.

Best. Game. Ever!

Kimberly said...

Arun-- hello! I happened across your blog this afternoon, and this post made me literally laugh out loud. It helps that I distinctly remember Mrs. Prockish and Mrs. Hoe, the gym teacher (was that really her name?!) and all of the intensity of memorizing the Dewey Decimal system as well :) You have a wonderful wit, and now I'll certainly have to come by more often to see what you're writing. Best wishes to you.
-Kim (used to be "F," but now it's "S"...)

Jim Cummings said...

WoW man, it's amazing the little things that come flooding back to your mind when someone brings up elementary school.
I can't believe our P.E. teacher was named Mrs. Hoe and we used to make fun of her because of the garden tool....haha.
As for the cafeteria games, I remember looking on the back of our plastic forks and if we had a bigger number than someone else, we would scream out "I can babysit you!"
Those library rewards were so lame, but we used to get so excited about it.
I hated music class so enough said about that. I always used to get in trouble for not putting those sticks in the garage or whatever they used to call it when you stuck them on your neck so you couldnt hit them together.
I remember doing the flips on that long pole fence and one time you and some other people hung upsidedown the entire recess and you all felt sick
Then there were the girls we always got into fights with, and I swung that girl Monica down to the ground one time and accidently pulled her shirt off, and I got sent to the principle.
AND no matter how many times I played you, I could NEVER beat you at teather ball !
And between you and me, Poor Levi ! haha
Good times man, I miss em

Tom said...

Arun. I am extremely disappointed you did not mention the amazing heirarchy that is the student council. At the ripe grade of 5th I found myself with power not even lightning can match. As Vice-President of the College Gate Student Council I made promises such as "every day will be pizza day for hot lunch!" I tried to rule with an iron fist only to realize that I was as powerful as Flavor Flav is intelligent.

Also, I still wake up in a chilled sweat from the flashbacks of king of the hill at lunch. The pure carnage that occurred on that snow hill was beautiful while also disturbing. I think we all learned a little bit about ourselves on that gloriously violent mountain.

Thanks for the flashback Arun!

Go Cougars