I finished my projects last night and sat down in front of the tube, but I was too wired to sit there. And so I ended up doing an amazing array of things until 5:30 in the morning. Luckily my first class was cancelled, so I was able to get a nice three hour nap before my first class of the day.
This was the day that I was to give a brief, informal presentation for my poopin’ dogs project: a sad PP presentation in which a lone white dog takes a crap all over beautiful landscapes. As much as I appreciate attempts at letting us be creative in class, I often end of making fun of a) the project or b) myself during the project’s implementation. This one was a bit of both. See the picture detail sans literary caption.
The project was based on a book I’ve been reading all semester, “Teaching As A Subversive Activity,” a book written in the 1960s on implementing critical thinking skills above the factory-style teaching to the test. The premise is how to reform schools in order to make the best of critical thinking skills, above all to teach kids how to value their voices in a growing political and digital age and promote several levels of literacy that many schools do not acknowledge. It’s a great book if you ignore some of the gendered and racial language (a contemporary rewrite would be in order), and surprisingly, it remains wholly relevant almost thirty-five years after its publication.
My favorite question in this book is, “What is worth knowing?” Teachers are never at a loss of content, thanks to new federal laws that all Florida elementary schoolers know what a toboggan is. The relevance is up for questioning. Add compulsory standardized testing and we’re fucked. My presentation was titled after the first chapter of the book, “Crap Detecting,” in which the first sentence sarcastically begins “In 1492, Columbus discovered America…”
This is total crap. Hence the poopin’ dog.
All the pictures were a bit of a Where’s Waldo? thing, this one being the last in the picture series (at which point my classmates would detect the pictorial crap, and hopefully not notice that the whole project was an exercise in trying to cover up the crap that my project unfortunately is). But with only three hours of sleep, I walked up in front of the class and embarassed myself by giving a completely incoherent talk on school models and critical thinking. I got absolutely no response but crickets chirping and a quiet appreciation for my ability to photoshop a reflection of a poopin’ dog on a still lake.
From now on if class is optional and I am sleep-deprived, I’m so not going.