I vowed to tally up the full weeks of school, so I suppose I’ll do that now. Still only one. Which I’ve written about (September 3rd). Next week will again be broken up because of homecoming, then a late start for professional learning committees (I think; the names change every other year or so), then Columbus Day, then another late start. Finally, during the week of October 24th, our second full week. The one after that won’t be until December 5th! Granted, some of these weeks include Veteran’s Day and Thanksgiving, but c’mon. By December 9th, we will have had only three full weeks of school. Don’t get me wrong. I like my time off as much as anyone. But if I’m in school, I’d rather be in class, with students, teaching.
We’re nearing the end of our social psych unit, and we focused this week on the consequences of misperceptions: viewing the groups WE belong to as diverse but regarding other groups as homogenous; viewing ourselves as discerning but regarding others as irresponsible or rude or even deserving of calamity. How convenient, huh? We will do anything to retain our sense of specialness and to create a bubble of safety around us. Can’t touch this.
The writers of the season premiere of The Office must have been peeking over my shoulder. The entire episode is about this in-group / out-group nonsense, which highlighted one of my main points this week: the allegiances we form are often based on nothing. And we’re all guilty of this silliness, some more than others. It’s how we make sense of the world. After presenting several activities on this theme, I think my students understood the irrationality on a rational level, but I wonder if anything deeper happened. Because to truly know this, to take this in and feel this lesson, can be revolutionary. Makes me think of all the times in high school when I regarded all these other groups as cool and saw myself as this pathetic loner who didn’t quite fit in anywhere. It was all in my head. My big fat head. (For the record, I wasn’t a loser, but a loner. Changing one letter in loser makes all the difference. I could live with loner. Loner might even contain a whiff of cool.)
In my other psychology class, my non-AP psych, we discussed Freud. The class is the smallest I’ve ever had, ten students, which allows for digression and heated discussions and a little bedlam (a word, students found out, that echoes the mad practices at Bedlam Hospital). I wish I could insert a video here of three students role-playing Freud’s id, ego, and superego. If you know about these concepts, you can imagine the give and take, the id jumping up and down in infantile excitement, and the superego bearing down like a drill sergeant parent, while the ego in the middle tries to officiate. Hilarious and insightful. This blog can’t capture those moments. Even a video wouldn’t. Because you’re an outsider. You wouldn’t understand how cool we are on the inside.
Actually, I’m not sure this or any other blog can recreate the intense flow that happens in a classroom, those moments when the bell rings and hands are raised and discussion is still hopping. It doesn’t happen every day, but often enough that you wonder, Who has a better job than I do?