Tuesday marked the beginning of a new unit in my “Teaching Math, Science and Social Studies” class. We have moved on from science and will be doing Social Studies for the next month. This is good because I am sick and tired of lugging around my special little “science book bag kit” that I got to buy for $100 (lucky me). The good news is that there is no social studies kit – just a book.
The other good news is that I essentially have a degree in sociology. Most of my Women’s Studies classes were sociology classes. This is kind of a mixed blessing as I have now been put in a group with other students interested in doing a sociology lesson. The catch? They’re all elementary people (whereas I am a middle school person) and want to write a lesson plan for 2nd or 3rd grade. The problem? Sociology is a rather abstract concept, not often taught in k-12 at all. On rare occasion, it pops up in high school. There are no standards or benchmarks in the MI Dept. Of Ed. Manual at all for sociology and, actually, no Social Studies benchmarks for grades under 3rd. My job for this evening? Making my group members (who have no sociology background) understand why we cannot write a lesson for 3rd graders. This may involve teaching a brief SOC 101 class.
I have a strategy, though. My teacher instructed us to bring “something cultural” to tonight’s class. It could be a food dish or some kind of cultural artifact, “such as a sombrero.” I can honestly say that I looked high and low for a Czech recipe on the net that didn’t include any of the following: lard, yeast, liver or tongue. I can also honestly say that I came up empty-handed. I asked Owen what I should do. “What was your favorite thing to eat there?” he asked me. My answer: “Um….potato skins and TGI Friday?” Yeah…I didn’t love the Czech food. Maybe someday I’ll tell you about the scariest dessert ever (and a Czech favorite) called “dumpling.’ Dumpling – singular - as in “just on”e…because it was FREAKING HUGE (like as big as my head).
Then I had a brilliant idea. The Czech national drink is beer. They invented pilsner. And Glen’s sells Pilsner Urquel – the most common Czech beer. It’s like Bud Light over there. Thus, I bought a six-pack of Pilsner Urquel to take and share with my classmates. I am hoping if I can get them to imbibe a little, they’ll loosen up enough to just shut up and listen to me. Oh…did I mention? The school I’m going to is a Methodist university. We’re supposed to pray at the beginning of every class and stuff…think about Jesus when we teach. Do you think the Methodists like beer as much as us Catholics?