November 17, 2011

Career Day

Today was Career Day at my kids' elementary school. For some reason, the idea of talking about medieval culture to a captive audience of third graders struck me as appealing. At least on paper. Over the past few weeks, I have spent all of my free time fantasizing about how I would do such a good job in the classroom that my kids' school would be inspired to modify their curriculum to include a 2 week unit on medieval literature every year--taught by me of course.

In my make believe world, everyone was interested in what I had to tell them about the fourteenth century.

In real life, not so much.

All of the things that I were convinced were going to be big hits were met with blank stares. None of my daughter's classmates were at all interested in learning about how a medieval manuscript was made, or even touching the piece of reproduction parchment (ie. animal skin) that I bought on E-bay expressing for this occasion.

While the third graders could care less about all the things I wanted to talk about, they latched on and would not let go of something I said in passing while I showed off a scale replica of a medieval church. "Some people liked to go to church so much," I told them, "That they walled themselves into small rooms inside the churches and stayed there until they died."

Eighteen hands shot up into the air when I said this.
"What happened to the body?"
"Did it smell bad?"
"Did they mummify it?"
"Did rats eat it?"

My daughter's teacher began squirming in her chair. I tried to change the conversation by writing a sentence in Middle English on the white board. "Anyone want to guess what this says?" I asked.

A little boy raised his hand. "I'll bet a ninja could kick down the wall of the church if he wanted to."

Thankfully, I made brownies.

Unfortunately, when I lifted the foil cover off of the plate, I realized that Cameron had eaten at least six of them while I was in the shower earlier in the day.

I put the foil cover back on the plate.

Camber's teacher looked longingly at the wall clock. "Well thank you," I said and gathered my stuff up into a pile.

The teacher practically shoved me out the door. "Thanks so much," she said as enthusiastically as possible, which wasn't all that enthusiastic.

"I am a disgrace to society," I told my husband, who was waiting for me in the parking lot with Cameron.

He gestured to two cars that had just pulled up. Out of one them emerged a physician who was dressed in scrubs and rolling what appeared to be a dialysis machine.

Dang doctors and all their toys.

The other person was wearing mouse ears and carrying a box full of Lightening McQueen gift bags.

Stinking Disney.


Mom of 12 said...

I always think I'm cooler than my kids think I am. Isn't it funny how kids always pick up on the weird "in passing" things we say?
Great story!


Chelsea said...

lol love your blog- Thanks for giving me some much needed laughter <3

becca said...

awe! I love your little scaled church! awesome. Kids are so funny.

Katherine DeMartini Barrus said...

As a fellow humanities PhD, I can relate. Isn't everyone interested in obscure "artsy" subjects, like representations of nuns in 19th century art and literature (my special field)?

Anonymous said...

I get the impression that the locals don't adore The Meanest Mom as much as we do, but I just can not believe that is so!

BeckyB.West said...

You mean you didn't stand up in front of the class and tell the children that they were looking at The Meanest Mom? You would have brought the house down!

Anonymous said...

A think a field trip to "Medieval Times" is in order!

Molly @thewaffler said...

I'm sorry it didn't go well, but...your bad day = a great read!

Lisa Cash Hanson said...

LOL yea Disney. I can't wait till the day comes when I can do these things for Matilda but she's just 7 1/2 months old so I have time. It's funny when you hit that button with kids when they like what your doing. Once I was snow white ( I thought I wanted to do that for a living...uhh not) and they tugged and pulled at me and opened their mouth stuffed with hot dogs to say "look Snow White I'm eating a hot dog" Yuck I think they death, & mummy's appeal to the natural "gross factor" kids have- I'm sure you were awesome

Librarian Mom said...

Think that's bad? Try doing book talks to high school kids. As a librarian, it's my job to try to get them interested in reading. I even did a poll to see if anyone in the class knew where the library was (right next door) and out of 20 kids, 3 raised there hands. Deflated!

jeorgee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jeorgee said...

Oops, spelled something wrong! LOL at the career day. I think the kids are only interested in a break from their school work anyway! I HOPE they aren't thinking of a career yet!

Mrs. Tuna said...

I hope when you got to your car you ate the remaining brownies by yourself.

Karli said...

Awesome! Finally someone else who thinks that Anchoresses rock! Actually, I often teach a class on Medieval history to 4-6 graders. The class is usually packeted out because these kids know that I LOVE to talk about all the weird, gross stuff. Hey, it keeps their attention. You should have hit them with the info. on castle toilets and how the enemy would make someone climb up through that hole to invade the castle. EEEEEEEWWWW! They LOOOOOVE it.

Janine said...

I have to agree with Karli... and I know what you mean about presentations being a bust. I work at an after-school daycare for elementary and junior high kids. I thought they'd love Marie de France's lai "Bisclavret." I mean, it's about a werewolf who bites his wife's nose off!
Aren't kids into werewolves right now? But it was a complete failure. At least you have a fantastic blog that we all love!

Anonymous said...

I was laughing at your post and my 3rd grader wanted to know why so I invited him to read your blog. Low and behold, he was so interested in why people would lock themselves in a little room in the church that he could find no humor at all in the rest of your story and is now asking me all sorts of questions about how the person would eat in that room locked in a church building. Thanks.

AndreaMichelle said...

Very Funny! I'm sure it wasn't at the time. Keep up the good work. I just randomly ran across your blog and love it. I'm trying to figure out how to build mine with cute back grounds and such.