Sunday, May 20, 2007

A "Why I love teaching middle school" Moment: O Canada


During one of my 6th grade band classes, we had been working extensively on a line out of Essential Elements. The line happened the Canadian national anthem, 'O Canada'.

"Now class," I began,"before we play this again, is anyone in here Canadian?"

No one raised their hand.

I went on to explain that this was the Canadian national anthem and began discussing some of the rhythms to watch out for.

One of my students had an incredibly perplexed look on her face. Perhaps I was explaining this all wrong. 

The girl next to her raised her hand.

"Mr. N, {student} doesn't know what a Canadian is."

"Yeah," said {student}, "what is a Canadian?"

At this point, I (and fortunately, most of the class) was stunned. 

"Are you serious?" I asked.

"Yes," she replied earnestly.

"A Canadian, {student}, is someone that is from the country of Canada."

Many times in teaching, we talk about a "light bulb moment." It is usually indicated by a look that a student's face they finally understand something.

The look on this student's face (who is actually a really smart kid) was more like a light bulb from a witness interrogation lamp hitting her. She did laugh about it later and at least she understood without any further explanation. I may have needed to storm down to the social studies department if I needed to do more on that one...