Alice Cooper Was Wrong…

27 Aug

School’s not out forever. That thought hit me today as I realized that classes start tomorrow. I am not sure what it means when Alice Cooper and higher education enter my mind at the same time.

Hey Kenney Chesney, this is what a Rock Star looks like.

Maybe I think of Alice because this is what a few students look like on the first day of class. They are wide-eyed and yelling internally because they really don’t know what to expect. Guess what. Teachers don’t know what to expect, either. We see the wily old veterans in the upper classes, but each freshman class brings it own set of personalities.

We tried to get both sides, the freshmen and the faculty, in the swing of things on Friday. Each year, the new students are given a story to read. Then, they are broken into groups to discuss the story with a pair of teachers. This exercise has many goals, but one is to ease the students into the correct mindset before the real action begins. It’s like a scrimmage.

My group had a few talkers, but the discussion was limited. Finally, I asked them if they liked the story. They could say anything. Yes. No. Kinda. It sucked. I didn’t care. I just wanted them to say something. After a long moment of silence, a kid spoke up.

“I didn’t like it much”

“Why did you not like it?”

“The story was ok. I just don’t like being told that I have to read something. I would rather read what I want.”

“You realize that there will be a lot of people telling you what to read over the next four years.”

“I was hoping the teachers would let us choose our own books.”

“I don’t think that’s going to happen very much.”

After that exchange, no one else said anything, the discussion session ended, and the students went to their next stops.

Tomorrow, their stops will be in their classes, and the first day of class is always interesting. Students will be wandering aimlessly in the hallways looking for their rooms. I learned a long time ago that the first day of class should begin about five minutes late to give everyone a chance to get there.

Students will also be wearing their good clothes. This is the day to wear your new stuff and make a good first impression. Before long, they will show up in what they slept in.

The first day is also syllabus day, and teachers explain what is expected in each class. This is also when students learn that they will not be reading book of their choice.

Tomorrow is also convocation day. This is a welcoming ceremony to officially start the new year. The powers-that-be will dress up in their gowns, speeches will be made, and the choir will sing. It will end with the singing of the Alma Mater. They will pass out the words for the benefit of the freshman, and I am thankful for that. After graduating from the university twice and working there for over a decade, I still don’t know the words to the song. I wonder if Alice Cooper does.

17 Responses to “Alice Cooper Was Wrong…”

  1. sj August 27, 2012 at 01:53 #

    I love that you don’t know the words to the school song. Awesome.

    • surroundedbyimbeciles August 27, 2012 at 03:00 #

      Ha. I think it starts with the word Hail.

  2. amber_i_am (@amber_i_am) August 27, 2012 at 02:28 #

    I don’t know the words either! Also, glad to know your discussion group didn’t talk much. Mine and Durham’s was all guys, and they seemed more interested in knowing how to jailbreak their iPads than the nuances of race relations in the short story…

    • surroundedbyimbeciles August 27, 2012 at 03:01 #

      I wish I knew how to jailbreak my iPad.

  3. Sarah August 27, 2012 at 02:39 #

    My group was excited that their parents are no longer telling them what to do…

    • surroundedbyimbeciles August 27, 2012 at 03:02 #

      That’s the one thing mine got from the story – the conflict between son and mother.

  4. Butterfly August 27, 2012 at 02:59 #

    I just heard some friends complaining about teaching writing I. very similar situation. Buddha bless new semester …

    • surroundedbyimbeciles August 27, 2012 at 03:03 #

      I teach history and just want them to pick up a few things. Low expectations.

  5. Madame Weebles August 27, 2012 at 03:49 #

    Wow. Those students really expected that they’d be able to basically choose their own curriculum? Good luck with that, kids.

    • surroundedbyimbeciles August 27, 2012 at 03:59 #

      Makes me wonder what happened in high school.

  6. John August 27, 2012 at 12:37 #

    “I just don’t like being told that I have to read something. I would rather read what I want.” Awesome. lol

    • surroundedbyimbeciles August 27, 2012 at 14:34 #

      I didn’t want to admit that I agree with him.

  7. paintlater August 27, 2012 at 12:48 #

    Education is wasted on the young and those who never listened to Alice Cooper. Maybe your school song should be Welcome to MyNightmare. Cheers.

    • surroundedbyimbeciles August 27, 2012 at 14:36 #

      That would be awesome. At the end of graduation, we play an Aerosmith song that I had never heard before. And, I have seen them in concert a bunch of times.

  8. Smaktakula August 30, 2012 at 23:28 #

    I still remember the words to my alma mater, which was performed at our convocation, but then I was in the choir.

    Your student who doesn’t like to be told what to read is half-right. I think students should be given a little more flexibility in their literary curriculum. However, many of the books in school which I read I wouldn’t have even cracked if not for them being assigned. I might have missed out on two of my favorite authors, Salman Rushdie and William Faulkner. Of course, I could have done without “Great Expectations.” In my mind, I’ve created a new ending for that book where Pip brains Miss Havisham with a lead pipe.

    • surroundedbyimbeciles August 31, 2012 at 02:32 #

      For some reason, I just can’t get the Alma Mater to stick in my mind. I have never read “Great Expectations”, but I have been forced to read many things that I didn’t want to read. Some I liked. Some I didn’t. I agree that it is good to offer choices at times, but sometimes we just gotta do what we gotta do I guess.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Class, Convocation and County Government « Surrounded By Imbeciles - August 28, 2012

    […] the entire school went to the gym for convocation. I was correct in the last post. Speeches were made. The Alma Mater was sung. However, they didn’t break out the gowns. I was […]

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