Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Slayin' them dragons.

I'm a bit of a nomad at work: I teach three classes in three separate rooms. (I took one for the team, what can I say.) It's alright, though -- sure, there's a bit of moving-around, but it actually helps me mentally separate my classes from each other.

(Last year I taught two different physics classes in the same room, and I'll be damned if I didn't consistently confuse them. "Wait, did we already cover this? I can't remember," was a particularly frequent refrain.)

Today, my third-period class worked on some ancient computers that we roll from room to room (soon to be replaced with some slick-yet-slightly-used laptops). I was struggling to get my USB thumbdrive to be recognized by one of them, so I had to hang back in the room for the first few minutes of fourth period, which I had off anyway, to try to get the thing to work. (Never did.)

One of the kids in that class, grade 12 biology, must've known I taught physics and posed a question to me.

Her: "Hey, could you answer a question I have about physics?"
Me: "Sure, fire away."
Her: "Well, I take a dance class outside school, and our dance teacher keeps talking about two different kinds of energy -- like, the energy inside you, save your energy for later, and so on, plus he also talks about the energy in the building, in the environment."
Me: "You mean, like some sort of cosmic type of energy that's all around everywhere? And then, talking about the sort of energy you get from your food?"
Her: "Yeah. He talks about them like they're one and the same. He says he did some physics in university, but us in the class, we can't decide if he's crazy or not."
Me: "He sounds pretty crazy to me. Anytime anyone talks about the flow of energy through your body, energy fields in your body --"
Another kid: "You mean like chakras?"
Me: "Yeah, that sort of thing. Anytime they start talking about that, there's your sign that they're nuts."
Her: "We sorta thought so."

A minute later:

Another student: "How about those energy-bracelet things? My aunt gave me one for Christmas last year."
Me: "Total scam. They don't do anything; they've been tested."
Her: "How do they do that?"
Me: "Well, you do a double-blind study: you get two groups of similar people, give one the real thing, and give the other a fake version of that, and you don't tell either group which one they're in. It's like accupuncture: some people reported pain relief from 'real' accupuncture. But the same number of people reported it from 'fake' accupuncture, too. Conclusion? It's all in your head, and accupuncture doesn't do anything. Jabbing needles into our skin makes you think you're better."
Different kid: "Could you be our teacher?"
Kid #4, to kid #5: "I have him for physics next semester."
Me: "Yeah, come take physics. I'll let you in on whether or not the Easter Bunny is real."

It's a tough gig, being this awesome.

No comments:

Post a Comment