Friday, November 10, 2017

Bugs, children, and compliance

"Disobedience is not an issue
if obedience is not the goal."

Daron Quinlan via Teacher Tom

The Liberty Science Center was crowded this past Tuesday--tribes of human larvae were running, laughing, pushing through the exhibits, while other organisms prowled and stewed in their tiny glass homes.

I stumbled upon a small glass cage teeming with Australian spiny leaf insects. Most were munching  leaves on twigs, a few were just hanging out, but one was standing on the topmost twig, stretching upwards as though trying to reach the sky.

Photo by Thomas Bresson, CC 3.0
I like watching critters, and this one looked interesting, so I sat down on the small bench next to the terrarium to watch.

The top of the terrarium was covered with a transparent plate, probably acrylic, clearly solid. I could see this one tapping the acrylic.

And then I realized what this critter was doing. After each tap, it moved its foot slightly over, tapped, moved again, tapped, then again, tap, along a line perpendicular to its body. When it reached across as far as it could, the critter then stretched a little more, and started tapping another line.

By the time I left, the insect was fully stretched out, precariously clinging to the twig by just three legs, reaching, searching, aware of something beyond the cramped cage.

I got kids like this in school. Not many. Most have stopped trying to find the gaps, because we knock them down pretty much every time they try. Look at your procedures, look at your school policies, look at your schedule, look at what you are asking your students to do day after day after day.

If one of my lambs keeps tapping the glass, no need to ask why. I'd rather know why the others have stopped trying.

Yes, I am romanticizing and anthropomorphizing a bug.
Maybe it's time we anthropomorphize our students as well.


Sean Nash said...

There is really nothing left to add to this. You're right. This is concise... and needs to be shared.

doyle said...

Dear Sean,

Thank you--but a nod goes to that durn insect. We were at the Liberty Science Center for professional development. And that critter gone done reminded me what was important.

Barbara B. said...

A new look at the "glass ceiling". Thanks. This was very good.

doyle said...

Dear Barbara,

Tap tap tap,and thanks!