Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Monday, March 14, 2011 5:39 am

Going over like the proverbial lead balloon

Filed under: Fun,Y'all go read this — Lex @ 5:39 am

Each year I have to lead two of Hooper’s Cub Scout den meetings. And each year I dread it.

To get an idea of why, read my friend Ed Williams’s account of leading a merit-badge session this past weekend. Ed is both literally and metaphorically an Eagle Scout, and if anyone knows from “Be prepared,” he does. And yet:

And I’m falling flat, reliving a nightmare since college, the one where I’ve failed to attend class for an entire semester, or cracked a book, and now it’s final exams. God, that dream gives me the willies. And still it comes back, even into my 50s?

Only now, I’m the teacher, standing before a whole class room full of … me. …


It’s 8:25 a.m. We break at noon. I’m looking at three-plus hours to fill.

I’m the teacher in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off: “Anyone? Anyone?” …


I ask about first names. “Christian, where does your first name come from?”

“My Mom named me for a Disney character.”

“Which one?”

“I don’t know.”

I get a lot of that this day. Anyone? Anyone?

“Gage, that’s an interesting first name. Where does it come from?”

“My Mom named me for a character in ‘Pet Sematery,'” he says.

And on break, I Google to see that, indeed, there is a demonic, back-from-the-grave, character in Stephen King’s thriller novel named Gage who goes on a killing rampage.

This leaves me disturbed. But everyone else is loosening up.

Nonetheless, little progress toward a merit badge.

In the past 30 years I’ve done presentations, given speeches and moderated dialogues in front of political bodies, committees of professors, boards of trustees and some of the most talented journalists in the world. And in no case, none, did I ever feel as nervous and unprepared as I did in front of the kids.




  1. So, given that teaching kids is nightmare-inducing, let’s pay teachers LESS, take away their bonuses for doing a great job, and of course, remove their right to collective bargaining.

    Because we all know how EASY it is to be a good teacher.

    Comment by Sue — Monday, March 14, 2011 10:50 am @ 10:50 am

  2. It’s definitely different teaching children. They learn differently from adults. Some are crazy hyperactive and always need to be doing something, others are kind of boring but learn by seeing. And kids are just shy at times. I use to teach Sunday school at my church when I was a freshmen in high school. It was definitely an interesting experience. But non-the-less, I like kids. They can be fun to be around. The key is you have to engage with them and try to do what they find interesting. If we treat them as adults, sometimes they don’t understand and become very reserved.

    Comment by Adam L — Tuesday, March 15, 2011 12:19 am @ 12:19 am

  3. Teaching children is way more difficult than talking with adults! Ed should not be surprised at all at the lack of understanding of young children. I think it takes a lot of grace to deal with young children and be a good teacher. Teachers should be fun and creative and be able to grasp the children’s attention. This quote from Ed shows that experience with big companies and other powerful people can not even compare to the level of creativity needed to supply children with a good education. However, I think the fact that children are too easily distracted is also a problem. I have found from many years of personal experience in babysitting, the immense need to keep young children constantly occupied. Television and xbox have always helped with distracting children, but is this necessarily good for them? I dont think that television has helped in pushing young children to learn more. There is definatly something to be said about the need to teach a generation of young children that can’t stay focused in class.

    Comment by Lindsey D — Sunday, March 20, 2011 6:57 pm @ 6:57 pm

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