My students today will take their pre-assessment in Global Studies. They are freshman (with few exceptions) and the material they’re covering really makes me understand how little they know in the grand scheme of things. It has been so long since I have gone over this material as a student that I forget how much of it is just “common knowledge”.

This fact is a great reminder that everyone is coming in with different understandings and background information. It is incredible easy for me to forget that many of these kids haven’t had exposure to some of the concepts we’ll be covering. But more than that it gives me ideas for different projects and assignments that I might be able to come up with. Of course, the big caveat is that I need to collaborate with the other global teachers and new things always seem to meet some resistance.

Still, I can’t imagine how boring a modern 14-year-old would find a latitude/longitude lecture. That is not to mention the awful geography concepts video that this department insists on showing. It is from the 80’s and it has terrible audio and outdated presentation. I don’t think it’s quite the “badge of honor” that the department thinks it is. Traditions are funny like that. To the outsider, they seem strange but to the participant, normal.

Having been a substitute for so long before having my own class, I normally used my prep periods to enjoy a good book or catch up on twitter and even a few times play some Zelda. While I’m certain I will catch up on tasks eventually, I know that for the foreseeable future I’ll be busy every prep.

Today I get to plot coordinates around the school for students to use to map locations. But we can’t go outside, at least not in the broader sense. I remember doing something similar to this when I was in school and we walked around with a GPS (which was brand-spanking new back then) to navigate to designated places. It was fun and we felt like we learned something. Some creative problem solving is going to be needed to solve this problem as we’ll be lucky to get a change of a couple of seconds, much less minutes. It doesn’t seem that long ago but the change has come rapidly and there is no going back. Only forward. The past is definitively over.