Sunday, March 04, 2007

Drawing a Blank

Last week, while discussing the history of segregation and the civil rights movement, I drew a map of America on the whiteboard, partially so the students had a sense of where these events took place, and partially to emphasize that “my place,” whatever that means, was never segregated. I don't pretend to be any great hand at drawing, but the map was, I thought, recognizable--the big pointy thing in the north is Maine, the big pointy thing in the south is Florida and the rest is all one big rectangular(ish) blob.

The students all stared at my map for a minute, squinting and turning their heads to the sides, trying to make sense of it. Noticing their confusion, I tried to explain: "Okay, guys, this is the U.S. Sort of. But look, here's Maine! And Florida! And see that bit pointing out at the bottom? That's Texas. And Washington is in this corner. And this thing that looks like a foot is Louisiana. And oh! wait! Let me add Massachusetts. That's my place. Sort of. No segregation there. And...oops, I forgot Michigan. That's okay, everyone does. See? See? Do you see it now? It's America!"

One of my students, in the back row, raised his hand, his face very serious. "Miss, what was your grade in your high school drawing class?"

"Well," I replied, "high school is different in America. We're not all required to take a drawing class. I, for one, took Latin instead of art."

"Oooooh," the class said, in chorus, all nodding their heads. "That explains a lot."

Thanks, kids.


Th. said...


They won't laugh time, when you assign them to translate the Vulgate.

Kaneeneenie said...

drawing, can parse like a pro!