Tuesday, October 06, 2009

When the lesson you plan isn't the lesson you teach

So, you know that logic review I was working on last night at, oddly enough, this very hour? I was so excited because I actually understood the material and thought it was immensely interesting. I couldn’t wait to pass on my newfound knowledge of the Square of Opposition and show my class the relationship between A, E, I, and O statements. I’d taken meticulous notes, drawn out the entire square, labeled everything just so. I knew my stuff and I was ready to make sure they knew it. I went to bed full of conviction that Monday’s class would rock.

That conviction may well have been pride.

Class began at 9:30; by 9:35 I realized I was on a collision course with stupidity but didn’t know why. Nothing I said made any sense. Each time I tried to give an example of an A statement (All S is P) and compare it to an E statement (No S is P), thus showing examples of contrariety I bungled the statements. I mixed up the definitions for contrariety and contradiction not once but twice, and I’d written them on the board so I couldn’t even pretend the kids’ heard wrong (not that I’d ever do such a thing). Amy was looking at me like I’d lost my mind (which I was pondering myself) and she kindly said, several times, “I think the A and E are mixed up.”

I kept looking down at my notes. “I knew this last night!” I thought. I explained it to Sean and he got it. I’d taken four pages of notes! I knew I understood. But each time I opened my mouth to give an example it was as if I were speaking perfect Hungarian to a room full of Spaniards.

By 9:40 I stopped the class. I admitted I royally screwed up, acknowledged I’d forgotten to start the day with prayer and asked for a do-over. I prayed, thanked God for second chances and went on to do a fairly decent job describing subcontrariety, subimplication, and superimplication.

By the end of the hour the kids understood the whole square, which was a miracle considering how the lesson began. But more than knowing about particular affirmative and universal negative statements I hoped they took away a lesson about someone completely losing it, admitting it, asking for guidance from the Lord, and pressing on. Certainly not the lesson I’d planned for the day, but one that’s way more important than knowing the difference between contradictory and contrary statements.

Because I know you're all dying to see the Square of Opposition now, here you go!