Friday, November 21, 2014

Fear and Tests

Students took the test today.  I think it was pretty easy.  I'll put the grades in Monday, although I might grade it tonight.

If you were absent today and need to make up the test, email me about it, or ask me about it on Monday.  If you are absent - say you went to visit relatives in some far-away country or something: make sure you email me.

While the students are taking the test, I've gone through and graded a lot of their writing assignments from the past couple of days.  If you recall, we read an excerpt from The Epic of Gilgamesh.  (Click the link if you want to read it.)

*EDIT*  By the way, as with all ancient texts, there are many, MANY translations out there.  If you've never read The Epic of Gilgamesh before, may I suggest that you try Stephen Mitchell's translation?  It's very good, although this note is more for the adults reading the blog than the students...  *END EDIT*

If you remember from the excerpt, Gilgamesh is looking haggard, desolate, and emaciated.  He has begun to fear death because of the death of Enkidu.  (Spoiler alert, sorry.  You've had 4,000 years to read the thing, don't blame me too much...)

I know this was my point from the last blog post, but it was really hit home for me when I read what the students wrote.  I asked the question, "what are you afraid of?" to the students.  Four of the most common answers I received were death, loss of someone they love, being alone, and clowns.  (That last one doesn't really have anything to do with this post... it just showed up a lot...)

When Gilgamesh lost Enkidu, those are the same fears he had: he now feared death, he was now alone, and he had lost someone he loved.

I asked my students to answer that question before they knew anything about Gilgamesh.  For how far humanity has advanced, we are still people, after all.

If you want the extra credit today, talk about the blog post.  But also tell the adult you're reading with how you think you did on the test.  Write a sentence or two about the discussion, and have them sign the paper.  I realize it's not too different from Wednesday's post... but there was no lesson today.  Just an assessment.  I hope they all aced it.

*Extra: Some of the student writings about what they feared are really good.  I asked if I could post a couple up here, and they said yes.

"My fear is to be alone. I am alone all the time and it is not that big of a deal.  I am not afraid of being alone, I'm afraid of being alone for a long period of time.  Sometimes I babysit my sister while my mom and dad go shopping.  They usually take about an hour, but if they take longer I start to get worried.  Or when my mom is working and I have to watch my sister.  She always comes at the same time for lunch.  Sometimes she has a meeting and forgets to tell me, so she's late."

"I'm afraid of poisonous things.  I'm afraid of poisonous things, because I don't want to die.  I'm not afraid of spiders or snakes,  I can even touch one, but if it's poisonous it will send shivers down my spine and I would scream so loud I could wake the dead.  I don't even know why I'm afraid!  All I know is I'm terrified of poisonous things.  I can pick up a daddy long leg and not be afraid, but if I see a tarantula in a pet store I run the other way.  I see a garter snake, and I'm fine, I see a rattlesnake at the zoo I run around the corner and cry."

"Personally, I'm afraid of losing all my friends, but that's a natural fear everyone has.  (Well, I take that fear a lot more seriously than other people, I think about that every day.)  My absolute worst fear though, is the stupidest fear you will ever hear.  You know the movie company THX, who helped make Bambi and The Incredibles, right?  Well when I was little I used to watch Bambi A LOT!  And every time that one stupid THX thing came on before the movie, I would scream, I'm still afraid of the THX trailer thing today!"

"My worst fear is losing my brother.  I realized that this was my worst fear over the weekend.  My brother was going somewhere to practice for a band competition.  This was with a bunch of people he didn't know.  He told mom that he'd find a ride home.  My friend was spending the night that night.  My brother was supposed to come home at 7:30 PM.  At that time he still wasn't.  I went to my mom's room to get something and she said, "**** isn't answering his phone.  I'm scared he got in an accident."  I walked out and cried on my friend's shoulder.  At 1:30 AM my mom went out to find him.  She came home and told me he was at a friend's and fell asleep.  This is my worst fear because I don't know what I'd do without ****."

*EDIT: 9:17 PM 11/21/2014*

Guess what just happened.  It was rough, but I made it.  Students, you can fill in your parents if you want to.  I was very brave.

Oh no... There are two bags...

Nothing to worry about.

What was that noise?

Maybe if I run back inside fast enough she won't be able to catch me!

*Whew*  MADE IT!

Heh... La Llorona.  ...I don't even believe in her.  And I'm not a kid, so... whatever...  I wasn't running because I was scared... I was just exercising. 

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