Monday, September 15, 2008
Why I Call You Troops
As many of you know, I use the word 'troops' often when I'm wearing my educator's hat. I've done it for so many years I forget using the term with a classroom of children may cause some confusion. Last Thursday one of my pre algebra students raised his hand at the beginning of class.
"Adam," I said looking down from my elevated perch in the Discovery Room.
"Why do you call us troops?" he asked. "We aren't in the army. We're a bunch of kids."
I got everyone's attention before dispensing my answer.
"Troops, Adam would like to know why I call you troops. Anyone else interested in knowing?" I asked. They all stopped talking. The look on their faces led me to believe a few had an interest. The others were quiet, knowing my feelings about talking when I'm talking.
"I call you troops because that's what you are. You are all soldiers in our war against ignorance. American is in a war of wits with the rest of the world. If we are to maintain our leadership and position as leader of the free world we need to do one thing above all else - we need an educated population. We need a population that can think creatively. We need a population with imagination. We need a population of doers AND hearers. We need a population that understands propaganda and can tell the difference between fact and spun fact. We need a population that knows their math and can read and write well. We need a population that knows their nation's history and understands our liberties were fought for and not given.
Ignorance is out there competing with me for your brain. Ignorance wants you sluffing school. Ignorance wants you tied to your ipod and video games. Ignorance wants you to think that book smarts are stupid and street smarts are the only thing you really need. Ignorance wants you to think doing 'some' drugs is OK. Ignorance wants you to think morals are for religious fanatics. Ignorance wants you to believe that a lie here and there is OK and cheating is the way to get around a tough assignment. Ignorance wants to shut me up right now to keep you from hearing the truth. Well it won't shut me up.
We are in a war troops. Now that you know your enemy what will you do about it? For one hour every day I'm your general. I'm going to lead you into battle. Our enemy is your apathy so leave it at the door. Our enemies are the problems we work on the board. These aren't math problems. These are challenges to your future. We attack! If defeated we get up, brush ourselves off and attack again, and again, and again until we understand.
We will never surrender. We will never quit.
So Troops, are we ready for the day? Then let's get to work."
I'm not sure Adam will ever ask a question again but I think I made my point.
Now Troops, Let's get to Work.