Monday, February 19, 2007

Alexander Hamilton and I have a "History" thing going on.

I am such a freakin' teacher! I have this terrible habit, and if you're near me - anywhere near me- you need to be made aware of it. I'm a hopeless know-it-much of such stupid little trivial things and I like to share my knowledge - without asking your permission! It's a teacher thing. I swear to God, and He knows me - made me. I will teach at the drop of a coin! I will teach without any reason whatsoever!

I went to the store to day and I had a goal to find 5 students under the age of 30 that knew who was on the $10 bill. NO ONE DID. DAMN! Do you know how disheartening it is to find that NO ONE in the city of Edmond, OK that I asked, knew whose face has graced the 10-spot for umpteen years now? It was terribly upsetting. I took 5 $10.00 bills, I went to store after store, Starbucks (3 of them), Panera Bread, Foot Locker, Victoria's Secret (oh, but I did get 5 panties for $25.00 and a really cool mini-dog, so that one worked out for me.) NOT ONE person under the age of 30 could tell me who was on the $10.00 bill. I was willing and able to give out all 5 bills if anyone had been able to tell me - without looking.

So, here's what I did. I told a guy that Alexander Hamilton was on the $10.00, then I challenged him to find out how Hamilton died. I told him I would be seated in front of Hot Topic for 10 minutes and if he could tell me, I would give him $10.00. He never came back. Not worth asking I guess. So, there I sat - and I wondered, andI pondered, has our educational system failed to the point that no one really cares who is on the bill? Why Hamilton anyway? Why not Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, JFK, or maybe even Einstein! Hamilton wasn't a president, neither was Benjamin Franklin...what about Sam Houston? He would strike a great pose for the money. But I digress.

Finally - I took my little side show to the college library, hoping that among the aisles of books, and scores of computers all being used that someone could be bothered to earn a little free cash just for having listened a few times in their History Class. That's when I saw her! A little girl about 8 years old - reading a book! I asked her mother if I could test her a little for the chance to get a real $10.00 bill. Her mother was excited to be asked, and she agreed. Her name - Maria. So, I sat next to Maria and I asked her if she could spell "Alexander Hamilton". She did. I asked her if she could use the internet. She did that too - and within a few minutes little Maria knew more about Hamilton than just how he died, and that he wasn't a president, and that he was the genteel face that we see everytime we pick up an old or new $10.00 bill. Maria then told me that Benjamin Franklin wasn't a real president, that George W's middle name was not Washington, and that Washington wasn't the real first president because she learned last Friday in school that a Swedish man was asked to serve, but she couldn't remember his name.

I was so excited to see her face when she told me these things - I asked her mother if she could have $20.00 instead of $10.00 and she nodded. She added "Maria - you learned today that education can be fun, it can be helpful, and it can be rewarded." I took the other $30.00 home with me and I drilled the hell out of my own three kids for about 30 minutes over the past 43 presidents, their wives, their missions, their achievements, their follies - and I asked them to do me this one favor - to never forget that a base education is indeed only a base! It is MEANT to be built on. They each earned $10.00 for putting up with their mom today!

God bless our president today!

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