Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A Dr. Seuss Themed Smackdown (Yes, You Read Correctly)

 When I was in nursery school, one of my teachers was named Ms. Geisel.  I was always told that she was Dr. Seuss' cousin or -in law something or whatever, but I didn't care about those details...all I heard was my teacher belonged to the same family as Dr. Seuss!  And if that's not hot when you're 32 years old 4 years old, I don't know what is. 

Natch, I've been thinking about Dr. Seuss today because it's his birthday.  I miss celebrating today with my friends - Dr. Seuss' birthday was a holiday I could really get behind, you know?  I can practically smell the stench aroma of green eggs and ham wafting down the hall from kindergarten classrooms as I type this.  I mean, Gertrude McFuzz might be one of my all time favorite read alouds.  Ever.  EVER.  I actually thought about wandering down to the garage today to fish that particular story out of my personal library and reading it...you know, since I'm so down in the dumps about Mr. I Like To Fire People Duncan's latest escapades.

If you've been reading things around here lately, you'll know that I'm trying to get back my mojo, searching for my groove, desperate to make a urine joke or douche reference around here.  Basically, I've been searching for the boot straps on my fabulous high-heeled winter booties, so I can pull myself up by them and get out of my little funk.  But alas, my mood has been somber.  

Then I came across this gem from the man himself:

"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."
- Theodore Seuss Geisel a.k.a Dr. Seuss

And I knew that it was okay for me to be in a funk, to speak my mind and to want to scream in frustration about the educational state of affairs lately.   Because you all matter in my mind, and (so far) you don't seem to mind.  (And if you do, thanks for tolerating me thus far...)

Which made my mind wander to another one of my favorite Dr. Seuss books - Hooray for Diffendoofer Day.  Dr. Seuss developed the storyline and characters before his death in 1991, but Jack Prelutsky and Lane Smith helped to finish the manuscript so that it could be published.

So I made that trip down to the garage and grabbed these old faves.  Basically, the man is a freaking genius.

If you're not familiar with Hooray for Diffendoofer Day, it's the story of a group of children at the Diffendoofer School who have some unusual teachers with unusual teaching methods.  In a nutshell, the children at the Diffendoofer School are having real experiences, living life, learning to question...basically Dewey's wet dream.  However, one day, they find out that they must take a test and if they fail this test, their beloved school will be shut down, forcing them to go to the school in nearby Flobbertown.

An excerpt:
"It's miserable in Flobbertown,
They dress in just one style.
They sing one song, they never dance,
They march in single file."

Basically, the poor snooks over at Flobbertown local are suffering through what I am assuming is a highly scripted curriculum geared toward test prep and nothing more.

SOUND FAMILIAR?

The teachers at the Diffendoofer School reassure their students with this bit of brilliance:

"We've taught you that the earth is round,
That red and white make pink.
And something else that matters more -
We've taught you how to think."

I mean,  SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!  Talk about hitting the nail on the freaking head, because OF COURSE these kids ultimately pass the test with flying colors.  OF COURSE THEY DO.   Because good, solid teaching is the best test preparation there is.

Ya hear that, Arne Duncan??  It's you against the Seuss and I think school children around the country will join me in saying that this is ONE OBVIOUS CHOICE.  (So suck it!) (That last part was just from me, not the school children.)

So Happy birthday Dr.  Seuss.  And thank you. 

Hooray for Diffendoofer Day!Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories Anniversary EditionHooray for Diffendoofer Day!

10 comments:

Andy said...

Dr. Seuss rocks! Luv Green Eggs and Ham! Dr Seuss was a Trending Topic on Twitter today http://bit.ly/98RjsK

ChiTown Girl said...

You have no idea how much I've been LOVING the Arne-bashing the last couple of days. You freakin' rock!!! He, however, sucks.

tesstrue said...

You've hit the nail on the head. Amen! Shouting it from the rooftops! So, party on, Wayne!

Stu said...

That's one of my favorite Seuss quotes ("Be who you are..."). It's so good for so many things. I'm glad you found it because it is so right for you right now. You don't have to be funny all the time. You don't have to stop crying in the shower. And most important you don't have to stop screaming about the mass injustice being done to students, teachers, parents and the regular people of the country. We don't mind...in fact, we appreciate it. Someone needs to speak up for Public Education...many someones.

I have to agree with ed notes online. He has one year on me...I've only spent 34 years in public education (and this might be the last, actually)...but I, too, have seen a lot of teachers. Most of them have been pretty good. I think, though, that the public has been led to believe that the only good teachers are those who increase test scores. The truth, which has been repeated in these pages so often over the last few days, is that the teachers who are being fired are being sacrificed because those with power can't admit that they have failed such a large number of our citizens.

Don't let them break your spirit. Keep writing...keep screaming...all of us, wherever and whenever we can.

"Strength and courage aren't always measured in medals and victories. They are measured in the struggles we overcome. The strongest people are not always the people who win, but the people who don't give up when they lose."

Literacy Teacher said...

Wow.. teachers think alike! I put the same Dr. Seuss quote on my blog! I loved your post today!

Ginger Snaps said...

I do love that quote by the Suesster! Our school wide theme this year is "Oh, the Places You'll Go," by Dr. Suess! I love it!

Beth said...

I love Hooray for Diffendoofer Day AND I use to kick start my Grade 8 Writer's Workshop every year because even our big friends love some Dr. Suess.

They also love The Butter Battle book when I am teaching about a war or conflict!

Lorinda said...

My school district's new superintendent is making the rounds reading Diffendoofer in classrooms! Change comes slowly , but for a district previously mired in all sorts of layers of ridiculous testing and huge adversity between district office and teachers, this feels like progress....

Gina and the Gang said...

I love this post, and it's analogy to the mass-firing. "Think low and think high, oh the thinks you can think up if only you try!" Dr. Suess

Mimi said...

Thanks ChiTown Girl...you know a little verbal bashing does feel good sometimes...now to move it on to something more productive...

By the by - can you imagine if Arne Duncan actually READ THIS? I know that he prob has better things to do, but HILAR image!

Lorinda - I would DIE if my former principal did that - how fabulously refreshing. I hope it's not all dog and pony times...for all of us.

Gina - fab use of Dr. Seuss yourself!!

Thanks again for listening (reading?) and all your amazing points.

Who's Peeking?