Thursday, May 07, 2009

FFA, Fish, Flu, and A Smile

  • Tonight is the annual FFA banquet. I've attended many of these annual events since 2 of my 3 children participated in FFA from middle school through high school. I've took the banquet duty the last two years as Mrs. FC had other obligations. Tonight, I am the one who does not have to go, and she has the duty. Nothing against FFA, it's a great organization, but their ceremonies are scripted down to the number of breaths the speakers take ... or so it seems. The ceremonial script is robotic and exactly the same each year. The end result is that after the first FFA ceremony you attend, they are all the same, so much so, that you find yourself numbly mumbling each kids script as they step up to speak. If I could change one thing about this great organization, it would be that rote recitation.

  • My classroom aquaculture tank is ready for fish finally, but the budget is shot, so I am heading out to the creeks and ditches after school today to bring back something, ... anything, to place in the tank for this last month of school. This is my excuse for not attending the FFA banquet tonight.

  • The swine flu is consuming much of Mrs. FC's time these days. It's funny, but you can almost track the flu's progress in Florida by the way her work day has lengthened over the past few weeks. Last night she was still dealing with swine flu related reporting at 10:30 pm when I called to check on her. She's the one responsible for our county's public health nurses, so the flu is her primary focus now. I find her unpaid overtime especially irritating as just this week the state announced she and her nurses would have their pay reduced by 2% as a budget cutting effort.

  • This has not been a good photography week ... notice the lack of a photo today? In truth, I'm not sure I had any fun this week, although I did get a smile happened like this ... this is convoluted so hang on ...

In Marine Science class, I started an ethics discussion with the question, " Is it ever okay to break the law?"

"If the law is unjust", they replied.

"Who decides? If I think bank laws are unjust is it okay for me to rob a bank?"

"No. It can't be for just an individual need and you can't use violence."

"Give me an example."

"Like the civil rights movement."

Got 'em!

Now I could wax poetic about the laws that were in effect when I was a child, the laws that would not allow you to swim in a pool, drink from a fountain, or sit at the Woolworth's lunch counter in St. Augustine, if you had too much melanin in your skin.

Very brave people broke the law then to draw attention to unjust laws and changed a nation.

What does this have to do with marine science?

I was about to show them the opening episode of Animal Planet's "Whale Wars", in which the crew of the Sea Shepherd pushes the legal envelope in their attempts to interrupt Japanese whaling efforts in the Antarctic.

I wanted them to question both the anti-whaling activists tactics as well as the question of taking whales at all in this day and age. I was hoping to stir them up one way or the other.

Tomorrow, we will watch one more episode that shows more aggressive tactics by the activists and then afterward, we will have our ethical discussion.

I am so looking forward to it.

So where was the smile today?

Prior to our video, I described the history of whaling, the effects of the early Greenpeace activists, and the mid-80's whaling moratorium. This was to set the stage before viewing the show, as the days of "Save The Whales" is ancient history to them ... that was way back in the '70's dude.

Along the way, I tried to stress the centuries old Japanese tradition of using whale meat so my own suppressed (for the moment) bias against modern whaling was not tainting the discussion.

Somewhere in all of that I had tossed in a related personal story set in my high school days.

One of my very bright, very perky female students waited until I was done and then announced, "Mr. FC, when I think of you as a high school student, I see you as dorky in a cool way."

It struck me so funny, I had to stop and go write it down.

How did she know?


cndymkr / jean said...

"dory in a cool way", high praise from a high school kid.

Pablo said...

"dorky in a cool way"

That about sums it up, doesn't it?

kevin said...

Yeah, dorky.

lisa said...

You defiantly make up for not having no photos. I love to read what you have to say. I learn something every time you write.

caroline said...

My daughter was the recipient of a backhanded compliment like thatdirected toward me. One of my students from last year informed her when he figured out who she was that "your mom is good sh*t".
She didn't know what to say, and I don't think I can put it on my resume. Those kind of kidspeak compliments speak volumes sometimes.
Gotta love those kids.

Ericka said...

well, i'd have probably said 'cool in a dorky way,' but the sentiment is probably the same. ;-)

today was odd day - 5/7/09 - and i celebrated, so i'm right there with you.

misti said...

Interesting discussion on the whaling. I have long decided not to support Greenpeace and the Sea Shepherds because of their tactics. Of course I disagree with whaling, but I'm not sure I compare their tactics to the civil rights movement.

Floridacracker said...

Tru dat.

I like "dorky in a fearless cool way."

The dorky adds spice to the cool.

Thanks! Tonight I actually got some neat photos to share tomorrow, so I feel better now. Glad you like the textpart too!

We both know THAT was high praise. Congratulations. And down here it is teacher appreciation week, so thank you for what you do.

It was odd day wasn't it? That struck me heading in to work today. It rang true to me because when my babies were little, one year I used their ages as an access code at work ...5-7-9.

I can't get behind either one a hundred percent. I worked for GP as a seaturtle patrol leader in the 80's and that was pretty practical conservation. I respected their early antiwhaling antics, but they have gone over the edge in many ways. The shepherds are focused on one thing, the ocean. I think in the same room, the Sea Shepherd group and I would disagree on many things, but I find myself respecting their single minded focus to save whales. Definitely not a black and white issue for me.
I do see lots of parallels to the civil rights movement having been a teen in the desegregation chaos of the late 60's and early 70's in the south.

Nancy Ortiz said...

Somebody gots a problem with dorks? FC is cool. Forget the dork stuff. He's not old enuff.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like something Junior's girlfriend would say... Am I right??


tsiya said...

Dorky? I'll have to ask around, my kid brother may remember! There are no secrets in St. John's county!

Floridacracker said...

Thank you! Hear that y'all, I'm cool.

Actually, a previous girlfriend ... circa 6th grade ...

True words! I could not get away with anything back then ... or did I?

Doug Taron said...

Back when I was in middle school it would have been so cool to have this kind of discussion in Marine Science class. Of course, it would have been even cooler to have a marine science class in which to have the discussion. Sounds like you're having fun with this one.

Bill said...

Show them the ROTC pictures with the hair! We were all so cool!


Floridacracker said...

This class is high school, but I agree. I wish my teachers did more stimulating things back then.

Truly, we were unique. Poor Major Butts ... he really didn't like our long hair much!

Floridacracker said...

Billy, well I addressed that last one to me, when I meant you, so maybe I am a dork after all!