I love Scrabble. It’s a combination of word puzzle and quick math that satisfies my very even-brained thinking (my SAT verbal and math scores were nearly identical). Also, Scrabble’s element of chance makes the game an analogy for life and teaching.
Sometimes, you just get a crappy rack–seven letters that you just can’t do much with. Usually, it’s a propensity of vowels. Few things make me angrier than drawing a Scrabble rack that looks less like words and more like a line from “Old McDonald Had a Farm” (EIEIO. You still with me? Good.)
But crappy racks happen. Probability dictates that you’ll draw a handful of vowels to go along with that useless V every once in a while. It’s inevitable.
I get crappy racks teaching, too. I sometimes draw the kid with severe anger management issues. I draw a few kids still (not) reading at a 5th grade level. I draw a blanket of snow on the day my kids’ projects were supposed to be presented. Last week, I drew a severe rainstorm that knocked out my yearbook staff’s computers on the day of their deadline.
The point, friends, is not to complain, though (although teachers do it better than anyone). “I’d rather light a candle than curse your darkness.” No, I’m thinking that, like Scrabble, there are ways to deal with those crummy racks of teaching.
I’ve got a few suggestions up my sleeve, and I think each might deserve its own post. For now, I’ll just leave you with the clever title of my multi-part series:
Sonny’s Tips for Dealing with Unfortunate-ness on the Storied Fields of Education or Scrabble