Saturday, September 28, 2013

Telemarketers always enjoy a call to my house

UPDATE! 3rd call added! - Nov 6 2013!

Somehow, people love it when I’m a jerk to telemarketers. I posted a few of my recent interactions with a few calls, and people on facebook gave me more “likes” than I’ve ever gotten before. Somehow, when a telemarketer calls me, I always go into a character of an old grandma who doesn’t understand half of what is said and asks ridiculous questions. With that in mind, I thought I’d post a few transcripts of these phone interactions on here. These are real, written as soon as I hung up the phone (so they’re fairly word-for-word). Remember, these people called ME! It’s not like I was seeking them out!!

Call 1 (happened on Sep 20th):

Telemarketer: “Hello, I would like to talk to you about a low-interest offer on a credit card.”

Me: “Yes-sa I want a credit for my cat to for her.”

Telemarketer: “You what?”

Me: “I want my cat to have credit card and I spend all money and then I kill cat.”

Telemarketer: “What?”

Me: “You know, kitty meow-meow?”

Telemarketer: “You spent all your money on a cat and then you killed your cat?”

Me: “No, no, no, no. I want to put credit card under my cat’s name and spend all the money and then kill the cat.”

Telemarketer: “You want to put a credit card under your cat’s name and then kill your cat?”

Me: “Yes-sa, that.”

Telemarketer: “What is your cat’s name?”

I started laughing too hard at this point. Maybe she was joking, but she said it like she was actually going to put a credit card under my cat’s name. I hung up.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

How Do We Get Students to Read Rather than Simply Use Spark Notes?

I recently filled out an application for a job asking me what I wish I could improve upon as a teacher. I wrote that I wished I knew how to get students to actually read, rather than just look up book/story summaries on Wikipedia or SparkNotes.

I feel like, with cell phones, the Internet, etc… kids today are all about the immediate. They need to know things now. They want everything to be short and sweet. Even YouTube videos are too long for kids today; they all use Vine, which is a video platform for shorts that can be a maximum of 6 seconds in length. SIX SECONDS! That’s the attention span of kids today.

As a teacher, when I ask my students to read an entire novel, I feel like I only have six short seconds to make them enjoy it before they get bored and quit. How can I ask them to sit down and spend time reading, when almost every work of literature has a summary posted somewhere on the Internet? It only takes about six seconds to look up a summary; it takes hours and hours to read a novel.

I had a very special teacher in high school that saved me from living a life without reading. It was my senior year, my final semester. I hated English class, but I needed one more “literature” credit to graduate. I took one that looked easy, “Appreciation of Literature.” I figured I could SparkNotes all the novels, since I had already been doing that in my other classes. However, at the time, SparkNotes was still new, and it didn’t have the first book that my teacher gave me. It was called 1984, and I had never known that books could be so sickly amazing.

Up until that point, my teachers had given me nothing fun to read. I had spent my entire childhood with works like, The Scarlett Letter, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Frankenstein, Tom Sawyer, and To Kill A Mockingbird. As an adult, I can appreciate these books (although I still think that To Kill A Mockingbird is quite frankly a boring read, regardless of the good message). However, these books are hard to digest as a kid. They are wordy and have dull starts with little action.

I’m not here to hate, but to explain that I understand why, giving those sorts of books, a child might be put off from reading. But, when I first started on 1984, it set me off on an adventure through all sorts of books like that. That teacher got me reading, because she knew what kind of book would turn me into a reader.

However, I probably would have tried to Spark Notes it if I could have. I’m not sure how I’d even get a kid to open a book up today and try it. I guess personal excitement is a start. My energy will feed theirs. I think, also, personalizing the availability of books they actually want could help. Wouldn’t it be nice if the students could actually select what they’re interested in?

I don’t know, this post is only a beginning to that conversation. If you’re a teacher, leave a comment and share your success stories of how you got your students to read. If you’re a student, tell me what would actually get you reading.

Thanks for stopping by my blog!