Monday, January 24, 2011

The Making of a Philosopher

I have a seventh grader who is a bad student, but incredibly smart and witty. He is secretly one of my favorites, and I think he is a potential philosopher. I don't think his parents support his philosophical interests though. Last time I talked to them at the parent-teacher conference his Dad's response to my comment was: "Yeah, Norman thinks he is a deep thinker... in his head." and then recommended I make sure he is not reading his science magazines under the desk during my class like he does in all the rest of his classes.

We recently had a seventh grade test, and he failed it. Apparently, he misunderstood the assignment. So I wrote an e-mail to his mother about this:
"Subject: Spanish

Norman did not do as well as he could have done on his Spanish Test. I think he did not understand the assignment in a major portion of the test, and this did not benefit his score. I really want Norman to get a good grade. If it is alright with you, I could give him a take-home version of this exam so that he can re-do it. I also want to ask him to do a vocabulary presentation to the class, if he is interested, for some extra credit."

And I got this reply from his mother, who also misunderstands Norman's philosophical mind...

"Hello Ms. Drake,
I had a feeling Norman didn't do so well when he came home saying the test was easy and that the answers to the questions were in the questions themselves. I figured he didn't understand the directions.Please let me know how we can help him understand the work better.
Thank you."

I know it's too early to tell, but I think Norman is exhibiting early Heideggerian thinking. I think he deserves an A.