Day 13: Pedagogy

Word of the Day:



  1. the function or work of a teacher; teaching
  2. the art or science of teaching; education; instructional methods.

Alright.  Let’s do this:

Mrs. Macy Vasquez’s pedagogy was this:  The student ought to learn things the first time around.  If the student fails to do so, the student will be disciplined strictly but fairly until he or she decides that the material is important enough to be remembered.

This sounds like a grand and highly reasonable philosophy, doesn’t it?

Oh, it doesn’t to you either?  Good.  I’m not alone then.

The first time I heard this manifesto was my first day in class; I thought I had never heard anything so ridiculous in all my life.

I am now halfway through the second semester, and my initial disdain has been fully proven to be justified.

How, you ask?

I’ve been in detention every day this year, that’s how.  So has the entirety of the rest of my class.  For full understanding of this, you must first know that this is an honors class, and is therefore made up of nerds, geeks, stressed-out overachievers, and students desperate to please their parents (parents who reward the students well by putting a humiliating bumper sticker on their cars—this is also highly effective motivation for convincing one’s children to buy cars of their own).

Here we are: the honor students who spend all their time in detention.  The school thinks it’s odd that so many academically able students are miscreants, but the administration refuses to take our word for it: Mrs. Vasquez’s pedagogy is trouble.

Cara Kennaway



4 thoughts on “Day 13: Pedagogy

  1. Discussion question: how is it that this post managed to make me feel intense post-traumatic stress when I’ve never even been in detention or had a truly awful teacher?

  2. Joanna’s grandfather’s library was a glorious shrine dedicated to pedagogy. The shelves were lined with nothing but textbooks, encyclopedias, theses, manuscripts written in long-dead languages, and the like. Clearly the professorial old man was no great fan of fiction. It didn’t make for much of a library, in Joanna’s opinion.

    As a refuge from her family members, however, it was quite serviceable. She’d slipped out of the dining room as soon as dinner was over and come here, knowing that the various aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. gathered at the estate all couldn’t stand the somewhat musty and out-of-the-way room (and some of them, she was sure, had entirely forgotten it existed). Having employed this tactic before, Joanna already knew the location of the best reading nook, and had had the foreknowledge to bring along her own novel.

    She’d been reading happily for some minutes when the voice spoke at her elbow, causing her to jump halfway out of her seat.

    “Whatcha reading?”

    In her surprise, Joanna found herself unable to do anything but mutely hand the book to the strange, skinny young man. She’d never seen him before. He glanced over it and nodded approvingly.

    “Any good?” he asked.

    “Yeah,” she said, still staring at him in confusion. “Who are you?”

    “Your granddad’s new gardener.”


    Silence fell. He handed back her book and looked at her expectantly.

    She returned his gaze.

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