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It’s an Allusion, Michael*

February 19, 2013
The scarlet ibis is a brilliantly colored bird found off the coast of South America whose diet dictates its color.

The scarlet ibis is a brilliantly colored bird found off the coast of South America whose diet dictates its color. Thanks to Frank Kramer for the photo.

We had a substitute teacher in class. Subs suck because they don’t know how to tie what they’re teaching back to other things the class has learned. It’s not the sub’s fault. But kids miss out on great learning reinforcement opportunities because the sub doesn’t have any context. Because I’m a volunteer in class and not the lead teacher, I hang back so the sub can establish herself as the lead teacher. It’s always a struggle. You can tell the sub hates it and the kids feel a little lost.

This particular day the sub started reviewing vocabulary for James Hurst’s The Scarlet Ibis, a tender short story narrated by an older brother who pushes his physically challenged little brother Doodle a little too hard one day. And Doodle dies. The kids hadn’t read the story yet. We were just going over vocabulary and making predictions. One of the vocabulary footnotes was “Revelation.” As in the book of the Bible.

Sub: Revelation.

Morgan: It’s an allusion!

Sub: I don’t care what your religious preferences are. It’s in the story.

Morgan: It’s an allusion!

Sub: No, it’s not. It’s part of the Bible. It’s real.

Morgan: It’s an allusion.

Sub: I’ve already said it doesn’t matter if you believe in it or not, or if you believe in God or not. So are you just trying to get my attention? Because you’ve said that 3 times now, and now I’m giving you my attention. (She stops and stares at him.)

Morgan: An allusion.

Sub: That’s 4 times. (She’s furious now and the class is holding its collective breath.)

Morgan: An allusion.

Sub: That’s 5! (Holds her hand out counting with her fingers spread. SOOOO angry.)

Me: Excuse me, I don’t mean to interrupt, but Morgan’s right. It’s an allusion. A-L-L, not I-L-L. UH-lusion. It means it’s a reference to something well known. We’ve been studying allusions in class. He’s not trying to tell you it’s not real, he’s applying what we’ve been studying in class for the last 2 weeks.

The class erupts in a giggled sigh. The sub offers Morgan a gracious apology. Poor lady. Mortified. Red as a scarlet ibis.

*The title of this blog post is an allusion to my favorite show, Arrested Development.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. February 19, 2013 7:30 am

    so is it morgan or michael? 🙂
    you should give this post to the teacher and share with the students. oh, and go ahead and post it in the teacher’s lounge too. love this.

  2. February 19, 2013 2:14 pm

    …or cocaine.
    That’s a pretty good one.

  3. February 19, 2013 2:18 pm

    ha ha
    okay now i feel like a goober. i totally thought the video was an ad on your blog and skimmed right past it. i think i can get arrested development on netflix…

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