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On Reading

I was observing another teacher’s classroom a few weeks ago. They were studying forms of government — anarchy, theocracy, monarchy, democracy, … The discussions that flowed in that class were nothing like what we get in mine. After all, how excited can students get discussing how the discriminant in the quadratic formula determines the number and types of solutions — whether they are rational or irrational or complex or… (You see what I mean?)

Anyway, they were talking about absolute monarchy. The teacher had some notes in her power point that the students were dutifully copying down — clearly a procedure that is a standard part of every day.

A girl raised her hand.

“Is Lichtenstein an example of an absolute monarchy?” she asked.

Someone in the back of the room said, “Geez, how do you know so much!?”

The teacher paused for a moment and then suggested, “…because she reads!”