It became apparent last in class that I was the person in attendance who knew the most about the US Constitution [link removed] (click the link to view the complete text). This is sad, since I don’t really know that much. We got to the point last night where the teacher would ask the questions looking directly at me, and I didn’t answer a lot of them, hoping to not be the only person talking in class. I probably answered the most questions, though. It should be noted that there is at least one current Social Studies teacher in my class, and several people who are recent citizens (don’t they have to know at least some of that stuff to pass some sort of test?). Of course, there are also some people who are not citizens and are planning on returning to their home countries, so it’s understandable that they don’t know that much about our constitution (except that it was the subject of the second chapter we had to read for class, and the full text is in our textbook).
I tried to find you a good quiz to test your knowledge, but none of the ones I took really stood out. As a general rule, however, I got one wrong out of 15 (in the handful that I took).
During small group work last night, I said something about the Declaration of Independence being more interesting than the Constitution to read; it’s more emotional, more inspiring, more engaging. Plus, there’s some airing of dirty laundry that’s good stuff. The Constitution, on the other hand, is not set up to inspire, but to provide the guidelines for running a country. One of my classmates said, “you think the Constitution is interesting?” But, if you think about it, while it is a pretty dry read, parts of it are quite interesting if you think about how those rules affect the world around you, or in the case of the Amendments, what situations arose that motivated the changes. I also added that, as a future Social Studies teacher, I kind of have to find the Constitution interesting. Not that I’m obligated to, but it is my personal belief that history is actually quite interesting, despite how it’s often taught in school. I never had a teacher who made me want to learn history, but I’d like to be that kind of teacher. Part of that is finding the subject matter interesting or otherwise important myself, and part of that is finding the ways to communicate the importance and inspire interest in my students. Not that I’ve figured out how to do that yet, but I know I did a fairly good job of making the Old Testament interesting to quite a few junior highers, and it doesn’t seem that much different.