Monday, May 19, 2008

Oh Boy, School Projects

I have two current gripes about elementary school science reports. Let's discuss them, shall we?

1. It's the same old story: it doesn't matter how many books you have on giraffes or zebras or echidnas, the first kid through will take them all so kids 2 through n get nothing. Then they can't believe that we don't have any books on giraffes or zebras or echidnas. Since the report is due tomorrow there is no time to have a hold sent over. Rinse, repeat.

2. Some local teacher with a great sense of humor has assigned obscure birds to her students and has told them to go to the library and get a book or two on their semi-mythical creature. Since the teacher said "go to the library," the students, or most likely the parents, have a hard time believing that we wouldn't have a full shelf on their little birdie.

Modern Research Methods. A Play in One Scene.
Scene opens in a small library. A Deskslave (middle-aged man with graying hair and hunched shoulders)is busily typing away at an elderly computer. Patron (12-year-old boy dressed like a skater, permanent sneer etched on his young face) approaches the Deskslave.

Patron. I need a book on the Reticulated Pie-Belly of Borneo.
Deskslave. Kinda doubt we have a complete book on it. Let me see if...
Patron. My teacher said you'd have a book on it.
Deskslave. We might--I'm checking the catalog. Uhhh...sorry no Reticulated anything. Let's see...
Patron. My teacher said you'd have a book on it. I want the book.
Deskslave. I don't doubt that the teacher said that we did, but we don't. I doubt there is any book on it anywhere. Let's check in Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia and see if we can at least get some information about habitat and...
Patron. I'm supposed to get a book. Doesn't another library have a book on the Reticulated Pie-Belly? A bigger library...a real library?
Deskslave. When I checked it was the whole County system. How much time do you have? Maybe we could do an interlibrary loan.
Patron. It's due tomorrow.

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