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Teaching the Unteachable Student

Last week Bret Stephens filed his weekly report card and declared that America has An Unteachable President, sighting Obama's entire list of foreign policy non-achievements as proof, and then did a little speculation on why the Prez is so... what's the word? Slow maybe?

This, along with other similar criticism from policy wonks who don't like the way the Middle East, Europe and Asia are collapsing in front of their eyes spurred our contemporary Marcus Aurelius to explain the assignment, once again, to his star pupils (the press).
“Our approach as the United States is not to see these as some Cold War chessboard in which we’re in competition with Russia,” Obama said. “Our goal is to make sure that the people of Ukraine are able to make decisions for themselves about their future, that the people of Syria are able to make decisions without having bombs going off and killing women and children … because a despot wants to cling to power.”
He's not willing to ask the people of Ukraine and Syria how they feel about "our goals" but I hope Bret Stephens and the other "challenging students" understand that as far as the President is concerned, he's not the "unteachable" one - they are.

Fortunately Nigel Francis wrote a book in 21012 titled Teaching the Unteachable Student: 50 Successful Strategies to Help Build Character Amongst Challenging High School Youth that provides some strategies that the current president might use to teach his lesson. Mr. Francis is not one of those mean, unpatriotic scolds who's been against BHO from the start but, on the contrary, he's a fan:
I've followed President Obama's rise to the White House from the moment he declared his candidacy in 2016. I have always been impressed with his ability to get things done despite the obstacles that lay before him. He and I share a very similar mindset - we are both not comfortable with the idea of giving up!
Before delving into the techniques a set of ground rule assumptions must be accepted, but once they are the real work of teaching can commence.

  1. Character is not fixed.
  2. Students desire success.
  3. We must encourage students to avoid deviant behaviors.

I think Barack is in full support of this worldview - some might quibble with his definition of "deviant behaviors" but let's not get hung up on that moral judgement stuff. Drug dealing, late term abortion, homosexuality, government dependency and other "gray issues" can wait when we're talking about the "fierce urgency of now" so let's table the deviancy and get down to business.

  • Rule #1 Building character is a requirement not an option
  • Rule #2 Remember, Rome was not built in a day
  • Rule #3 Education comes first, even in times of conflict
  • Rule #4 Organization, organization, organization

So far, so good. Obama knows there are imperatives, is patient, teaches even when the world is on fire and is, at heart, a community organizer. He should have great success with his unteachable students but when we look at some of the other rules we see a few weak spots in his methods.
Rule #7 Keep in mind that not all students are raised the same way
Rule #13 Create a classroom that is inviting
Rule #16 Provide up-to-date progress reports
Rule #20 Try to limit the number of days you are away
Rule #34 Help encourage your students to establish realistic goals
Rule #41 Remember, there is life beyond High School
Rule #46 Document misbehaviors
Rule #47 Email anyone!
Hey, no one's perfect, but on the whole there's a lot that our educator-in-chief could do to raise his game. And this is especially true of Rule #26 Timing is everything when it comes to constructive criticism. In this regard, BHO's timing is lousy and it really ruins whatever progress he makes when applying the other rules however erratically. Exhibit A:

First off, none of the "challenging students" want to hear this shit in the first place, but they especially don't want to hear it right after the massacre happens. All the brown nosed, apple polishing teachers pets love this "lesson" but it's makes the petulant, fidgety bad actors and class clowns bored and angry. It's especially frustrating for the misfits and wild ones because they actually read the homework assignment which said:
A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
The Teacher constantly insists that the students pass laws which are constitutionally forbidden, as though he doesn't understand the meaning of the constitution. But before he got this job he used to teach constitutional law - he's even sworn an oath to uphold the constitution so what gives?  He will stoop to any level - lie, shame, ignore - to teach them something that is impossible to accomplish. It's frustrating to the sad sacks shooting spit balls in the back row who can't understand A. what it is the teacher actually wants to do, B. how he could legally accomplish whatever that is, C. what the long term benefits of it would be. Someone is going to learn a lesson under these circumstances and I'm guessing that this time it might be the teacher. Well, on second thought, probably not.


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