Thursday, September 3, 2009

A Winning Season (Richmond, VA)

I really should stop what I'm doing right now and run out to buy a lottery ticket. My luck has been incredible lately, and I should spend the $2? $5? or whatever a ticket costs, because I am absolutely going to win.

You've probably already read about the prize I won when I came back from Mexico. But I didn't tell you about what happened a mere four days later.

I was at a conference, and we were asked to jot down on an index card four statements about ourselves. Three had to be true, and one, a lie. We were given five minutes to show our cards to as many people as possible. Each person was to read the statements and guess which was false. If the reader guessed wrong, he or she had to write his/her name on the back of the card. If the guess was correct, we'd go on to the next person, hoping to get as many signatures as possible.

My statements were:

1) I was born in Florence, Italy.

2) I speak four languages reasonably well.

3) I have several recipes for cooking guinea pigs.

4)I am a failed archaeologist.

Only one person identified my fabrication. (Hints: I was born on Long Island. Hablo espanol. Parlo italiano. Je parle francais. Guinea pig tastes like chicken. I can't tell one layer of dirt from the next. ) I received the most signatures (making me the most accomplished liar....), therefore, I won a book filled with strategies for working with elementary school children with different learning styles. Everyone in the room -- the teachers, assistant teachers, and tutors -- wanted that book, but I had the good fortune to win it.

Although I can use some of the strategies with my adult English as a second language students,
I do not teach children.

Yesterday, I won yet another prize. I had just made two presentations to a total of three (3) people at one school and had dashed into a training session at a school in another part of town. After settling down and picking up materials, I was told to fill out a form and hand it in. I did so, right at the moment at which the presenter had picked up all the other forms -- in order to give out prizes. He indicated that I should place my sheet on top, but I slid it into the middle of the pile and said, "I really need to win."

The presenter said, through his microphone, "She only just arrived, but she wants to win. Ha, ha!"

He shuffled the sheets, picked one and announced that so-and-so had won a doohickey! One of my other colleagues got a summary of a chapter of the book the guy was presenting from! Somebody else got two summaries! Then, he selected for the grand prize: all sorts of books, gimmicks, and doodads dealing with cooperative learning strategies for teaching children, K-12! All the k-12 teachers wanted that prize. Guess who won?

Although some of the strategies, gimmicks, and doodads will work with my adult students, I don't teach children.

Despite the fact that all my colleagues who teach children and covet my recent winnings hate me, I feel pretty lucky. While my luck holds, I think I should head to a casino, perhaps wagering my house and all my worldly possessions for the chance to win big. At the very least, I should run over to the closest 7-11 and buy a lottery ticket, don't you think? Because at the rate I'm going, if I don't win back -- or buy -- the goodwill of my colleagues, my luck might just change for the worse.

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