Negligent Motorist = 1, Lance = 0

Yesterday, the following events unfolded while riding my motorcycle:

  1. I notice a car rolling towards towards the road at a TD Bank exit driveway—the driver isn’t looking left (i.e. my direction).
  2. The driver doesn’t look my way, keeps rolling, then suddenly turns left into the road directly in front of me.
  3. I stop short. The momentum sends my motorcycle down on its right side, and me forward, also on my right side.
  4. I’m on the ground now and can’t move, but it’s for an OK reason—I realize that my helmet is stuck between the pavement and bumper of the driver’s car.
  5. The driver gets out of the car and tries to move me (idiot!).
  6. I take some time to watch horrified rubberneckers looking downward at a motorcycle on the ground and its rider partly under a car.
  7. After the disorientation dissipates, I get bored not doing anything under the car, extract myself, take off my gear, and take in the situation.
  8. Motorcycle doesn’t start (it won’t shift BELOW 3rd gear—the one it was in before going down).
  9. I wrap things up with the officer, get the moto towed, start calling insurance companies, and text Bob Patrick. No, Bob is not my emergency contact, but he just happened to have caught a typo in Discipulus Illustris, which led to a nice suggestion (i.e. Quō in annō es? for Quō in gradū es?)

I’m fine. I have a sprained wrist, and was told that I’d be quite sore in the coming days. Yeah, that seems about right. I predict that it will feel like I hit the ground going 20, and then got stuck under a car’s bumper. On that note, I’d like to thank HJC for making their helmets that do their job, and Dainese for their textile jackets with armour inserts—both considerably sexy-looking as well. I shake my head at the fools in NH and CT who ride without a helmet, and anyone who thinks it’s OK to ride wearing just a T-shirt because it’s 90 degrees out. Shame!

Why is he writing about this? <Jim Gaffigan voice>

Since I was doing curriculum work at the high school just before this all happened, I’ve been thinking about how all that work seems less important—like waaaaaay less important than just about anything else I’m interested in doing. Even making sure I get another pint of those wild Maine blueberries they’re selling right now seems more important than planning what grammatical feature Latin IV students should know after 12 weeks of instruction. Naturally, my first thoughts were to just let go of every intellectual pursuit and head-to-head I’m currently involved in or that’s heading down the pike, do things I enjoy,  and just teach out of the book.

That last part is troublesome. Why would I consider following a textbook syllabus as some kind of professional surrender after a brush with serious injury? For me that’s exactly what it would feel like. Other teachers can do whatever they want because their experience and learning aren’t mine (i.e. I cannot unexperience, or unlearn what I know about teaching languages).

The truth is that teaching for acquisition with CI is hard. Abandoning it and using the textbook is a lot easier than co-creating stories, limiting vocabulary, creating embedded readings and parallel stories, asking personalized questions, defending why we need CI, and convincing others to just let us do our thing. Keith Toda frequently mentions how he bailed after a few weeks…look at what he’s doing now! It all does sound like too much, but the daily workflow is still less work and more enjoyable than conventional language teaching. I still have a better classroom experience than if I were to assign translations, give incessant corrective feedback, quiz grammar, mark based on correct/incorrect, and watch the slower kids drop out or feel unsuccessful. I don’t want that.

If you’re feeling he pressure of teaching with CI, just relax a little bit, do something you enjoy at home, try one new thing at a time in the classroom, and feel better about coming to school each day knowing that more students will feel successful.




6 thoughts on “Negligent Motorist = 1, Lance = 0

  1. Wow Lance, glad to hear you’re alright! That sounds really intense. May your beginning of the year be filled with joyous Latin banter. And also after that brush with death, as you point out, more appreciation for the simple things most of us take for granted everyday.

  2. A. I am SO glad that you are okay except for a very sore wrist. Double gratias to the maker of your helmet.

    B. YES, YES, YES. CI teachers, enjoy something you love, this weekend, and try just one new thing next week.

    C. This work can be so gratifying, and it takes a lot of time–not a lot of time today, but a lot of time in the long haul. Wait until you’ve been doing CI for 20 years, and then assess what it means.

    D. Lance, I am SOOOOOO glad you are okay and survived this nasty experience. Oh yes. That’s the same as A above. So be it.

  3. Wow. I echo your other colleagues above.
    Onto a brighter topic – what kind of story (script) will come of your very exciting brush with disaster?
    didn’t look, turned, fell…

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