There is such a thing as Universal Knowledge. There are just some things that we all "know." We might find ourselves a bit lost in certain social situations or when exploring other cultures, I'll admit this. But, for the most part, we can all pretty much wander around knowing what things are, what stuff means and that it is poor form to pick your nose at the salad bar.
Parts of our lives, though, are governed by Specialized Knowledge. This is usually Career Stuff. There are oodles of things I don't need to know. I don't have to be able to define everything. For example, I will probably never, ever have to use terms like "glucose drip," tensile strength," or "fiduciary" at any point in my work-a-day life. And I almost never have to call anyone "Mr. President."
You may need to use those terms. I do not. I have my own Specialized Knowledge. For example, I know this:
When there is a large group of middle schoolers gathered in the hallway and all looking in the same direction, something of note is happening.
Impressive, no? Get this one:
When that same group of middle schoolers is gathered in the hallway, looking in the same direction and bearing expressions ranging from excitement to outright glee, something very, very bad is about to happen.
There is no class on this subject at Teacher School. You just kind of pick it up as you go along. It's very handy knowledge to have. I unearthed this bit of data from the Smart Stuff Bank this morning as I was patrolling the halls of my school, desperately trying to locate the half of my homeroom that had yet to show up. I saw The Gathering. I took note of The Synchronized Gazing. I prayed to every deity that might possibly have some scrap of hope to offer me that I might not see The Glee.
But I did.
And so investigated. It was a fight a-brewin'. Worse, it involved one of my students. Even more worser, it was The Kid Who Really, Really Tries To Do Better. I did my duty as an educator, interrupted what looked like a Swing In Progress and convinced my student to walk away. I will leave out the juicy details out of respect for the combatants, but teen-aged hormones were flying everywhere and the language was...saucy.
Within the hour, no fewer than four people commended me on my bravery and deft handling of the situation. Which was fraught with wrongs, by the way. Unless you know for an absolute certainty that you have a good enough relationship with a kid, you don't ever, ever, ever get between two of 'em when they are fighting. Are we very clear on this? Kids big. Sheepie small. Sheepie was working on sheer confidence in the goodwill of one kid. Sheepie didn't know the other one and was hoping for the best...
That judgement call aside, I couldn't help but ponder something at that point. If there were that many people around to witness the scuffle then...
Where the heck were they????? Why was I the only one to notice a large group of kids exhibiting clear glee? And who elected me the School Referee?
I'm glad I knit. Knitting is soothing except when it isn't. But today it was and I finished the ribbing on my sock-in-progress while I contemplated adding more weight training to my workout routine. Apparently I'm going to be adding security terminology to my Specific Knowledge Base and I probably should have the muscle to back it up.
I sometimes marvel over the fact that Mommy Sheep raised two kids and that both of us were, at one point or another, middle schoolers. I like to think that we were good ones and I don't think that we ever got into any fist fights. Still, I suppose we offered up our share of challenges. So on this, her birthday, I extend my best wishes for a wonderful day and any apologies that might be required for my middle school years. Happy Birthday, Mommy Sheep!
Keep an eye on the mail. I've done the math and it does not appear that getting your card to you on time is within my scope of Specialized Knowledge. But isn't it nice that I can duck a punch?