First, Middle, Last?

Last night I attended an Open House of sorts at my son’s school. It was called Kino 101 Night (where Kino is the school’s name and you should be familiar with the rest of the title’s meaning). It was an opportunity for parents to experience what it’s like to spend a day at school. My son’s school follows a progressive education model (yay Alfie Kohn!) – so it’s very atypical of a traditional school day.

One of the activities available was learning to throw a pot in humanities class.  Yes, humanities not art class.  Why? I believe the teacher has incorporated this into his class as he spent many years traveling abroad to learn different techniques in various countries. I think it is a great way to illustrate the philosophy that ‘subjects’ are not roped off into boxes, independent of anything else- but flow and overlap all over the place.  Regarding a traditional model, Alfie Kohn says it best…

“In a word, learning is decontextualized. We break ideas down into tiny pieces that bear no relation to the whole. We give students a brick of information, followed by another brick, followed by another brick, until they are graduated, at which point we assume they have a house. What they have is a pile of bricks, and they don’t have it for long.”
― Alfie KohnPunished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A’S, Praise and Other Bribes

But really  – that’s a side note for this post.

After Ryan had demonstrated the ‘throwing of a pot’ technique – and made an amazing piece of art, he offered the wheel up for anyone to ‘have a go’.  Of course my arm shot straight up in the AIR.

I’m a first goer. I always have been.  We have to give an oral presentation? Ok – I’ll go first. We have to have all our teeth extracted? Ok, I’ll go first.  I cannot abide waiting.  If I love it or hate it; I have to do it and get it done. Procrastination makes me wacky.

I married a ‘go laster’ – I don’t know how THAT happened.  At least we aren’t jockeying for position, right?

So – what are you? Do you want to go first and be done? Do you like to wait until a few have gone before you? Are you more of a middle person? Or do you like to be the absolute LAST person up there?   And do you know why?

Going first - and having fun...and sweating a little...

Going first – having fun…and sweating a little…

About Rutabaga the Mercenary Researcher

I'm a research librarian for Public Television, story teller, bike commuter, baker, music fiend, lover of reading & books, mother, wife, friend - and many more descriptive adjectives and nouns.
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42 Responses to First, Middle, Last?

  1. Rohan 7 Things says:

    It’s all about context, when there’s a new or exotic food to be tasted I am absolutely a go-laster. But I remember one time during a school retreat we were all sat in a circle while the theme from Titanic played on a CD player and the teacher asked us to bless one another with some oils. For a minute that felt like an hour everyone just sat their silently and awkwardly.

    Then I decided to save the day. I stood up and blessed by friend, after that everyone else followed. The teacher thanked me afterwards for averting such a catastrophic scene.

    Unlike the Titanic I broke the ice, it didn’t break me baby!!


    ps. Love that quote by the way, excellent 🙂

    • Hee hee – I was reading about the exotic/strange food and thought “ahh – he’ll be a go-firster”…but surprise! Then I remembered the skinny … Scott would be a food go-laster (well, everything go laster) too.

      I can envision the awkward silence that ensued after that blessing request 🙂 – you have a good heart, Rohan.

      Thanks – I loved that quote too!

  2. klyse3 says:

    Definitely depends. I gauge the situation, decide how I want to be seen, or how I feel about it. Almost never last though…I prefer to be first, or soon after (2nd or 3rd). The same goes for classroom seating. Front row sometimes, but more often second or third row, almost always aisle for clear view of teacher. Never back. Who are these people who want go last or sit in the back?

  3. I want to go third. Not first. Not last. Third. My rationale for this odd preference is that I’m a an introvert who wants to perform– the introvert in me doesn’t want to be first, but I also don’t want to watch too many other people strut their stuff before I take my turn. I’m afraid I’ll start comparing what I’m going to do with what they’re doing and lose my nerve. Great question!

  4. I’m definitely a first-goer. If I’m made to wait, I get nauseous and throw up and make things miserable for everyone else.

  5. Twindaddy says:

    I’m a not-go-at-all-er. i don’t like to participate.

  6. I suppose I like the middle. I like to watch…observe, check it out. But, I’d rather go first than last any day!! So, how did your piece turn out? It sounds like a great school!

  7. CJ Fleming says:

    I’m a do it first gal if it’s something I really enjoy doing otherwise I’ll either just watch others or go last. I had the chance to learn how to train children archery which meant I had to be trained how to shoot as well. I absolutely love learning sports activities so I definitely was the first to try it. I’m like Horshack from Welcome Back, Kotter, (hand raised in air) “OOOOOOHHHHH, OOOOOOHHHHH, OOOOOOHHHHH” please let me go first!

  8. djmatticus says:

    I won’t volunteer, but I’m happy to go first and get it over with. Being done is the part I like the best, then I can relax and watch as everyone else takes their turns. The introvert in me makes it so… same reason I wouldn’t volunteer to go first even though I know I’d be happiest with that position.

  9. Carrie Rubin says:

    I definitely like to go first, but only because I want to get whatever it is over with. For example, if it’s a presentation, I want to go first, because I’m quaking in my boots, and I won’t be able to concentrate on the other talks if I’m anxious. On the other hand, if there’s a chance that I won’t have to do it at all? Then I’ll hold back and let the eager beavers go first. The more invisible I remain, the better. 🙂

  10. Kim says:

    I like to go first when it’s something I don’t want to do, like when I had to give oral presentations in school. That way it’s over and done and I can relax. If I can’t go first, then I like to go last. When 3 of us were testing for black belt, I chose to go last. I wanted to show off a little for the high-ranking teacher who critiqued us! No in the middle for me!

  11. MissFourEyes says:

    It depends on what it is. Anything art related “Me! Pick me!”. Oral presentation “Oh god, please don’t notice I’m here. I’m not here. I’m invisible.”

  12. leesa jackson says:

    for me last is best, as i like to watch what people do more than do things myself. also, especially if public speaking is involved, there’s always the great chance that some long winded person will take up all of the allotted time and i won’t have to get up there and stutter out the few inane comments my mind allows me to recall. and, having been brought up in the midwest, there is that residual “don’t be a showoff or go first or talk about yourself because it’s rude” thingie i’ve never been quite able to shake off…

  13. janet says:

    I will go first if I know how to do it and feel confident; otherwise, I am an observer of a few more and then I go…..that “looking good” thing. However, I did do Origami last night without watching anyone first……I am NOT a perfectionist with stuff like that (of course I am with many other things!) I have learned that FUN is a great experience and much more fulfilling than “looking good”. Love this post 🙂

  14. rossmurray1 says:

    I don’t mind going first but I don’t mind step aside for people who REALLY need to go first.
    Also: most women would be happy to have a husband who doesn’t, um, go first.

  15. El Guapo says:

    Please tell me your husband came up behind you and you did that whole bit from Ghost!

    First or last is context and mood based for me.

  16. I’m a person who wants to be a go firster, but I’m not very good at speaking up or putting myself forward, so I usually end up in the middle. Talk about wishy-washy!

  17. Smaktakula says:

    You know, it depends. If it’s uncomfortable or unpleasant, I like to knock it out right away. If not, I can wait.

    • Ah – someone that can exist in the GRAY. I’m way too black/white to have it be ok to wait in instance A but not in instance B….

      but I’m wishy-washy about other stuff … (not that you are wishy-washy – or waiting/going first is wishy washy)…just to illustrate that I’m not consistent.

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