Friday, October 28, 2005

you want me to teach???

I hardly had to teach this week. And gawd, am I relaxed!

Monday and Tuesday were spent at training.
Wednesday I taught.
Thursday I taught.
Today, Friday, I called into an extended meeting which ate up six periods, meaning I only had to teach one class.

This schedule has culminated in a total loss of any sense of continuity for my students. This afternoon when my class came in, it was obvious that they weren't going to be doing much. You can smell apathy, and these kids stunk of it. After about 10 minutes of
  • barking at them to take their seats
  • refusing their pleas to issue passes to the nurse, bathroom, and water fountain, and
  • intercepting a paper ball, a rubber ball, and a bottle of soda
I knew that we weren't going to accomplish much. Once the class was in order, and I started the lesson, I saw that one of my more challenged students was in the corner crying. For reasons unknown, the school has been shuffling paraprofessionals around, and this poor kid who is really attached to his para now has a new one. Mind you, his original para is still in the classroom, but is now assigned to a different student. Honestly, watching this child in so much pain was heartbreaking.

When his "former" para came into the room, he settled down. And the lesson commenced again. No matter how hard I tried, these kids weren't going to meet me half way. So I just sat down at a desk in the middle of the room and put my feet up. I then informed them that if we weren't going to be working, they should put their feet up on their desks as well. They looked at me like I was nuts, but elected to play along. So there we all were, just chillin', with our feet on the desks.

After a couple of minutes of banter, I told them to take a look at the blackboard and read the words I had written. I had planned to open with a quick phonics lesson in sight words (again, most of my students are at a very low skill level in ELA). So the kids read the words aloud, and then we started to discuss: to, two, and too. All the while, everyone of the kids was mellow and just hanging out with their feet on their desks. The discussion progressed, and in the most mature manner, a few of them confessed that they frequently get these words confused. So we went around the room just shooting off silly sentences with the appropriate words (with me being the main subject).

Mr. B called my moms two times.
Mr. B be yelling like mad when we ask for the pass too many times.
Mr. B went to the store to buy alcohol and get drunk.
Mr. B went to jail too many times for smoking weed.

And on and on. Evidently, I'm a verbose drunk and stoner who takes pleasure in denying desperate children use of the lavatory.

Anyhow, I'm pleased that everyone is now engaged, so I tried to stand up and grab a book. The kids all started yelling that it was not part of the deal that I would actually teach, and that I should put my feet back up on the desk. At this point I notice that almost everyone of them is kicking back WITH their notebooks, jotting notes, and being quiet, so I sat back down to discuss why "favorite" doesn't rhyme "bite."

Things were totally cool for the remainder of the period as we discussed why spelling can be extremely confusing and crap if you don't actually learn the words that don't fall into a rhyming pattern. Next thing I know, I notice the door to my classroom open, and in walks my AP, and there we all were just hanging out with all of our legs hanging over the desks. Initially he looked confused. And speechless. But I greeting him nicely and asked the class to explain what we were learning. My most reticent of students proudly informed him that we were having a "cool" conversation as to why some words don't make "no sense."

Ahh. They are beginning to get it.

The AP left nodded, smiled, and left the room. And my band of twelve students remained comfortably engaged in the conversation with their feet on their desks until the period ended.

What a nice way to end the week.

1 comment:

Ms. H said...

Hey, congratulations! Way to turn a period around. Assignments that involve gently mocking teachers seem to be a great motivator.