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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

11 and 12

I'm lumping these together because it's been a busy couple of days, and I have tons of work to do.

Yesterday was good, except for one thing: the math activity. They were continuing to work with stencils which they had made the previous week. They were measuring something with them, or maybe measuring the stencils themselves. I'm really not sure. Which was the problem, of course. If the teacher isn't sure of what he's doing, the room full of third graders doesn't have a chance. And if they don't know what's going on, they'll fill the time the best way they know how: by goofing off. And I can hardly blame them. If I were in their situation, I'd probably do the same.

But outside of that, the day went well. This was the class that liked me so much the previous week. One little boy, Ray, had "helped" me out a bit the last time. I made a math mistake on the board, and he pointed it out. When he saw me yesterday, that was the first thing he brought up. He then told me that all of his friends laughed when he told that story. I told him that my friends also laughed, so I'm counting on all of you to laugh as you read this so that I don't end up being a liar. It probably didn't help any that I told them I was planning to become a math teacher sometime in the future, "When you grow up," as one little girl put it. Yeah, like I want to wait that long.

So far my batting average in the math department was not so hot.

I did notice an interesting shift in my own preferences regarding another subject: when I was very young, I liked gym class. As I got older, I liked it less and less, until middle school when I hated it. Stopped taking it as soon as I could. Now I like it again. Maybe because during gym I stay in the classroom and try to figure out what's going to happen next.

At the end of the day I had one not-so-pleasant experience; as the kids were lining up to go to gym, Carl headed towards the front of the line. I asked him where he was going, and he told me, so I asked why. He turned on the attitude and told me, "Because I'm the line leader. It's on the board over there. IN YOUR FACE!"

I was shocked. I asked him if that was appropriate. "No." Would he talk that way to his regular teacher? "No." We were already late heading out the door, so I made my big mistake: I let him lead the class out. In hindsight, I should have made him go to the back of the line at the very least. A better idea would have been to take him to the principal's office to have a little chat, hopefully leading to an apology. Unfortunately, in today's world, it is simply not a good idea for me to keep him in the room with me for a little chat. I don't think he is a bad kid, but I don't really know him that well. And if that in-your-face attitude had a chance, it might manifest as legal action. I did manage to do that much thinking on my feet as I let the class go to gym.

And right there is the big advantage to subbing: since I didn't make any huge mistakes, it is extremely unlikely that I will have to deal with fallout from that problem. On the other hand, I have time to be the Monday morning quarterback. I did leave a note for his teacher, though. If I have correctly gaged his teacher, he might be in for a little nuclear winter.

Going on to #12. I got job #11 because the teacher called me. After school, a teacher from down the hall came and asked if I was available the next day in the afternoon. I replied that yes, I was, and I would be happy to come in. It's a good deal for me, because I can't sub all day on Wednesdays, but I can get there in time for afternoon classes.

Today was especially sweet because on Wednesdays classes finish early--two o'clock instead of four--but I still get paid for a half day, even though I started at noon. It was a bit hectic having lunch and getting there after my morning class at KU, but well worth it.

I also taught math today in this different, but still 3rd grade, classroom. It was a test review, just a handful of problems to go over with the kids.

It went well. I was relieved. I didn't make any major mistakes, the kids seemed relatively happy and did their work, and I learned a lesson: if you don't understand the lesson given, do a lesson you can understand.

And it was Nate's birthday today. We sang for him, and ate treats his mother brought, including some brownies that were deadly chocolaty. Oh my, those were some good brownies. The singing was perhaps not the most on-tune I've ever heard, but those third graders can by golly belt it out.

This class was not as affectionate as the other one. No hugs this time, but no in-your-face, either. I'm guessing that it's as much about me as them. I came in very business-like, with the serious teacher face and voice, and had them start right in on their silent reading without letting them talk or move around or anything. Because if the teacher makes you read silently during silent reading time, it is very likely that you will have to do math during math time, reading during reading time, and so on and so forth, so don't even try doing something else.

I'm starting to wear a bit thin, I think. I've already taken a sub job for Friday, with Wal-Mart from 5 to 10 that evening. Gonna be a long day. Tomorrow it's just class and bell choir, though I still need to get on my homework. So I'm going to wrap this up.



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A Brief Introduction

Roblog is my writing lab. It is my goal to not let seven days pass without a new post. I welcome your criticism, as I cannot improve on my own.

Here is a link to my cung post, which remains the only word which I have ever invented, and which has not, as far as I know, caught on. Yet.