Tuesday, February 18, 2014

On a Roll

It has been a few months since I posted.  In that time I have not had a single experience like the one described in my previous entry.
I have had a LOT of snow days, though.  In fact, today is my 12th snow day.  I really feel bad for subs in the area.

This past weekend I agreed to chaperon a middle school dance/lock-in.  The dance was pretty hilarious; boys along one wall, girls along another.  Eventually the high school National Honor Society students putting it on got kids on the dance floor.  They held a limbo contest towards the end.  I got in line and tried, but fell on my knees on the first attempt.  The kids thought it was hilarious.  One of my 7th graders filmed it, and I got her to email it to me.  The video is awesome because you can hear the girl and her friend narrating.  "What is he doing?!  Can he even make it?!"  I would really like to post the video here, but as it shows dozens of the kids at my school, you'll have to just take my word on how great it is.

Yesterday I had my first puker.  With about 15 minutes left, one of my 7th graders raises his hand and says, "I don't feel good, I'm really warm.  I think I'm gonna be sick."
And then... he did.  All over his books, papers, binder, and desk.  Considering the volume, very little of it actually made it to the floor.
The rest of the class was VERY mature about it.  At that time they were all working on a worksheet.  There were a lot of quite "eeeww"s, but they kept working.
I was (and still am) impressed by their level of maturity.
Later in the day two other teachers asked me about my "morning floorshow."  Apparently word got around.


And the year goes on.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Harassed.

Well, I'm still alive.  I've been a "real" teacher for about a month and a half, and it hasn't killed me.

What follows below is heavy on dialog.  All of mine is in bold.

I had a fun experience a couple days ago.  As regular readers might recall, I have taught summer school classes the past three summers.

Earlier this week I was walking around the local big, blue, box-store, when I noticed one of these students behind me with her mother.  I never know what to do in situations like that, so I pretended like I did not see them, and turned a corner.  The next aisle over, I heared the student loudly yell,
"No, mom, don't!"
I think, "okay... this should be interesting."
The mother turned the corner and quickly moved to stand right behind me, not saying anything.  This seemed a bit weird, and now I really wasn't sure what to say or do, so I ignored it and walked further down the aisle.  She followed, and stood silently behind me again.  Now I turned and asked,
"Hi, can I help you?"
"Do you know who I am?"
"Well, I saw you with [student], so you must be with her?"
"Yes, I'm her mother, and I'm also black."
I did not respond to this.  At first I wasn't sure that I had heard her correctly, or even where she was going with the statement.  After a few seconds of silence she continued,
"You kicked my daughter out of your class because she is black."
"I did ask her to leave my classroom.  She wasn't registered in any of my classes."
"You let other kids stay in the room"
"At first I let my kids have guests in my room.  They couldn't handle it, so I revoked the privilege.  After that, I kicked a lot of kids out of my room."
"You're a liar."
"Okay... what would you like to achieve here?"
"I want you to understand that not everyone has to live by your petty, elitist  little rules, and you're not king of the world.  I also want you to know what it feels like to be humiliated and singled out, like you made my daughter feel."
"...alright.  Well, it was nice meeting you."  And with this I turned and walked away from her.  It turned out she wasn't done though.  As I walked away, she followed me while singing at top volume, "this guy harassed my  daughter!  This guy harassed my teenage, high school daughter!  This guy hates black people!"

So, what do you do in a situation like this?  I thought about calling the police, but what good would that have really done?  I didn't want to escalate this, or take up any more of my time.  I also couldn't imagine that she would stick around long enough for the police to be any real help anyway.

I decided to call my mentor teacher.  She's someone who's always been able to give advice/suggestions when it comes to academic related stuff.  I figured she might have some words of wisdom.  As I pulled my phone out to dial, the woman chides,
"I think the number you're looking for is 911.  Maybe the police can help make this 'scary black lady' go away."
I ignored her and dialed.  By the time she picked up, the woman had ran away.  Once I explained what had happened, she assured me it was a "once in a lifetime experience."

When I told my administrator at the alternative ed school about this, he told me I should have filmed her and put it on YouTube.  Maybe if this sort of thing ever happens again, I'll think to do that.  Maybe.

Probably not.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Enlightened.

For a while I forgot this blog existed.  My previous post was just over a month ago, but it feels like a lot more time has passed.
As I discussed in previous posts, I've accepted a full-time teaching job.  We're on week three of school.
Periods 1,2,3 I teach 7th grade history.
4,5,6 I drive down to the alternative ed. school to teach English.
7th hour I drive back to teach high school current events.

So, I'm out of school sick today.  I went in yesterday with what I thought was just a minor cold, something I could just muscle through.  Without going into detail, things got much worse as the day went on.  Come 7th hour, I was more focused on seeing a doctor than getting things around for the next day.
When I got home, I posted for a sub.  Someone I don't know, teaching my kids?  It's a bit nerve wracking.
Because this was last minute, I had to completely re-do my lesson plans for the day.  With that said, though, I think I wrote pretty good sub plans.  I've got a pretty good idea what subs want to know to make their lives easier.

I cannot wait to see how things went.

I've got another sub coming in on Friday because I'll be out of town for a conference.

Monday, August 12, 2013

A "Real" Teacher (Summer 2013 - Part 3)

Session 2 of summer school is well underway.
I've got 14 American History B students, and one World History student.  This is a much smaller and more manageable group than session 1.

Recently I overheard two girls arguing about which of them was "more redneck."  The deciding factor ultimately balanced upon which of the two hated tofu more.

I'm not sure which of them won, but I fear society as a whole may have lost.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Employed Full-Time

It finally happened.
I've accepted a full-time teaching position.  It is in a small, rural district.  I've subbed there a LOT, and many of the postings in this blog have come from there.  I completed a couple long-term subbing assignments there, including the art position that I blogged about.
I feel as if I know the school's culture well, along with much of the staff.  I'm much more excited about working in this district than I would be elsewhere.

I believe I will be teaching three blocks of 7th grade social studies, one "to-be-determined" social studies elective, and two blocks of alternative ed.  I go in on Thursday to fill out paperwork.  I'm hoping that I'll know more then.

I'll still be teaching the last session of summer school starting August 5th, until August 22nd.

I'm not sure what direction my blog will take after that.  I might take this one in a new direction, or I might start something new.  I guess we'll see.

Monday, July 1, 2013

a "Real" Teacher (Summer 2013 - Part 2)

Session 1 of summer school, 2013 has ended.
This is my third summer teaching in this program, and this has been, by far, the most challenging session yet.  I had never encountered such a large percentage of students who absolutely refused to participate in the class in any way (meaningful or otherwise).
Luckily for them (and me?) most of them decided to get their head in the game the last couple days, once they realized that if they didn't, they would fail my class, and have to either retake American History during the regular year, or take it in summer 2014.
A couple days before the end of the session, I put together lists of missing assignments for all of my students. This prompted the following exchange with one student, who had an exceptionally long list.
Student: What is this?  You expect me to do all this in two days?
Mr. C: No.  I  had expected you to do all this over the past two and a half weeks.
On Friday, when I finally got all my grades in, I found that most of the students I was most worried about had managed to squeak by in the low 60% range.  Only two failed, both in the 20% range.

When session 2 starts up again in August I'll be teaching the second half of American History to a much smaller group.  There are several familiar names on the roster, but not many.  We'll see how it goes.




On a completely unrelated note, if you're interested in teaching related blogs, check out one that a friend of mine recently started.  I quoted him once before, when he was living and subbing in Alaska.  Today he is teaching in South Korea.

I suggest starting with his introductory entry, A Long Time Coming.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A "Real" Teacher (Summer 2013 - Part 1)

I'm teaching summer school again this year.  It is my third year teaching in a credit-recovery program.  These kids are with me because they failed their class the first time around.

My class is MUCH larger than in the past.  I've got 24 American history students, and 1 world history student.  In the past I've had not more than 12 kids at a time, though at least right now I've only got two classes happening, instead of four.

With a group this size, all taking the same subject, I feel like I should be able to treat this as a "normal" class. However, I discovered very quickly that such a tactic does not work.  Those 24 kids are with me because they failed American history for first time around.  I have to keep reminding myself that I've got EXCLUSIVELY the kids that "don't want to be there."  This session started Thursday of last week, and every day I've had to remind students about what's at stake.

I love teaching American history.  It's fun, interesting, and (frankly) really easy to make relevant.  However, with this group, I find myself just telling them, "if you fail with me, you'll have to do it again, for an entire semester."

Enough seriousness.

Today I had a student eat three grease-bomb breakfast sandwiches during our first morning break.  He bragged loudly about it at first, but it didn't take long for him to turn white and sit quietly holding his stomach.  When I asked what was up, he said he felt really sick.  I didn't have any pity.

Later, while in the hallway during a break...

Random Girl:  "Oh God, I'm gonna have to pee like a banshee after all that coffee."