Teaching from the trenches. Tuesday

My work week is Sunday through Wednesday. Yesterday was Tuesday and thank G-d a GOOD day.  There was 75% participation in my grade 8 class.  Since there are only four students it’s an easy calculation.  We read a poem called ‘Fueled by Marcie Hans. Then they had to write a poem of their own.  One student wrote an especially moving one that brought tears to my eyes.

Like last week, there was an activity that took away one class of the 5/6 grade boys.  I had been unhappy about it because I needed two lessons for a test.  This week–no worries.  I was quite fine with it. This same activity also impacted on the 7th grade boys class. Their homeroom teacher gave them a free lesson during my English class allowing them to play out on the sports court, hence no lesson. The temperature was a pleasant low 80s and sunny and I wasn’t sick so I totally didn’t mind. I thoroughly enjoyed catching some rays and avoided getting pegged by a soccer ball.

One of the most dangerous things about teaching is supervising the playground because of flying balls.  But then again, you can get pegged even being in the classroom. Back in September I accidentally got hit in the nose with a ball upon entering my classroom. A ball was aimed at another student and I happened to get in its trajectory.

I gave the 5/6 boys (there are five students) a small notebook and give them a few sentences to copy about one of their favorite soccer players.  I was thrilled at my brainstorm for giving them something to write in because they rarely take out their notebook, either claiming to have lost or forgotten it, but also as a way to avoid doing any work.  Learning about Cristiano Renaldo (pardon spelling if incorrect) was so exciting for them and most of them already had prior knowledge so I merely transferred it to English.  The gentle reminder that I would What’s App their parents at the end of class with their behavior and classwork was probably also helpful.  Nobody got out of their seat, tackled anyone of the floor in play, made farting sounds, or threw a pencil case out the window.  Good class.

For the grade 7 girls, we read a short text about a cat that wandered off from his home in New Mexico and ended up in Chicago.  Thanks to a computer chip in his collar, he was identified and able to be returned to his owner. I can get a little silly in class.  Some students have difficulty with reading comprehension so I tend to act things out as I read.  The girls enjoyed my theatrics which led to better understanding of the text. Wednesday I have the girls for two lessons, so one activity is to have them act it out themselves with a partner.

These good school days like this where most things go right and I have a deeply satisfied feeling. Unfortunately, they are too rare.  There may be moments throughout the day, but not a day in its entirety. Today was exactly what I need to give some hope that I can survive until the end of  June.

Fueled

Fueled
by a million
man-made
wings of fire-
the rocket tore a tunnel
through the sky-
and everybody cheered.
Fueled
only by a thought from God-
the seedling
urged its way
through thicknesses of black-
and as it pierced
the heavy ceiling of the soil-
and launched itself
up into outer space –
no
one
even
clapped.
–Marcie Hans
Thanks for reading.
Karen, T.K.K.

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