From Teach Therapeutically:
“I keep many of them close because proximity reminds each one, “I’m safe here.” I prompt good decision making, I prompt responsibility, I prompt difficult choices to a 3rdgrader running in safety mode and I stay close in case the skills fail…because they will, and they DO, and the recovery needs to be swift or the entire empire may fall. Sounds dramatic? Hardly.”
“Only one kid is allowed in the bathroom at a time to prevent cheating, so I chat in a whisper with kids waiting in line. Mostly they want to know what time they get to leave and to tell me that they feel like they’re in prison when they can’t have phones or go to the bathroom together. I take a few more kids on walks, grade, stare at kids, stare into space, curse the heater for making weird noises and wish the clock would move faster.”
Meeting adjourned (3pm), student retrieved, coworker and I make popcorn. We all grade/work until 4:30 when coworker heads to grad class. Student and I continue to work until 5:15.
Mathie x Pensive
So I finally have some time to write up some posts. Here’s the first, the long awaited insight into what happens during the exam period, on the teacher side. I already blogged about the impossibility of marking within five days, but here’s the rundown of what actually happened. In so much as I remember.
I like the beginning of the quarter since the pace is slower. I spend my prep periods coming up with cool lessons rather than tracking down students who owe work. This means I can pull up iTunes and enjoy the mental challenges of planning (today I needed a polynomial of fifth degree with 3 real integer roots and two imaginary roots!). After school was similarly low key, one student showed up to go over his exam (even though there’s no retake and no points for corrections, just because he wanted to learn). Some other students stopped by to get details for an event we are planning and commented how they both liked my music, one of them really enjoyed class today and the other didn’t. When I exclaimed “but we were making a pretty fractal with colors!” the one who didn’t enjoy class joked he hated colors too. It’s so nice to have time to talk with students without the conversation being about grades or missing assignments.
All this week students took midterm exams, which meant that they only stayed half the day. Must have been the easiest week ever, right? Not exactly. Here’s what a day of midterms week looked like for me.
Every once in a while a student will share information about their personal life, their home life, that makes my heart break in two.
I wanted to be a teacher. I wanted to make arts & crafts. I wanted to sing songs. I wanted to teach kids how to read, & more importantly fall in love with books. I can handle addition & subtraction. Contractions. Blends & digraphs. I can handle punctuation, day & night, even skip counting to 2s by 100. I can do all of these things. I am qualified. I am prepared.
This is what happens when the kids know it’s my birthday.
Listening to this man whom I have never met before today, I was not amazed at what he was saying, I was not intrigued, I was relieved. I know these things are true, I knew them when I started teaching, and I know them now. The problem is that I have let so many things get in the way of who I am as a teacher and as a person because of the immense pressure of my job, I forget that there is a deeper meaning beneath everything. I have become like my students, full of fear.