Last week took me to 3 schools.
April 11th Monday – Washington High School
April 12th – 14th Tuesday thru Thursday – Shepherdstown Middle School
April 15th Friday – T.A. Lowery Elementary School
Monday’s job came by robocall at 5:45 in the morning. I spent the morning at WHS subbing for a Special Education teacher. Nothing special took place other than having the opportunity to work with Steven Lee one of WHS’s best Special Needs Aids.
The next 3 days were at what is becoming my most frequented school, Shepherdstown Middle. I subbed for Mr. Holmes’ Business Education, aka Computer Lab. I had students from 6th thru 8th grade, many of which I had subbed for in earlier visits to SMS. Great time. Would be great to do this one again, should I be fortunate to get the invite. Mr. Holmes is the SMS Football Coach.
On Friday I was given an opportunity to return to T.A. Lowery Elementary. This visit was with a wonderful 1st Grade Class. It was also really great seeing the kids I had subbed for earlier in the hall ways, all of which remembered me as I did them. Like a small reunion.
One of the things I like to do when meeting a group of kids for the first time is to tell stories of my experiences teaching. This always works as a great ice breaker and assures that the kids will remember my visit in positive ways. I do this because I like telling stories and because it ALWAYS WORKS.
I also like to get the kids involved as much as I can in the lessons so that the lessons become INTERACTIVE and ALIVE. I remember from my own time as a student how boring classes were when all the teacher did was TEACH.
One day, as I was teaching a 3rd grade class, one of the kids told me that the teacher normally used 15 minutes to talk with the students about things THEY wanted to talk about. So I opened the floor. I always tell the kids that I will be honest with them about any topic they want to talk about (within means of course).
One boy raised his hand and asked me, “Why do girls kick me in the head?” To make a long story short what had happened was that his sister kicked him in the head, once.
I decided to tell this story in an 8th grade class. Believe it or not, it actually made sense as part of a conversation on bullying. One of the girls in the class asked if the boys name was “xxxx”. It turns out that the was the “sister”. She explained that the occurrence took place inside the back seat of the car. She “playfully” kicked him in the mouth and a lose tooth fell out. The next day she came to school and said she talked to her brother and told her mother. Fortunately her mother found it amusing and her brother ‘s face turned 3 shades of red..
During an English class in 8th Grade, a student did something very stupid. Fortunately for him it appears what he may have thought was in a pill bottle was. Toward the end of the class, a fellow student found an opened bottle of chewable aspirin. I took the bottle from the student and threw it in the garbage can.
Next thing I know, another student spits something in the garbage. From what I quickly learned, this student tried to show off to the other students by taking the pill bottle and downing the entire bottle in his mouth. He then spit it out and told me he did not swallow any. I quickly alerted the school nurse who asked me to write a Referral for the student to make sure it was documented. I also retrieved the pill bottle and turned it in.
Definitely a stupid prank by the kid. Had the nurse not asked for the referral I may not have done it since he spit it out but the same student was reported by other kids for throwing books at the backs of other students heads when I was not looking.
LESSON? Try to pay more attention. This was one of those lessons where I learned that DISCIPLINE is an absolute necessity in some class rooms more than others.
I spent a full week teaching 8th grade. One of the young men in the class never did his work and was a regular interruption in classes. Having heard something about his home life, and being aware of his social issues just by watching him in class, I decided to not make his behavior an issue. At least not until the very last day I was there.
Toward the end of the class he laid down on the floor, placed 5 books inside his shirt and started to undulate his body causing the books to come out of his shirt one by one. I have to admit it was well done but this was not Saturday Night Live and it touched a nerve that I could not ignore. I picked up the phone and called guidance who had me send him there. They asked me to write a referral for him, which was the last straw and he got suspended that day. He saw me later in the day and thanked me personally for getting him suspended. I returned to the school to teach other grades but did not see him again.