Tuesday, February 26, 2002

Your the best sudsatot I ever hade, Mrs. G!

There are more kids in this class with names that start with the letter A than I've ever seen in one place in my life. That's gotta be some sort of energy vortex sign.

They were great... there's nothing like the look on a kid's face when they walk into the room and realize they have a sub. Astonishment, surprise, fear... and it took me all day to get all their names straight. But I did it. We started out with some math, then did small reading groups... which went well. Then they went to technology class. And I went over the day's lesson plan. The teacher had everything planned in 45min. Increments, solid chock full packed for the day. I was kind of shocked... but it all went fast and easy.

We did a progressive story after technology, all about a field trip. It got kooky and out of hand. I had them illustrate their favorite place to go on a trip... I let them be as insane and impractical as they wanted. Some kids wanted to go live under the sea with Spongebob Squarepants. Knock yourself out kid. I typed it out for them, and am going to surf the web for some graphics to add into the story and I'll print out copies for them.

I think they'll like it.

I ate lunch in the teachers' room, which I've been told by many is the most toxic room in a school to be in... I found it to be pleasant and was only ignored for about 20 minutes. They talked about growing up and going to Catholic schools where the nuns would smack them with Rosary beads which they swung around like a lasso. They laughed about it. It made my stomach hurt.

After lunch the kids were given a math test to help the district assess not how THEY are doing individually but how the district is doing TEACHING math. Six questions, one half hour. Two or three of the kids completely panicked when they realized it was a test. The smartest little girl in the class, one of the A named kids, with cute electric blue wire glasses and wispy thin blonde hair, choked on the test big time. When she handed it in to me, she only had two answers done, and both answers were wrong, and she was all bent out of shape and explained that she just didn't understand and hated the test and .... I assured her that it was okay, but she went to her desk and put her head down and cried.

This is second grade honey. Not your freshman year at Cornell. It's okay.

I told them all to stand up. To stretch and wiggle their arms. To shake the bad test vibes right out of their systems. I commended them for holding up in the face of a test, and getting it done. I told them they did a great job, and they tried their best but it was over and I didn't want them to let that ruin their day... What's done is done, let's have some fun. The little girl was still bummed out so I told everyone to turn around and tell her that it was okay. One girl got up and hugged her, and she needed it. I didn't feel comfortable just grabbing her and hugging her but I wanted to so badly... it was breaking my heart. I could tell from the minute I met her that she was just so bright and intelligent.... and to see her so defeated by a test that wasn't going to be on her permanent school record or anything.

I did end up giving her a hug when I passed out the next piece of work, a big brochure on teeth and how to take care of them. I had them all take turns reading... some are much better readers and they got frustrated when kids didn't read well so they'd yell out the word that the kid was struggling with. I got after them for that.

After that, the teacher had left a book for me to read to them. They were halfway through it, and I read two chapters. I had them all get these beanbag chairs from the reading corner and bring them to the front of the room. They lounged around... one kid decided he would rather sit at his desk and color and listen, so I let him. I had 17 kids silent for a half hour while I read. I don't think I've EVER had that kind of power. It was amazing... and they were psyched for the reading. They were obedient when it came time to clean. I let them color for 10 minutes instead of five, because they were so damn good. I asked them if they thought today was a good day and they all cheered. And one kid told me he didn't have a good day... he had a GREAT day.

Why thank you.

Another one of the A named girls in the class handed me a picture that she drew. It has me standing in my skirt and sweater in front of the blackboard with her by my side. Above us it says "Your the best sudsatot I ever hade, Mrs. G!"

For a first try, I'd say this was pretty much a successful day.

Pros of the day: Someone left me a great lesson plan. Everything was plotted out. And I only had to remind them once that they wouldn't act badly if I were the REAL teacher, and I wanted to remember today as a good day, not a crummy day, so "Respect Mah Authoritay!"

Cons of the day: Having to wait to go to the bathroom, bringing a lunch (I'd rather get a sub or something someplace...). A few of the kids had definite emotional issues... learning issues... but on the whole, they were a kick ass bunch of kids. And if I was the best sudsatot ever, then they were the best class to sudsatot for... I tell you what. No coffee machine in the classroom to which I can attach my face and begin suckling.

So I go back tomorrow morning. We shall see how I do with them. I have a busy morning and an easy afternoon. So I'll be sure to drink scads of coffee.

And get a very good good gooooooood night's sleep tonight.

Here's the text of the progressive story we made up. The kid names are reduced to an initial.

Progressive Story - A Field Trip of Dreams

Christine: One day our class got to go on a field trip. It was a hot and sunny day.

E: We decided to go to the Portland Head Light.

D: But, instead we went to a space shuttle, and we got on our space suits and we went to the moon. We were known as the first kids who ever went to the moon.

K: After space, we went under water and saw sea creatures.

E: After we went under water, we went to the Museum of Science and slept over.

A: After the Museum of Science, we went to Monster Jam. The driver parked somewhere and Grave Digger crushed it.

A: We called My Dad. He brought his boat to rescue us, and took us tuna fishing.

B: Then we went to Lake Park and all went down the water slide and got ALL Wet!

A: After we went to the NEW bus, the bus driver took a wrong turn and we found ourselves at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

C: Then we went to the Children's Museum.

Christine: By then, we were pretty hungry. And we found our lunches were soaking wet. So we went to E's house, so he could put on dry clothing, and went to my house for a barbecue, and we played with the dog. The principal actually PAID for this trip. So we were very happy.

The End!

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