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Today, while on hall duty I overheard a conversation between a student and teacher that really touched me.  I don’t know if the student wasn’t himself or asked the teacher to talk but they came out in the hall and the teacher asked what was up?  The kid told his story which was really crazy and something that not even mature adults handle well.  This teacher listened, gave good advice and really tried to help the student because he knew it was something he couldn’t handle on his own.  The kid was apprehensive about going to administration and the teacher said he would help him out and speak on his behalf to get things going.  I just thought the fact that this teacher was taking time out of class to help this kid and was willing to go to bat for him was touching.  He has  to have a great rapport with his students for them to be willing to talk to him about such subjects.  I know this teacher has a lot on his plate with classes and a busy home life but he can step aside from everything and be a real person.  It was just a touching moment  and I hope to have that kind of relationship with my students.

Today, while sitting on hall duty I had a funny experience.  This was good because normally hall duty is VERY boring.  One of the custodians said to me, “I thought you were a student.” I just sat there and didn’t know what to say.  He continued, “I saw you sitting and thought, ‘Oh, maybe she’s just taking a break or waiting for someone.'” Now, this was odd for me because 1) I’m over six feet tall, I don’t exactly look like a little kid walking around 2) I was wearing a cami, sweater, dress pants, and heels which is not exactly teenage attire 3) I know he’s seen me on multiple occasions, many times while I am on hall duty or in the teacher’s cafeteria which is not where students are usually hanging out.

I just laughed and said, “Nope, not for a couple of years now.” Sometimes,  I wish really hard that I was just a student sitting and taking a break and not dealing with job hunts, grad school applications, bills, and the multitude of other things that come with growing up.  C’est la vie!

Good Day

Today, I had a genuinely good day.  I got my assignment and I was a little wary.  There is one group of students that tends to catch an attitude and not want to do any work.  The first few times I thought it was something against me, but as the year progressed I found that is basically how they act in all classes.

I got upstairs and asked about the assignment from teacher who shares the room and found the students were watching, “The Great Gatsby” from 1974, with Robert Redford, Mia Farrow, and Sam Waterston.  I remember the basic premise of the book but it had been a while so I sat and actually got into the movie.  It was interesting to see the students actually sitting and paying attention to the film.  They even kept their cross-room bickering to one or two comments and told ME they would be having  a test on it.  It was amazing!

The next class was a bit more talkative during the movie but they were making comments about what was happening in the movie and asking questions, so I allowed it.  It was funny to see their reactions to the flappers and the way people acted.  To them it seemed so weird or lame. I got to use some of my history skills and teach a bit about the time period, saying it was a different time period than today and society had different expectations.  I loved it!

After that I was in inclusion classes and a study skills class so I didn’t have much work.  Despite this,  it was a great feeling to start out a bit apprehensive and to have things turn out well and to actually get to teach.

The only problem with the day was now I have to rent the movie so I can finish watching it!

 

Brownies!

As a substitute teacher we are often thrown into roles that are outside our field of training.  I am certified to be a social studies teacher yet I have worked in elementary schools, PE classes, and math classes, to name a few.  When I got my classroom assignment for yesterday I was a bit surprised as well as apprehensive: Culinary Arts.  First, I have never seen either of the teachers be absent.  Second, I instantly imagined horrible things going wrong as children tried to cook something.  I cook at home, mostly baking, but had no great skills and couldn’t even imagine teaching a recipe to several classes of students.

I lucked out because the other teacher was free first period and ran the class, showing me how he would present the recipes for the brownies and blondies they would be working on in the next few days. You would think it was just the recipes being presented but I realize there is so much more to it than that; I took a list of notes for each recipe to make sure I didn’t forget anything.  Besides the steps students were quizzed on conversion, such as how many tablespoons are in a stick and half of butter, and  tool usage, such as how to make and use a double boiler.  He also discussed hints and tips for making each of the recipes.  Lets just say I had two sides of notes.

After this I was on my own.  The first class I had to present to went…quickly.  I unfortunately sped through everything and looked up at the clock to see there were 27 minutes left in the class; I was horrified.  But each time I redid the presentation I added more jokes, more questions, longer explanations, more wait time and all that jazz so at the last class they only had fifteen minutes left just like the class that the teacher presented in the morning.  I even had one kid ask if I was in the cooking field because I was doing a nice job of presenting the information.

I enjoyed the class because you got to be pretty interactive with the kids.  The brownie recipe calls for unsweetened chocolate and students could test it out.  It was amusing to see their faces of disgust and then get into a discussion about why it works.  I could really see how this could be an enjoyable class to teach.

I definitely ended the day a lot more confident than I started off.  What has been you most unusual assignment?

On occasion I sub in the school I went to.  On occasion the students mention a photo of me. EVERY TIME I cringe and laugh.

My high school decided to hang old photos and memorabilia all around the cafeteria.  While in school I was presented with an award for doing well on the SAT (I think or some other test thinger, they all blend together).  They took pictures and for some reason it’s hanging up.  I dislike pictures of myself.  I don’t believe we were warned that we were taking them.  But what makes me laugh is students ask if it’s me.  If you look at the picture it clearly has my name on it;  I haven’t gotten married;  I have had old teachers and faculty say my first name;  I don’t look much different from when I was in high school (a few extra inches tall and sadly a few extra pounds).  I was even standing next to it today when I was asked; you think that would be an easy comparison, right? Yet, I am always surprised when they ask because the answer is so obvious. But then again, I find many of the answers I want from students are like this, they just have to do a little work.

I said I was going to be reviewing books as well as talking about experiences and it seems like I have been neglectful of my material analysis, though, I have been doing a fair amount of it lately. I have come to love the DK eyewitness books.  These books are very visual with pictures of artifacts, artwork, scenic views, and other materials that support the topic they are talking about.  Each book usually covers one broad subject such as WWII, Judaism, North American Indians, etc. and is broken into topics.  Whenever I am talking about a subject, I love to show visuals so students can have something to associate with the information and these books are very helpful.

While filled with a lot of information I consider these a great source to introduce a topic and peak a person’s interest; I would recommend students to use other material to get more detailed information and descriptions. I am currently looking at the mythology book and one topic within the book is mythical beasts.  The two page spread features small blurbs on creatures of the deep, wild horses, wings, and combined creatures.  However, there are books that focus just on the beasts in Greek myths.  What about other cultures?  Two pages cannot do the topic justice but can point one in a direction to explore further.

This is just one example of the many books that the DK Eyewitness Books series has

Looking at different sources these books are listed as ages 9-12.  Despite these lower ages I feel you need to know the maturity/level your students are at and feel it can be used for even older audiences, at least for browsing as mentioned earlier.  Even I enjoy looking at these books and find myself learning interesting facts as I peruse them.

The great thing about this series is that it covers a plethora of different topics, not only for social studies, but science and art as well.  I think they are a great fun way to introduce a topic and I will definitely be adding several of them to my future classroom library.

In a previous post when we were graced with a snow day, I discussed the new option some towns have opted for–the delayed opening.  This is when school starts an hour and a half later than normal.  Today we had one and though I think they are a good choice when you know the weather is going to improve, today was not a good day  for one.   Yes, the extra time worked great for me because I spent the extra hour shoveling snow.  However, I felt the area around the school had not been cleared in time. Besides this, the snow turned into a winter rain that continued for much of the day causing icy slush to accumulate.  I wore boots to school and packed my work shoes because I knew the park path I use would be slush.  The road I park on is a hill and it had not been plowed and I took it at about two miles an hour; I was taking no chances.    In short, it was dangerous for people trying to get around.  I dread the roads tonight when everything freezes over.  Plus, they are calling for more snow at the end of the week!  It’s going to be a rough winter.