Helping You Get the Most Out of Your Misery






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Thursday, July 03, 2008


Summer School II: The Quickening

I've said it before: I feel about teaching sort of like my father feels about golf; every great once in awhile, you have a day that keeps you at least mildly optimistic on all those other days when it sucks massively.

Today, I had one of the good ones. Not the best day of teaching possible, just a day when I felt in a groove of a kind and had things nicely under control on all fronts.

I should pause to explain the specifics of my current situation. I'm teaching summer school again. This is something I first did last year, spending the entire summer doing math intervention, meaning I'd pull out two or three kids at a time and work with them using a computer program, which is exactly what I expected to be doing this year.

But I'm not. Somehow, I got shoved into a self-contained sixth grade class position. So I've got the same group of kids from 8:30 to 12:30 without a break, teaching them Reading, Writing and Math. Let's go ahead and compare this to my regular school year gig, in which I get to teach theater to kids for an hour at a time, maximum. I was not happy when I learned this was what I'd be doing. Not at all.

The events of Tuesday, the first day of summer school, seemed to bear out my worst fears. A roomful of sixth graders who'd been giant pains in the butt when I had them last year. No break all day. Subjects I was not used to teaching and did not have a handle on. The kids were awful, my mood was foul and it was looking like a long, nightmarish summer.

Which it still might be, who knows?

Today, though, was better. One of the three demon students who've been fucking up my teacherly mojo was absent. The other two got a talking-to from the A.P. that's working this summer. I don't normally work with her, but we've always gotten along fine. I didn't realize she was going to be as effective as she was today, when she pulled the students into the hall and told them in no uncertain terms that, if they gave me any grief, they'd find themselves kicked out of summer school and explaining the reason to their families.

Things were helped further by the fact that I spent a couple of hours last night over-planning. It's a truism that, if you give a class time to do nothing, that void will be filled with pure, unadulterated evil. So I tried to make sure they were nice and busy today. It worked, for the most part. Couple of rough spots, but I was mostly feeling in that teacher groove today.

Which probably means that, Monday, I'll feel like I'm drowning in a bucket of shit. So it goes.

Man oh man, I am glad that my summer teaching gig is done.

Good luck- I hope you live through it.
Husband's in the same place - though without the good day. Teaching summer skills from 8 to 12:30 and doing school security afterwards.

Why haven't you both given up and enrolled in law school?
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