Thursday, July 01, 2010

Macbeth, Act V, Scene v, 19-28

And as we roll into the first auspicious day of July, we find ourselves beginning to near the end. By my count, there remain 9 more classes left in this program, spanning a short two weeks (hoo-ah). Now that the prospect of not having to create lesson plans every day, and babysit 90 screaming kids, is slowly creeping into that fuzzy corner of my eye (where most ghosts, spectres, and bogeymen are spotted), my mind is reeling with project ideas. So many ideas and inspirations birthed in the twilight hours of all-nighters, late night conversations, and mid-morning brunches deferred to a less hectic time. Well, that less hectic time is perhaps a stone's throw and a half away, and I'm getting excited. But we must see each project through to the end with dignity and poise. So let us recap:

Today we continued fingerprinting with the remaining classes. Luckily, I had most of the older kids, who could work self-guided which made my life easier. I even had time to take pictures:

I had them put their prints on an index card and we played a guessing/matching game.

But what would this summer job be without a little bit of stress and turmoil, eh?

The inspector came today. Let me rephrase that. The inspector who gives us our licensing that allows us to operate came today. I had actually forgotten, which was not a good way to start the day. A few moments before the inspector got to my class, one of the administrators called my class to tell me she was coming, sending an "oh sh*t" shiver (alliteration!) through my spine as I realized that I had the A group, the littlest ones, next. Usually, 50% of this class is spent getting them to sit down and be quite. 10% is relegated to controlling each M----- and A--, which usually involves me assigning them a special chair in the back of the room, and shooting them dirty looks when they start talking. 30% is reserved for bathroom and water breaks, since the junior leader who is supposed to take care of this while I'm teaching is never there, and I'm forced to take the whole class to the bathroom each time, lest one of the kids has and accident. The remaining 10% is left for actual teaching, which is honestly more than I expect with these kids.

Anywho, the inspector had the perfect timing to come visit my class while I had these youngsters. And this progressed as usual, with mayhem and chaos. They were especially rowdy today, forcing me to turn off the lights at one point just so I could get their attention. Those little clapping games other teachers use to get their kids attention? Doesn't work when half those kids are screaming at the top of their lungs about a bird that wandered into the class. More screaming ensued when I told them we were using pencil lead (graphite) to take their fingerprints, as they thought I was trying to poison them. A lot of coaxing and coddling. But everyone got their prints taken. No one was killed (except a little part of me that loved teaching), and I supposed we passed the inspection. I could see the inspector giving me sympathetic looks during her visit. But really, does it even matter? There are only two weeks left in the program, what would taking away our license really do? I've already made a good chunk of change from this job, and I think the kids have learned a lot as it is. But still, it's nice to meet the approval of your somewhat-superiors.

Here's today's shirt pocket:

The inventory: 12 pencils of various lengths and sharpness, a pair of scissors, a pack of 100 index cards, two American flags (which were confiscated after I told them to stop playing with them in class. They were returned. Eventually), 3 dry-erase pens, a rubber band, and a spork.

And since July 1st was apparently a special day (some of my kids were hounding me for not wearing red, white or blue, since it was 3 days before the 4th of July [who knew that three days before a holiday was special?], and decided to pinch me as if it were Saint Patty's day), my loyal readership, I have a two-fer-one deal. Act now, and you get not one overly burdened shirt pocket, but TWO!

This second pocket contained: a pencil, an ipod nano (1st generation), another confiscated American flag (not returned), and a stash of 4 Starlight mints (from a bag which are so old, the hard candies have now become taffy-like. Chewing them relieves some stress, and leaves my breath minty fresh.)

Tomorrow I am going to school to help chaperon a trip to Chinatown with the morning session. I apparently will be chaperoning a mixed group (with kids from each of the 6 groups) of the "good" kids. And E----. I get E----. I'm loosing patience with E----. He's a brat and a bully, and I would have hated him as a kid. But I'm older and slightly more patient now, and hope that this horribleness is a phase he will grow out of. But we'll see. There's much time left for us to see.


  1. In the first picture, are those 2's in the kid's notebook grades? Do you grade your kids' journals?

    A two pocketed shirt is INTENSE. I want one.

    You know, many years down the road, some of these kids are gonna tell their friends and family that it was Mr. Science that one summer in elementary school who kindled a lifelong love of science.

  2. I don't grade their journals (since most of them would probably fail anyways), but the program supervisors check them from time to time and write comments to them.

    I don't really trust the kids to tell me whether or not they like my course, as some of them have learned how to suck up to me to get out of writing journals (doesn't work).

    But many of the parents come up to me and tell me their kids talk about my course and want to repeat the experiments at home, which is very encouraging.