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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Ants On The Carpet...


This is the first class assignment I’ve had since the 6th of January.

The teacher for this 5th grade class is evidentially very ill and in the hospital, so of course there is no lesson plan.

The office warned me that the class is a tough one. The sub yesterday left at noon telling them how horrible that class was and something to the effect: “I don’t need this…”

(Big inhale here….let it out sloooowly…..)

I met some of the kids at the door about 10m before the bell. I asked one girl how class went yesterday.

“We had a sub yesterday. She said she wasn’t feeling well and went home at lunch time. I think she just really got sick of us and made an excuse.”

I also met a couple of the regular teachers doing yard duty and introduced myself. They told me: “Yea, she’s got a noisy group this year. She’s having a tough time this year. Good luck!”

Just as the bell rang, a teacher’s aid came by and said she and the other 5th grade teacher were working up a plan for my class and should have it for me in about 15 minutes.

I had already decided that this class is going to get the full, up front “MR. HOMEWORK” routine.

The name written on the board was MR. HOMEWORK. I told them to call me MR. HOMEWORK and why. Gave them the rules and related the story of the “Class from HELL” and what happened to them. They really, really liked it!

“When I tap the whiteboard with this marker, I want it dead quiet so the only thing I can hear, is ants walking on the carpet!”

One kid raised his hand: “That’s impossible! You can’t hear ants walking…” (wait for it, wait, almost there)……”Ohhhh, Now I get it!” (Sounds of kids laughing...)

By the end of the story, roll was taken and the teacher’s aid enters a room full of thirty kids quietly reading. She looked a little confused as she handed me the plan for today.

“I’ve never seen them this quiet!” she whispered, “Even with the teacher!”

The plan is surprisingly good, the day is going good. They are responding to instruction. When the noise level starts to rise, a tap on the board brings them back into focus.

Later in the day, a parent helper arrives for reading. After getting the same four hands up to volunteer for reading the history lesson, I called on her to point out some of the good “non-volunteer” readers in the class. The kids “fake cringe” as I call on each one as “BUSTED!”

Later, the parent helper lady said she thought she had, at first, walked into the wrong room. They are usually all talking by the time she gets here.

An hour before dismissal the office called and said they’ve been hearing how well the class is doing and ask if I can be back again tomorrow.

I let the kids know that their teacher is still sick and with a really bad impression of our actor/governor, I tell them: “I Ville BEE BAACK tomorrow!”

For a day that promised to be sucky , I was feeling GREAT at the end!

(…Later that night I pummeled my racquetball partner three games straight!)

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