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Friday, June 09, 2006

Three Biggest Lies...


Today didn’t start well.

The recorded voice assignment from the teacher listed it as:
3rd grade class at ABC Elementary school for 08:35am to 03:35pm

The recorded information assignment from the district listed it as:
2nd grade class at XYZ Elementary school for 08:15am to 03:15pm

I listened to the recording three times before accepting it. This is the last week before the summer vacation and it might be the last subbing day until August. I just had to figure out where, what and when to do it.

Since I hadn’t subbed at ABC school before, I checked the district map for the location of ABC and discovered that ABC school has been closed since 2003.

Arriving at XYZ elementary at 08:15am, I picked up the attendance sheet, everything else in the teachers box and got the room key for my 2nd grade class.

(District info batting 1.000, teacher info batting 0.000)

The long walk out to the classroom proved fruitless because the office gave me the wrong room key.

After a round trip back to the office and with the right key, I finally gained access to the room and found today’s lesson plan.

The first thing I notice is that there are no books, videos, worksheets to accompany said lesson plan on the desk. A quick look doesn’t reveal any obvious, alternate hiding place of materials I’m supposed to use today.

Item 1: Get the attendance and lunch tickets from my box. (Didn’t notice any “lunch tickets”)
Item 2: Check the math homework. The kids know which one.
Item 3: Give the spelling test. The kids have the list.
Item 4: Math - Do Excel-127. The kids know where it is.

Blessed is the teacher who has a complete lesson plan AND all books, materials to use for the day in plain sight with pages marked.

I trudge back to the office (my 2nd trip in less than 10 minutes) to search for the missing “lunch tickets”. Tickets are found in another teacher’s box just ABOVE hers.

As I’m returning to the classroom, for the second time, I’m reminded of the "The Three Biggest Lies" as it applies it to teacher lesson plans.

1. This is a great class, you just have to be firm
2. The kids know where it is.
-- and --
3. The kids know what to do.

What I usually find is:
1. If it was a “great class”, I wouldn’t have to be “firm”.
2. The kids may know where it usually is, but today it isn’t going to be there.
3. No, they don’t know what to do. If they did, they wouldn’t keep asking me “What do we do we do now?”

As a result, today we discover that:

1. There is confusion about which math homework they were supposed to do. It seems some of the kids had to do makeup work as well as the regular homework.
2. The kids had three different lists of spelling words.
-- and –
3. The kids have to search for the math Excel-127 sheets because they don’t seem to be in the right box.

To top off the day, the teachers lounge soda machine took my money only to deliver a sliced, punctured and foaming Diet Pepsi to the retrieval tray.


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