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Sunday, March 25, 2007

How do I know…


Last week and most of this next has me scheduled almost every day. Same school, three different teachers, all 5th grades.

How do I know when I’ve spent too much time at the same grade level at the same school?

It might be when I start getting personalized notes from parents:

On the second day of my four day assignment, I called for everyone to turn in their homework from last night. The left behinder kid from last month came up, and without saying a word, handed me a note from his mom.

Dear Mr. (my real name!)

This letter is to inform you that J-- is on modified homework. What he is turning in is what he did within the agreed time frame that I have with Mr. (real teacher). So, do not bench him as his work is not incomplete (sic). If you have any questions please call me at (home number) or (cell number)

Thank you, (J--’s Mom)

Now I’m not sure what “modified homework” is but if it’s anything like the “modified classwork” that J— turned in the rest of the week, it’s not much.

The irritating part of this preemptive communiqué is that I hadn’t even threatened to bench anyone over incomplete homework. My job is just collect what the kids turn in and possibly leave a note indicating who didn’t do any.

It might be when it’s proven that I’m not smarter than a 5th grader:

Last Monday’s class of really bright kids breezed through all the classwork with about half an hour to kill before the dismissal bell. The kids were really great for me, so I gave them the rest of the time to break out the games and puzzles for some free time. If they had given me a hard time that day, it would have been “SILENT READING” until the final bell.

Anyway, one of the boys approached and asked if he could challenge me to a chess game. This class had been so perfect today that I felt safe allowing my vigilance over the class to relax enough to accept the challenge.

Mistake! I hadn’t played chess in…oh…about 10 years? Still, I should be able to hold my own against a 10yr old!

After the first dozen moves, I lost my queen. It was all downhill after that.

I tried to concede at least twice, but the kid wanted to play it out. Evade and delay became my game strategy. I only had to last until the final bell. I could then concede but not actually “lose”. Yea, yea, I know. A minuscule, face saving distinction indeed.

Well the final bell came and went and the kid would not let me quit! I’m down about half the pieces I started with and this kid would show no mercy.

I was finally “saved” by kid’s mom who pried him out of the classroom a full fifteen minutes after the final bell threatening that they would be late for his music and martial arts lesson.

“Good game, kid! Maybe we’ll play again sometime!”

My excuse for poor play? I lost the game on purpose! I just wanted to build his self confidence. Self confidence! Yea, that’s the ticket!

(I am NOT smarter than SOME 5th graders…)

1 comment:

"Ms. Cornelius" said...

Oh, I have ducked chess games many times because I'm a total newbie at it really.

Love that note. Classic.