Thursday, March 09, 2006

To supplicate is not the way

Well, maybe we could go to bed
And I could help you run the three-minute mile

But first you gotta take the drinks
You gotta learn to fake the smiles

She was a piece of past her prime real estate
A late great tit turnstile

--- Jude, "Prophet"

Today was H Elementary observation day. In the first hour, I was back in the sixth grade class in which, last time, someone had stolen a laser pointer before I got there. This time, it was not quite as bad. Although there was once again a chaotic bathroom break which took up a half hour of the whole class' time, afterwards they corrected some TEKS practice tests. I was pleasantly surprised at the number of kids (about half or so) who seemed genuinely interested in getting the answers right and showing what they knew.

In the second hour, I was in the third grade class. It was ESL, but this period at least was in English only. I was blown away by this teacher. She was loving, laughed often, obviously had established procedures and guidelines, and kept great discipline. I got the sense that there was very little fear of punishment here, as in every other class ("you owe me twenty [school treat] dollars!" is the most common teacher response to misbehavior), but order was kept through respect for the teacher and her high expectations. When one child didn't understand something, she went over it patiently three different ways. At the end of the class, I went up and told her that I thought she was great and I was highly impressed. She replied that I had made her day; I hope she knows what a rare commodity she is. Probably --- she said she'd been teaching for over thirty years.

I went home and goofed around, then picked up the Maddening Angel from work. Once at her house, she fed me a veggie chik patty with cheese. At her suggestion, I picked up Spooky (who lives quite close) and the three of us watched Corpse Bride at MA's house. Say, that's a great movie. Afterwards, I drove Spooky home. I wish we could have some time together, but what with Babydaddy and Baby and whatnot, I don't exactly want to hang out at her place, and she can't come to mine.

Later, on the phone, Spooky asked me, "So, do you and MA always cuddle when you watch movies?" (She had rested her head on my shoulder.) I said, "Hey, she leaned on me. I didn't put my arm around her and pull her close or anything. But... yes."


NYC Educator said...

ESL should always be in English only, and that's one of the things that made the teacher as good as she was.

There was recently a column in the NY Times discussing a bunch of Somali kids stuck in an ESL class conducted largely in Spanish. The writer wondered why they had so little access to Somali translators. I wondered why they had so little access to English.

These teachers were certainly not helping the Spanish speakers either.

Translation, particularly for young kids, is way overrated. Some of my very weakest students are the ones joined at the hip to their dictionaries. They won't learn until they close their books and open their ears.

Kim said...

I'm going to skip the ESL bit and go straight for the dialogue about MA. So you like her too, it's apparent. This little triangle is quite intriguing. MA feeds you and cuddles and Spooky, two do what you do. What's up, man? Choose ye this day whom you will serve...

Chance said...

elle - Don't I know it. Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans, I guess.

nyc - I agree. I'm against Spanish classrooms in America.

NYC Educator said...

I'm for Spanish in Spanish classes, Chinese in Chinese classes, and English in English classes.

AS for math, I don't care which language they use as long as I don't have to attend.