Thursday, March 30, 2006

True love's not worth much more than that

Can't go back, can't go straight
Can't turn
Can't cross the bridge I've yet to burn

--- Imperial Teen, "Imperial Teen"

Short work day and the very last two hours I shall ever spend at H Elementary (as a student observer, anyway, and probably period). The first hour was with a second grade ESL class. The teacher, a male for once, taught in English and the students mostly spoke in Spanish. He told me that a lot of them were ADD, and it showed. Half of them were on task for the most part, but about four or five, all boys, were all over the place. They took every single opportunity they could to disregard the classroom's sense order. They knew what they were doing, too; deliberate mischief was clear in their eyes. The teacher spoke in a calm, quiet voice, never once showed impatience, and had several strategies for dealing with the unruly behavior. One of those was to escort a particularly egregious transgressor to the hall.

Another method, turning off the lights and having the class as a whole put their heads on the table until absolute silence reigned, worked, but I question its efficacy. And here I'm second-guessing the teacher, which I hate to do, because as a teacher (of sorts) myself I know how little an outsider can grasp about the subtle interplays of power within a classroom. However, I found myself wondering if it was best to force the whole class, even the girls and one or two boys who were working, to stop in mid-task, and make everyone accountable for the actions of a few.

Also, since so many problems seemed to arise from kids getting up, switching seats, moving back and forth, etc., I wondered why Mr. Teacher hadn't set up a simple seating arrangement. The kids' names taped on the back of the chairs and at the edge of the table, perhaps in an alternating boy-girl-boy arrangement, might nip a lot of that activity in the bud.

On the other hand, maybe it would just cause more trouble. Being an old classroom hand myself, I'm always willing to give teachers the benefit of the doubt. (This is one point of difference between Spooky and me; when she shows me letters that Baby's teacher has sent home and expects me to commiserate with her, I often find the notes to be quite reasonable.)

The second hour was a rather boring third grade English lesson. The class read a story together and then in pairs. The teacher timed them; I suppose quick reading is some skill necessary for the TAKS. I don't like to encourage speed-reading, myself --- being a very fast reader but a less than satisfactory processor of text --- but whatever. And then I was out of there!


In Classroom Management, the presentation on Boys Town went well. Our group (including the amazingly hot Scarlett and Nicole) did a little skit on the history of Boys Town, then we showed a clip of the film starring Spencer Tracy, and then we stood and rattled off some facts about the program. It was fun enough, and both a good way to teach and to learn.


What has one eye and pees?


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