I was scheduled to observe at Ms. Negativity's second grade class this morning, but I called to cancel because a piece of my tooth fell off. (More on that tomorrow.)
So I went in to Brown around noon. The principal was in the office when I came in, and we had a brief chat. He said I had qualities that can't be taught, like a good rapport with kids, and that it seemed that I'd be good teaching any grade level. He knows about the five-month contract with Prestigious, but said he wanted to keep me in his district and introduce me to other principals. The praise was embarrassing but, obviously, quite appreciated. (More on that tomorrow, too, I guess.)
I sat in on a fifth grade pullout reading group and a sixth grade pullout reading group led by Mr. Big Fellow. I wasn't with the sixth graders long. Then I stopped by a regular sixth grade class just long enough to tell a girl that the USSR is the same as the Soviet Union.
The fifth graders were reading a book on birds. Mr. BF led them through a cognitive content list (unfamiliar words, predictions as to meaning, and then actual meaning), a graphic organizer, cause and effect scenarios (just like the first graders!), and text description vocabulary (non-fiction, expository, factual).
Most of them were reasonably amenable to instruction, but a couple were truly surly, nearly to the point of rudeness, which only cemented my conviction that I will never, ever teach fifth or sixth grade.
Sample dialogue, verbatim as far as I can attest:
Mr. BF asks, "How does the main character's teacher help her with her photography?"
Surly kid, looking away, frowning: "I don't know, photos."
Mr. BF rephrases the question and gives a few redirecting prompts: "So how does he help her?"
Surly kid: "I guess he helps."
Mr. BF: "That's what I said. But how does he do it?"
Surly kid: "I don't know, photography, or pictures, whatever."
Don't worry, kid, soon the most challenging question people will be asking you is whether you want to man the fryer or the register.