Friday, January 16, 2009

By the power of Numbskull

There were no classes today; Prestigius had a visitng day, where incoming applicants came into classroom and interacted with the teachers. Mrs. G, my assistant, and I were all in my room with ten boys. I had them sit and do a sort of lethargic version of my classroom's calendar routine, and then we put them to work on three pretty fun, easy activities. After that, I read a story and we gave them a related sentence to complete and illustrate.

Then, Mrs. G and I had to rate the kids.

Never have a felt such power! Such raw, undiluted power coursing through my veins! All the dreams, hopes, expectations, and carefully crafted application form essays of these kids' parents were in my shaky, vindictive, unpracticed hands! Ha ha ha! Mwah-hah-hah-hah-

Ahem. Anyhoo, it was fun seeing how some of the kids reacted in our kind of classroom setting. Some were very self-assured, most were polite and respectful, none were terribly shy or withdrawn, and a couple were hopped up on some kind of kindergarten goofballs or something. We ended up giving three kids a unanimous yes, two a most emphatic no, and we agreed to put down a split vote (one of us yes, the other recommending the waitlist) on the others.

It is kind of humbling to do this sort of thing, and it's certainly an exercise in empathy. After you've read the parents' lengthy and and meticulously detailed paragraphs about their children and why they'd make a good fit here at Prestigius, it's not quite as easy to check "no" on their folders, and write damning comments about their behavior. Or at least, it's not easy to do in a cavalier fashion. But we did it anyway.

On the whole, the visiting kids were, naturally, rather wilder than my own class. In an attempt to get some of them to settle down before story time, I used the time-honored "praise the good one" strategy, saying "I really like how Amahl over there is sitting quietly." One of the rejectees immediately blurted, "But I'm not!" and jumped up and down.

Good luck at whatever school you'll end up going to, kid.

Near the end of the two-hour visit, another kid asked, apropos of nothing, "Is this St. Luke's Academy?"

No, but maybe they'll take you!

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