Two Teachers In One, But Not In The Good Way

10/30/2009
Seated statue of Nebhepetre Mentuhotep II, in ...
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I have come to the realization that I have a split personality.

Or something like that.

I am one teacher for my sixth grade general education social studies class and a totally different teacher for my eighth grade class.

I feel like Certs. Two, two, two mints in one. Except I’m three.

I also have self-contained Read 180 special ed classes, but I’m going to ignore them for now and talk about those two social studies classes.

Today all my classes went on field trips. I stayed behind with the seven students who did not want to go. I still can’t walk very far, so that worked out nicely for me.

I spent the day hanging up large posters of the life cycle of the Nile River the 6th grade students had made. There were six in all, two each for the flood stage, the planting season and the dry season.

Each poster was very different from the others but they all told the story of their river phase in words and graphics more or less successfully. Some were very creative. Some were a bit too creative. I don’t recall seeing helicopters mentioned in connection with Ancient Egypt and I doubt the citizens lived in prairie-style log cabins.

As I hung the posters I recalled the noisy, busy and fun atmosphere in the class as the students worked in teams on their posters. It was the same as they worked in different teams doing map analysis.

I really look forward to my sessions with that class. I’ve created a Ning for them and relish their excitement using it. I teach them little buy I spend time thinking up projects to help them create learning.  The class works for me and I work for the class.

I’m a very different teacher in my eighth grade class. I’m more controlling, or I try to be. I’ve written of my difficulties and while things have improved some, its still not the class I want to have.

I haven’t made a Ning for them. I don’t do posters with them. I am trying too hard to gain control because I need to feel they see me in the room.

Today I had seven kids in my X class. That’s what we call the mixed grade class of students left behind on trips. I had five sixth graders, two of them special ed, and two general ed 7th graders.

I would also have had five students from my 8th grade class who did not have the $6 for the tickets to the play they were seeing but I paid for them. I also gave them money so they could eat lunch at a restaurant with their classmates.

None of them asked me to do that. And they all seemed surprised and happy that I would. I told them it was a loan and they had all the time they’d need to pay my back, but it was worth the $75 not to have to deal with five of the bigger troublemakers in the class.

Except that I think I got more for my money than the five trouble-free hours I expected. The three boys were stunned that I would lend them the money to attend the play, that I trusted them to pay me back.  The two girls gave me hugs and one was in tears.

These kids are not used to having men in their lives who they can depend on.

When I was out for three weeks with my knee troubles I was just one more guy who showed up then disappeared.

Today was my 13th school day in a row at work. It’s a new personal record for this year, shattering the previous record of four days.

I’m back. And today I made a small difference for those five kids by being there and solving a problem for them.

I’m hoping I’ll see some of the effect of that sixth period tomorrow when I have that 8th grade class again.

And for the first time since the first week of school I’m looking forward to it.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

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