Sunday, March 05, 2006

Hi, what's up?

Well, not much to tell you. I've had six good days of teaching in the last six work days, but nothing spectacular. Some high school English, some elementary PE, some high school science... I'm not even sure I can remember all the jobs I had this past week.

A couple of interesting things stand out, however. One is an incident while I was teaching a sixth grade class, They were a great bunch of kids, very helpful when I got lost, that sort of thing. But there was one girl in the class who liked one of the boys — and she demonstrated it by frequently sneaking up behind him and giving him a hug. I could tell just by the look on his face that this was not reciprocated (well, he is a sixth grade boy, girls do mature faster, he was clueless and not ready for it). One time when I caught her at it, I called her over and explained that it was not appropriate for school, which sobered her up right away. When I mentioned that it could even be construed as sexual harassment, she really sobered up, and to her credit (and his relief), she cut it out. I hope the message got through, but just in case, I also wrote a long note to the teacher about it. I hope the teacher, who is a woman and knows the student much better than I could, can give her a better talk about it. I don't want to squelch the student's enthusiasm, just channel it in the right direction. I also she has patience, it's going to be at least another year, most likely, before the boys can figure out how to handle her. (On a side note, I hope she does keep expressing her interest in boys she likes, in a positive way. When I was that age, I wish someone had whacked me over the head with a clue-by-four!)

The other standout is not one single thing, but a phenomenon. Twice this past week, I stepped in for teachers who had had subs — different subs — the day before. That can be very tough for not only the new sub, but also the students, who don't know what is going on. One of those cases was the sixth grade class I just talked about, and as I said, they were pretty good about cluing me in. It helped, however, that once I realized the situation, I asked them to keep me clued in. I found the teacher's plans, as she'd had some time to come in and get things set, but not much, as the plans were sketchy. Maybe she thought the previous sub would be back. Something similar happened with the high school science class. This is a teacher whose new daughter apparently has been very sick, and he's being a good father and helping to take care of her. However, he's been out frequently over the past few weeks as a result (I even was in for him one day a few weeks ago), and his students are getting very frustrated. His astronomy classes are especially annoyed at all the videos they have been watching lately. I don't have a solution, but it would be a great service for everyone involved if a teacher retains a substitute if there is any possibility of the regular teacher being out for another day. That could at least avoid the revolving door of serial subs. In the case of the science teacher, he might want to think about finding a sub with a science background and making arrangements for him or her to step in when he can't be there. I don't know, it's tough, there are no easy answers.

Still working on that job hunt, but March looks pretty quiet so far, and I hope to get a lot more work going here soon as a result. I just wish I had all of my evenings and weekends free so I could concentrate on that, instead of having to work the second job. It's better now that I'm tutoring only two nights a week, but it still eats up more time than I care to spare.

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