Saturday, November 25, 2006

This (short) week in teaching

With Thanksgiving this week, it was a pretty short week. And it started off pretty uneventful as well, as I filled in for two math teachers Monday (high school) and Tuesday (junior high). And with the holiday coming and some students probably leaving early (which did not happen, I might add), they both kept it pretty simple. I think that junior high job was all review worksheets, in fact, but that didn't prevent me from helping out, pointing things out, reteaching, that sort of thing.

But Wednesday... Now that was different! I got the call to go to the junior high up the street and teach PE. I should have known that today would be unusual, because it often is when I go there. In the past I've been there for the annual schoolwide fun run, and some interesting fire drills. This day, it was the Turkey Trot. This is the culmination of the square dance unit. This district does terrific work with square dancing, making it seem a lot less quaint and unhip than in my day. It can be a lot of fun at the elementary schools, in fact, with line dances to hip hop songs and the like. They take it a little more seriously at the junior high level, but it's still a lot of fun. In the morning, all I had to do was take role and then let the caller do his work. But after lunch came the big event, as the Turkey Trot is the school square dance championship, and they make a big deal out of it. The gym floor was packed with eight-person squares, and many of them were color coordinated or came up with costumes — and not, I might add, the traditional costumes associated with square dancing. I only saw two of those little short sticking-out skirts, and I was surprised it was that many.

But the fun part about the Turkey Trot? It's a last square standing competition. There are several rounds, and in each round, once a square makes a mistake and can't recover, they have to sit down. As each round starts, it's all a whirl of kids, but as they progress and more squares sit down, it becomes clearer who's going to contend in each round. It's wild, and a lot of fun. Squares get points for how high they finish, and their scores are added up after all the rounds. The final round proved to be especially difficult, as three squares just kept going and going — until the caller sped up! I'm sure glad I wasn't on the floor trying to keep up! All the top squares got prizes, but the winning square actually won turkeys. It was a fun afternoon.

So, what's coming up? Not much coming up this week (so far), but after that I'm booked pretty solid. A high school teacher is going to be unavailable for the last week and a half before Christmas winter break, and requested me to fill in. Naturally I accepted. I'm looking forward to this, even though he also teaches one period of health. So long as I don't have to teach sex ed, I think I can handle it.

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