There’s Nothing Like Teaching…

September 8, 2010 at 12:37 pm 1 comment

…to rob you of the time to write about teaching. 🙂

Let’s see if I can catch up!

I’m doing something very uncomfortable right this moment: watching a video of myself teaching. It’s horrifying. Not that I’m doing a bad job, but it’s just so disturbing to have to see and hear myself. I recognize the voice, of course – I’ve always hated the way my voice sounds on tape – but it doesn’t connect with anything I identify as myself. I sound so weird. And of course, I can’t help but critique my appearance, too; my hair has fallen down messily around my face, and my jawline is weird, and my skirt clings to my backside unflatteringly. Should have worn pants that day. The fact that I’m wearing a gaudy yellow Play-Doh t-shirt doesn’t help matters.

I’m wearing a Play-Doh shirt because we’re doing an activity where we use sculpting with clay as a metaphor for the writing process. I love the activity, and the kids really enjoy it. I don’t know if the metaphor works for all of them, but I do know that it sticks with a fair number. I refer back to it frequently throughout the year: does your essay hold a pencil? I asked my TA (there’s nothing quite as lovely as a great TA) to video it so that I could share with other teachers and have a video of myself teaching in case I ever needed such a thing.

The day after the Play-Doh activity, I taught Oedipus Rex using paper-bag puppets so that we could read Antigone. We’re right in the middle of that now, digging into the ideas of moral vs. civil law. I was excited about doing Antigone as a gateway into a yearlong exploration of right and wrong, but I hadn’t realized how well it also frontloads for A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Well done, me.

Mr. Bees is long-term-subbing (can we just say LTS? is that okay?) for an English teacher at my school. English, as it turns out, is not Mr. Bees’s preferred subject to teach – who knew? (My favorite quote is probably from last night: “We’re writing a paper about ‘The Scarlet Ibis.’ I can’t imagine anything more excrutiating.”) He’s teaching freshmen and juniors and, also to my sympathy and amusement, is not overly fond of the 14-year-olds. He has a sizeable chunk of them who are under the mistaken apprehension (is that the term?) that they’re still seventh graders. It’s been awfully nice carpooling with him and meeting for lunch, and just having that sense of working together. He’s LTSing (can’t seem to make myself leave the suffix off) through mid-October.

The other day I had a couple of real charmers throw a hissy fit because they didn’t want to answer ten easy reading questions. One – and wouldn’t it have been nice to know this BEFORE he came into my room? – is a repeat offender, oft-suspended, formerly-expelled, on-probation-with-juvenile-detention little felon-in-training who yelled at me and wrote down drug references instead of real answers. The other, a strapping young man easily three times my size, politely walked through me when I told him he couldn’t leave until he finished his work. Charmer #1 may be expelled, as he was apparently on a “one more strike” contract. Charmer #2 was properly horrified at himself after he cooled down, spent two days in in-school, and should be returning to my class today.

Oh, and I’ve introduced not only a writing activity (inspired by James Howe’s Totally Joe – a must-read, in my opinion) but a reading activity that both threaten to totally bury me up to my eyeballs, the former in particular. Again, well done, me.

Today is the 15th day of school. My next door neighbor started his “are we done for the year yet” countdown on the second day of school. He is already blasting ABBA through the wall into my room at inopportune times. It’s going to be a year. 🙂


Entry filed under: PLANNING AND DOING.

Unacceptable Behavior It Really Isn’t May Yet

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. OKP  |  September 8, 2010 at 7:19 pm

    I remember the dreaded video lesson during student teaching. I suspect that more of the prof development I want to do may involve recording. Yeesh.

    Lovely to hear from you — and you’re absolutely write about no time to write about teaching when there’s teaching to be done!


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The Bee’s Knees

This is the teaching journal of a student first-year second-year THIRD-YEAR (!!!) English teacher. I am writing this blog as a reflection for myself, a way to keep friends and family updated, and a sharing-ground between other educators online. I love comments!

I am striving to maintain anonymity on this blog so that I may more freely interact with my fellow edubloggers. If you know who I am, please help me protect my anonymity in your comments. I use pseudonyms or initials for everyone I write about to preserve their anonymity as well.

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