Tuesday, April 12, 2005


Well, the test is over. (At least until next week, when the kids have to take the math test.) I had Class B for the whole thing. At first they were hyper and chatty, but then they got nervous. They were like, "Ms C, my hands are shaking!"

So I led them in taking some deep breaths and shaking out of hands and shoulders. I said, "All right guys, don't freak out. You can do this. Remember all the things and strategies we've been practicing. No problem."

With fifteen minutes left, there was a significant number (like, eight) of kids who were not nearly done. I got all anxious for them, worrying, mentally hurrying them up, trying to send out telepathic messages about skimming and scanning. But alas, five of them did not finish. I was a little heartbroken and disappointed.

One of the girls was in tears about not finishing. I sat next to her and whispered, "Hey, shh, it's okay. You did your best, right? Right? That's all we can ask, isn't it? It's okay, honey, you got through it, you did your best." Poor thing.

After lunch I had Class A. I did not like them today. At the beginning of class, I was still upset at their behavior yesterday, but I went ahead with a light activity: reading interesting parts (only three!) of The Twenty-One Balloons. Could they keep their traps shut while I stood there and read to them? No, they could not. I warned them and then not two minutes later I had to stop for noise AGAIN. So, I gave them a spelling test. The highest score was four. Out of fifteen.

One of the words was 'vacuum.' Three kids actually CHALLENGED me on that, telling me that I was wrong and they were right. I said, "No, this [vacuum] is right." "No, it isn't!" Nothing chaps my hide like someone telling me I'm wrong when I KNOW that I am right. Especially about my forte, spelling. ESPECIALLY from these children who can spell their names but not much else. Fully exasperated, I snapped, "Go check the dictionary!"

Because of course, there is only ONE in my classroom. Can you imagine teaching ENGLISH without dictionaries and thesauri for every student? Talk about a handicap.

Anyway, so those three kids self-righteously page through the dictionary, until they find "my" correct spelling of 'vacuum.' "Oh," they said, deflated.
"Yeah, 'OH,'" I spat. "'Oh?' Want to challenge ME on spelling? Oh, please. Sit down!"
Then I said to the kids, "So you think you can spell better than me? I'll give a treat to anyone who can spell 'antidisestablishmentarianism.'"
Bewildered and scared looks all around. "What?" "Huh?" "What did you say?" "Can you spell 'supercalifragilisticexpialidocious'?"
I spelled both of the long words on the board, and they were all, "Ooh!"

I am not proud or happy about who I was for that thirty minutes today. I can't change it, though. I feel helpless with Class A this week, and I know that with this improving weather, things will only get worse. I don't know how to get a handle on them and encourage them instead of yelling and screaming angrily.

Class C was not too bad. They did sit still and quietly while I read from The Twenty-One Balloons. I read half the introduction, about balloon travel. Then I read the description of the inventions in the Moroccan House of Marvels. They found those pretty cool, as do I. So I asked them to create their own dream bedroom or house. What kind of inventions could they come up with? Money and know-how is no object. that kind of thing.

They seemed to get into that right away. Some kids came up with great stuff, like a couch that serves pizza, a bed that is also a jacuzzi or pool, and a shower that hands you bottles and soap. There were lots of enormous (100 inches; 200 feet) televisions, beds the size of our classroom, and robots that do chores and/or homework. Fun stuff, eh?

1 comment:

Anonymouph said...

I am so jealous of that moment when you comforted that student who did not finish. That is my absolute FAVORITE part about teaching, and what I assume will be my favorite part about mothering. Now I just have to hurry up and find a husband!