Random Notions and Stories of Teaching

March 19, 2005

Pre-Spring Break

After 2 weeks of state testing...4th graders are shot. lol Their brains are fried beyond recognition and everyone is just trying to make it to Spring Break. Yes, those glorious 10 days of freedom. Sleeping til noon, watching cartoons on tv, and playing outside if the weather is nice -- and that's just the teachers!

On Thursday and Friday morning I subbed for the G/T teacher at school B. I've subbed for the G/T teacher at school A before on several occasions and really enjoyed my day. School B is different. First, the G/T class is out in a trailer! It's a pretty nice set-up actually. I have no complaints. The kids have no distractions. No emergency bathroom runs. No principals or other teachers popping their head in to ask a question...it's just us. :-\ Second, these G/T kids, like most, actually want to be in school. They love it! Thrive in a learning environment. Thirst for knowledge. Ok...you get it. Lastly, these kids are COMPETITIVE. Yes, the kids at School A were competitive too. But they also encouraged each other. These kids were ruthless. Laughing if someone missed a question. Arguing of pronunciations of words! (My personal favorite was the student who insisted that it was pronounced Vladmir Put-in (as in putt putt golf) not Pu-tin as I suggestion. They argued of OREGON! Or-e-gone versus Or-i-gan. Give me a break! We're in Ohio...we pronounce stuff our way. Both are right and neither matter a bit!

Friday we finished early so I decided we would play Beat the Teacher. For those unfamiliar with the game its easy. It's the kids against me. (I figured they would come unglued if I had them compete against each other...little did I know) I ask them questions. If they get it right, the kids get a point. If they get it wrong, the teacher gets the point. These questions can come from anywhere. Textbooks, vocab lists, anything. I chose one of those Brain Buster thingies for 4th grade (there were some 3rd graders in there too...but again, this was G/T). The rule that makes the game...challenging is that only the person answering the question may speak. If there is a sound from anyone else, I get a point.

So I started giving questions. In the order they were on the card. I didn't play favorites. The first kid missed his question. SCORE! Point for me. :) Someone started complaining that question wasn't fair. SCORE! Point for me. One of his friend interjected that it wasn't fair. SCORE! Point for me. Another classmate realized what was happening, this resulted in lots of Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh-ing. SCORE! Point for me. Finally, they look at me with horrified faces and realize just why this "game" isn't quite so fun. I continue around the room. They score points and there are few outbursts since they know it will result in points for me.

Then we come to "Travis". Travis is the 2nd grader that got so bent out of shape LAST year in 2nd grade that I had to stop Sparkle. He is a bad sport. He is the reason I hesitated playing any game with them at all. So I ask him, "What would an EARTH-quake be called on Venus?" Simple question (I think) but I knew he would make it too hard. Finally, he shouts, "I DON'T KNOW!" Point for me. Travis bursts into frustrated tears. I struggle not to roll my eyes. A few minutes later, the game ends and the 3rd graders get up to return to their classrooms. As Travis walks by me, he hits the white board with the score to erase it. Hitting me too. Grrrrrr....next time, he sits out.

In the afternoon Friday I went to my mom's school for...perhaps...my most challenging assignment ever. We watched the Incredibles. :) I love the day before spring break. When I entered the room, one of the kids jumps up, runs to me, and hugs me. (Not usually his way) He says, "Thank you Mrs. S for bringing the Incredibles!" Whelp, my day was made at that point. A tornado drill and an assembly later, we barely finished the movie.

If one more kid asked me if we were still gonna have recess...I was gonna scream! A movie is enough if you ask me. Goobers! Sheesh.


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