Random Notions and Stories of Teaching

August 30, 2005

Graceful

Since Cousin Eddie was brave enough to share one of her more embarrassing teaching moments, I decided I would share two of mine. I'm a world class klutz as of late, but there are two that stand out in my mind.

First, both took place during my graduate school placements. That's right, I was an embarassment to teaching BEFORE they gave me a license. Now that is impressive! Sadly, each moment took place at a different school. Doh!

I completed my student teaching during the winter/spring session. It was an unusual winter in Roanoke, VA. In February (my first month of student teaching) they had a total of 12 snow days. They forcasted snow and school cancelled! Boy do I miss that now that I live in the snow belt where we hardly ever cancel school.

Anyway, I was walking into school one morning after there had been some icing. The roads were clear as was the parking lot. The sidewalks had been salted and the black ice was melting. I grabbed my gear (I always had a ton of stuff), locked my car, and started walking toward the door to my cooperating teacher's room. I stepped over the parking lot berm and onto the sidewalk (it was a step down), took two steps, heard the door opening, and WHAM! I was on my butt. At this point my cooperating teacher's aide has the door open and is shouting that she told the janitor that the sidewalk was slippery and that someone was going to fall. Me? I want to die. I quickly jump up, brush myself off, and act like nothing happened. I'm sore, but nothing is bruised but my pride. Meanwhile, the aide is informing everyone she sees that I fell. Mortification.

I arrive in the lunchroom that day (having successfully gotten through the situation - or so I thought) when my cooperating teacher tells me that I need to go to the main office and fill out an accident report. I don't wanna! I want to forget anything happened and sink into the ground! But I went and filled out all the required paperwork. As I am walking back into the cafeteria the principal stops me (this is a new principal in an inner city school, he knew we were there, but didn't have much opportunity to converse with us interns) and asks if I am ok.

I want to die. Not only does he know what happened he knows my name. Talk about making a first impression! (Of course, later he offered me a job, so it couldn't have been too bad) He spoke to me every day for the rest of my time there. I meet another intern in the hall and she asks where I am going/where I have been, since I wasn't with kids. I simply said I needed to go to the office to fill out an accident report. To which she replies, "Oh! So you were the one that fell. I heard one of the VT interns slipped on the ice this morning. Are you ok?" Mortified.

My second little gem is by far the worst for me. My second internship took place at a county school. This school was also an open school. You know, where everyone shares one big room. I could see into the other "classrooms" of the two interns who were also in third grade. There were five third grade teachers and I maintain that I had the best one. She was this tiny spitfire of a lady. Totally Southern and totally sweet. In fact, before my internship was over she invited me to her house and made me dinner. She had never had a student intern/teacher before but after I left she told my advisor she would take another. (Yay for me!) She was great.

Anyway, I was in the middle of doing reading centers. I had set up 4 centers. She wanted a handwriting center where she could work with the kids. I did guided reading and in between they worked on various independent activities. The whole affair was going just swimmingly.

I stood up to help a student find his place in the basal and when I went to sit down, I forgot I had moved my chair. I went crashing to the floor. I wished I could just sink right through. All of the children were deadly quiet as they stared at me. My cooperating teacher jumped out of her seat and rushed over fawning all over me. "Thought you'd have broken something at least" etc, etc. Only when I began to giggle did the kids join in. I think I scared them more than me. Poor things.

Later, I found out that the other two interns, whose classrooms were literally right next to mine, hadn't heard a thing. Maybe this open classroom idea isn't so bad.

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