Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Ian plays school teacher

There have been moments in my life that have given me cause to shake my head. At 7:40 Monday morning I was doing the shake thang. One's perception of ones self and that of others, combined with whatever evolution of personality and habit, lead to some odd checks and balances every now and again. School and I didn't get along very well when I spent time there as a student.

I taught school on Monday. A full day. Grade seven social studies and English in the morning and grade nine English in the afternoon. My day finished with a graphics communications class in the computer lab which was definitely a freebie for me.

I've got teachers all through my life. My Mum was a teacher and primed me well for entering school. I didn't measure up to expectations there, but that's a story for another day and no reflection on her teaching or parenting. My wife teaches, my middle daughter is headed to teaching and my wife's family is all about the teaching in one aspect or another.

Earlier in the fall I was asked if I would assist with the influenza preparedness plans by agreeing to substitute teach if it became necessary to reach out beyond the usual circles for teachers to fill in. I was a little taken aback. I'm not exactly rich in an appreciation for protocol, formalities and straight lines. Kids seem to "get me," but the adult world most often leaves me feeling grateful to be well off the beaten path. Hypocrisy still irritates the daylights out of me in just the same way it did when I was a teen. Most seem to learn to live with it. I never have.

I'm often prone to invoking discomfort by having read too broadly, thought too long or experienced details that are either lost on many grown up types or willfully ignored by them. In short, I'm often deemed a bit of a loose canon I think.

When I got the call to come into school the other day to fill in for a teacher I have the highest regard for, I was shocked at first. Then I was in disbelief that they were not bluffing when they told me I might be called. I never really thought they would. My second thought was about how ill prepared I was to do the job. I think good teachers are the bomb. It's performance art in my eyes and a very grueling gig it is. Once I succumbed to the invitation, I quickly began to put together my plan for survival.

I'd have taken my guitar if I thought I could have kept it secure. I'd have worn some t shirt emblazoned with images of many of the world's most wicked looking pythons too, but instead I only took my A game of my love of kids. That extends mostly to the low end and cast a ways of the social strata, but not exclusively so. I think many kids like me because I'm as respectful of them as I would be to anyone else. I don't assume the negative, for the most part, and I really like the vitality that is inherent in young minds. This is all to say that I escaped the day without being crucified or permanently maimed.

The grade seven class was a horror show of lethargy. Just plain old, never really tried firing on all cylinders, bad fuel, cloudy day, seen it all, dead in the water at 13 years old... duh.

It was painful. Except for the bright eyed trouble maker in the back corner. She made the whole morning fly by with many laughs and great banter. Mr. X. might not be entirely impressed with the class output under my guidance, but I was very grateful that nothing got broken, no one had to go to the office and many students actually got quite a bit of their work done in class. Amazing.

What a difference two years makes. After lunch the grade nine crew came in, promptly sat down and read. What a routine! Everyone should take twenty minutes to read after lunch. The entire school shuts down to read. Brilliant!

The down side of the grade nine class was that it was painfully obvious that hormones were raging in some parts of the room. I was happy for their distraction and that the energy went places other than trying to skin me alive. In high school I was one of those back row kids that sent the weak teachers packing, in tears, or flailing their arms about in some kind of high blood pressure incantation designed to induce myocardial infarction. My grade five teacher referred to our back row crew as the future park bench sitters. True to his prediction, all of that crew, save me, are dead or in jail.

Teachers are a special breed. I had some very generous interventions through the day from several staff at Shevechenko. I felt like I had the support I needed even though I was woefully unprepared to be a professional.

It was the craziest adventure I've been on in a while. I had a gazillion forms to fill out in an attempt to get paid and I suppose someday I might find out whether it was worth it financially. I certainly don't have a clue what it was worth just now. Likely about a clocks worth. eheh It was certainly worth it to be able to peek into a world that I'd only ever seen from the other side of the desk.

Anne Stefanchuk and her Easter Eggs. One of the many gems of the area. Referring to both Anne and the eggs.

No comments:

Post a Comment