My second school work day was a surprise from the moment I arrived. The teacher I was subbing for was in her room and the first period, I was sent to a math/social science teacher's class. He was also in his room and wasn't "feeling" like math right then, but he could switch social studies to that period and catch up on math later. So, he/we decided to go out into the hallway where there is a huge map and I told the kids where I had been working these past couple of years and they picked a country for me to discuss and for them to hold a Q&A with me.
They chose Iraq, which was one of my favorite countries and we discussed education, women's rights, the difference between the freedom in the north amongst the Kurds and what is happening in the south. These 7th graders thought in one country, everything should be the same. So we discussed differences that they have experienced, seen, heard of that are unique, different between our southern and northern states. Eye opening, that discussion!
I went back to the original English classes but at noon, my teacher brought me a new plan. After lunch, I was to go relieve a 1st grade teacher. YUP, 1st grade...6 year olds. Much to share here. And the next period was with 5th graders who were studying the US, its climate, geography and regions. Then, back to middle school English. A hoot of a day.
1st graders are apparently creatures of habit and are forced into learning their days and stopping all of the afternoon time they had as half day kindergardeners. One little girl told me her tummy hurt and she was going into the loft. She was dead asleep in 2 minutes and two others wanted to join her. Apparently, these little guys miss their naps! I taught adding and I want you to know that one does NOT say, "1 plus 1 equals 2." Nope...we do it this way: 1 AND 1 are 2. No deviations from the norm. They played math games, and completed a math worksheet which I asked them to hold on so we could correct it together. NOT something we do. One little guy told me, very politely, "that is not normal." Normal is to place the completed work in a bin, which we did. Snack time was very serious because two boys had to go get the mile from the cafeteria, but math boys were slow at completeing their worksheet. Silly me...I suggested two other boys go. Calm turned chaotic in 30 seconds. We waited. Now, we count snacks ahead of passing them out and the girl who was sleeping was the snack girl. I decided to not upset the basket and wait til the next day for her to pass out her snacks. Everyone, even without a snack thought that was a good decision!
5th graders were a hoot. They had read a chapter on the US, its climate, environment, physical landmarks and features and had questions to answer. Some were open ended...like: what features would you expect to find in the coastal lowland areas? One young girl pointed to the map and shared that she had no idea...she had never been to those states.
Next class, a special ed teacher came in, listened to the assignment I had been left and she decided to take one young man out of the room. She thought it would go better for him and for me. Had him later in my last period science class and was wishing someone would come get him and a couple of his buddies. Behaviour and control of one's mouth, whether talking, singing, rapping, mumbling is apparently not something taught at home. I could tell what was "the norm" because no one looked askance or said anything. Unusual...much for me to learn.