Saturday, November 5, 2011

Teaching moments.

I have been primarily substitute teaching the past couple of weeks at a vo-tech school that serves the whole Thumb area. Really like the admin staff, the teachers I have met and the students who are feisty but respectful in most cases. As I mentioned before, what goes on in schools these days is very different than when I taught. However, so much is the same...a few examples:

In the electrical shop, a young man asked, "can I go to the bathroom?" My response, "At your age, I am sure you CAN. Did you want to ask, "May I go to the bathroom?"" After the third time with this exchange, another lad asked correctly to the hooting and amazement of his classmates.

Same day, different class, a young man indicated he had heard about me from the day before. I enquired what he'd heard and he said, "You have special skills." Hmmm...I bit, asking exactly what those skills might be. It seems the kids were a bit amazed that I could learn their names in 15 minutes and his buddy had been in my marketing class of about 20 kids or so.

I laughed and took attendance. 15 minutes into the class, the young lad called a "time out" so I could exhibit my special skills for them. Remember, subs are supposed to be big babysitters and anyone different, is suspect and worth trying to stump.

This class had 19 kids, all boys. So, I pointed to each, in no order and told each his name. I missed one only to find out that he'd come in after I had taken attendance and was back at the teacher's desk and didn't notice his entrance. Usually, I am lousy at names, but way back in the old days when teaching, I knew I had to know each kid's name on day 1. So, not being good with names, I connected the kid's face to what s/he had on: Cody in the white hoody; second Cody in the blue Abercrombie shirt etc. And, then ran them through my head until I had face with clothing and the next day, I would have the face with new clothing and eventually...just the face was enough.

I told them how I did it and about 20 minutes later a boy came around an electrical wiring cage and said, "I took off my shirt...who am I?" There was no longer a boy in the room with a red sweatshirt on so he had to be Justin. Kids thought I was "awesome."

Because most of these kids won't go on to college but will become construction workers, beauticians or child care workers, reminding them that they will need recommendations to get that first job makes for quick reversal of any questionable behaviour. Had one young man spit out a "fu*k" and I asked what the fine was for that infraction? Much glancing around and another kid said, "0.25. How did you know?" Love stumping them...kid paid up and even told me where to put the money and where to leave the note about who said what. Told him I would write that I assessed the fine but would pretend I didn't know WHO said it...just that he had paid up!

No comments:

Post a Comment