woensdag 15 september 2010

What Does a Teacher Make?

This year I teach on Wednesdays! Not this is something exceptional but for a person who was the last five years at home on that specific day it is. Turns out it is a lot harder to get rid of that 'free day'-feeling then to the getting used to not teaching that day! Need time to recuperate from just being out there between 7 pm and 12 am. Normally I can go on teaching 24/24!

Still can't seem to find the right paste and once I am in my classroom I am staring into they eyes of kids who are mentally not present. 'Wednesdays is only half a day of school but it is 4 hours too much', they are sending straight at me. On this particular day of the week they are stuck me for two hours straight! On top of that I teach them social skills and I move into the computer room (I am still dreaming of a room filled up with Apple computers that all work efficiently for 100%!!!) with a bunch of 'newborns'.

So yesterday the 'mean' teacher Stallie was active. My grade booklet was out and I felt like being a referee during a Champions League football game. Lots of whistle blowing and tons of red cards! Best of all was when I let them grade themselves. LOL! Some gave them outrageously low grades and other did think they deserved the highest score and are up for the Nobel price. Also the excuses they came up for not handing in their home assignments were too good to be true! But I always give them the benefit of the doubt before I call the shots(grades)!

By the time I left the school building it felt like I had been running a marathon. Like they sucked all the energy out of me. Not that I had not made any predictions about this specific group but you always hope you are mistaken for once. NOPE!! These kids are going to kick some ass with me. A bunch of teenagers who are on the loose! Will a course of social skills bring what it takes to turn them into 'better' behaving citizens? Uhm, hard to say, check or even grade!

All I know is that I will for sure be very challenged by this lively group of kids who want to be everywhere but not between the four walls of my classroom. I have already been 'head banging' against the black board and rolled my eyes in all possible directions. At a certain moment I even felt like a sparkling (still keep up the make-up promise!!) decorated xmastree in the middle of the summer: completely out of place.

While driving home I was wondering why I still do this, why teaching does matter to some and others not! When I made the choice that all I wanted was to teach I had some others in mind who were up for medals of honor. Teachers who I still call exceptional and I do 'try to copy' once in a while. These are the ones who thaught me so much more then just facts, numbers, dates, formulas and symbols. Not that all my classmates did agree on my personal shortlist ... Lets face it: hating French as a subject must have been also very hard on the teacher. Guess she/he never got a fair chance.

By the time I got home and opened my mailbox I found a very nice message (to be found at the end of the post) of one of my all time favorite teachers: Mrs McC!!!! She is the one who got me hooked on anything that is written in the English language, she thaught me to write in a proper way and above made me first think and reflect about what I was about to put down on paper.

In her classroom I felt always at home and this even when I was thousands miles away from my hometown! Still miss her and wished it was a bit easier to talk to her in person. She is out with me many times in a filled up classrooms and this in the good and also harder times I am having out there!

Chances are pretty high that I am not up for a medal on a Wednesday but I do know all my pupils deserve the right to get useful education. And no, I don't make a fortune by doing this. And yesterday the whole A+ and C- bit took place in my classroom, but they are still not aware of this! LOL!

There was even a kid who wrote this word on a sheet op paper not knowing what this stood for and what made me even LOL out harder! He thaught I came from Mars when I asked him to explain to all of us what he had written down. 'Just 'LOL', I guess!', was his answer! What do I make as a teacher? For sure millions of inner smiles even on a Wednesday!