Some random thoughts on recent teaching experiences:
Recently, when playing music while the students worked, Stevie Wonder came on my iTunes. One student remarked, "My dad listens to this kind of music." Thanks, kid, thanks a lot.
I missed three days of school this past week. The first two were planned, as it was Rosh Hashanah. That was fine, because I actually knew ahead of time who my sub would be, so I was able to prep her ahead of time. And since I know her to be an intelligent person, I didn't have to dumb down my lesson plans like I normally do. Subs tend to be unpredictable--I've had a couple do exactly what I asked and they left me a full report of the classes, but I've also had plenty who have messed things up even when I thought my plans were idiot-proof. So thank goodness that was not an issue for these days! The next day, however, was another story......I got super sick over Rosh Hashanah (it really ruined a lot of the holiday for me), and had to stay out on Wednesday. I would have just sucked it up, but I had a fever and decided that would not be wise. And of course, I ended up with a different sub, and all of my classes said, "That lady was craaazy....." When even the good kids say that, and then follow up their claim by informing me that she said they couldn't peer edit each other's papers but they could text, you gotta believe them. Oy.
I was at the grocery store yesterday in the town where I work before heading to a little dinner party at a coworker's home (well, former coworker--it was her last day before retirement!). I then heard someone say, "Ms. -----!" It was one of my students (who I also had two years ago), with his little baby in the shopping cart. I knew his girlfriend had had a baby last year, but I wasn't quite ready for the reality of meeting a student's child. But I asked about the baby, touched his precious little head, and felt my heart warm when he smiled at me. Still, it terrifies me when I see kids having kids. I don't think these students realize just how much their teachers worry about them. All the things they go through, especially outside of school.....it reminds me how lucky I was to have such a great and comfortable upbringing. I wish with all my heart I could ensure that my students have the same, but I can't. I do the best I can for them in school, but I worry about what happens afterwards.
I'm learning my students' personalities now. Some pain-in-the-asses have emerged, but I'm definitely working to shut that behavior down quickly this year. But some of the kids are just so cute. A couple of the sophomore boys are so sweet and earnest, and I have this one girl who is so tiny and adorable, and she always says hello and goodbye to me. Talking to her makes me think of puppies and Lisa Frank notebooks. I also had a nice chat with one of my seniors recently when she stayed after school to bandy around ideas for her college essay. After that discussion, we just talked about life for a while, with her telling me stories about herself and asking me things about college and such. It's nice when students want to connect with their teachers, when they are able to see us as more than taskmasters.