My schedule this year is one of my own asking. Prior posts have covered how I left the Board of Ed. because I thought junior high was too tough, and returned this year under the stipulation that I teach only at elementary level. Falling firmly into the “be careful what you ask for” category, I got four amazing schools and two very troublesome ones: the catch being that the two schools are visited three days a week. Some icing on the cake is Friday and Monday are the toughest; as if Friday’s and Monday’s at any job weren’t already tough enough. Yet, today there was a balancing factor with some thanks to a very famous doctor.
My first two periods were a bit tough. One class was extremely unresponsive at first. My third class had their best day so far this year. Two weeks ago was one of the worst, so it was good to see the change. About a quarter of the class would rather fight and argue with each other about nothing, than focus on anything. Another quarter of the class really wants to study, and they have become more vocal lately in trying to silence the troublemakers. Everything in today’s plan was covered, which brings me to my last class.
Every week this one class has much better behavior than the others at this school. As a result, the students are able to learn more, we spend more time playing educational games, my lesson plans never need to be truncated, and it helps me leave the building sane; having some hope that my day is not wasted. Today, as expected we were able to cover more than the other classes, but instead of letting our final game run long, I cut it off for a little literature.
Often we read stories like Eric Carl’s “Very Hungry Caterpillar”, “Brown Bear, Brown Bear…”, or “From Head to Toe” with it’s Obama-esque ‘you can do it’ message. All of these are fairly simple and repeat the same sentence patterns, which has some value in learning. As a change of pace, and inspired by my recent understanding of the importance of rhymes, I opted for a book written in 1960 by Theodor Seuss Geisel. Yes, that would be “Green Eggs and Ham” by Dr. Suess.
I started reading shortly before the bell and it gonged out it’s mimicry of Big Ben just before I finished. To aid understanding I had translated a few of the lines, but only the first time they appeared. A couple students were making I-don’t-get-it faces early on, which had me concerned, but I noticed during the entire reading all of the students grew very quiet and were staring right at me and the book. After the bell, nobody budged until I said, “The end.”, at which point they spontaneously erupted with applause. Not the mechanical bit we get when we tell them to clap, but the kind that comes from deep inside and has a free energy about it. I was floored.
Today was lifted up a notch by my teacher, Dr. Suess. Oh, and just for the record: I can read it all by myself!