Just now I was in my local Woolworths store on my way to work.
The cashier was chatty.
“Much on for the day?”
“On my way to work.”
“What do you do?”
“I’m a teacher.”
“Oh. And only on your way to work now?”
“I work part-time.”
Stunned silence. I looked at her pointedly.
Then I said, “What does THAT mean?”
She didn’t reply.
So I continued: “Whatever it meant, you’re probably wrong.”
I really wanted to tell her that she probably makes almost as much per hour as I do, and she didn’t need a university education to achieve that.
I wanted to tell her that I only work part time because my health issues mean I can’t work full time.
I wanted to tell her that teachers do as many hours outside the classroom as they do in it, and that “all those holidays” usually get eaten up by planning, preparation and a pile of marking.
And I wanted to tell her that assuming something about what a person does, whether they’re a teacher or a checkout chick, is not okay.
I didn’t, though. Ijust took my bag of shopping and left.
Great start to my day. Thanks, lady.
They say life is a continual learning experience.
This morning, I walked into my Y12 classroom, where the heater had been on long enough to make the room too warm for me. I pulled my scarf off, not roughly, but vigorously enough for the clasp on my necklace came undone. I looked down just in time to see my pendant disappearing into my cleavage.
Instead of just leaving it there and retrieving it later, I started laughing.
Of course I did. Why not draw more attention to myself, after all?
My students watched on, having no idea what had caused my outburst. Then one of the saw the chain on the desk and caught on.
“Weren’t you just wearing that, Miss?”
“Yes. Yes, I was.”
“So… Where’s the thing that’s usually on the chain?”
“Well…” I said, “A funny thing happened when I took off my scarf. This chain came undone, and…”
The look of familiarity with my predicament dawned on the face of every girl in the room. The boys, however, had become intently studious and we’re doing all they could do disengage from the conversation. The young man who started the conversation was clearly regretting that he had asked that first question.
So I stood up, turned my back to the class, and jiggled a little. My pendant fell to the floor, I picked it up, replaced it on the chain, and put my necklace on again. I turned around again and proceeded with the lesson while we all pretended nothing had happened.
I just asked a Year 10 student to turn his music off while he was working on a history presentation that is due tomorrow.
He said, “I bet you don’t even know that song.”
“I might,” I answered. “What song was it?”
“The Battle of New Orleans” by Johnny Horton.
That stopped me. This kid must have digitized his grandfather’s old record collection.
“I do, actually.”
Then he sang, “We fired our guns and the British kept a-comin’…”
And I sang, “There wasn’t nigh as many as there was a while ago!”
He thought that was pretty cool, I guess. Then I asked him how much he wanted me to tell him about the War of 1812.
It’s incredible how suddenly kids can become motivated to work on the assignment that is due tomorrow. I wish I knew how that happened.
He did laugh out loud in class when he received this.
It’s only when your students are absolutely silent during an assessment that you realise how badly your shoes sound like squeaky farts.
Barefoot for the rest of the lesson, it is.
From time to time, teachers are asked to cover lessons for colleagues who are absent for some reason.
Today I had the privelege of covering a Y10 Health and Human Development class.
They could have been discussing exercise, nutrition or health… but, no.
That would have been waaayyy too easy. They had to be learning about male and female body parts and their functions.
While I was busy asking myself why these lessons always seem to be handed to me, I was interrupted by a student asking a question.
Student 1: “What’s the cervix again?”
Student 2: “It’s the trapdoor thing that stops the baby coming out.”
Wait. The what??
Very diplomatically, I suggested he might like to look things up in a dictionary, or at least the printed notes they had been given to read and highlight. I don’t think he did, though.
A little later, Student 1 had another question: “Are the uterus and the urethra the same thing?”
Again, I pointed him to the printed notes and the dictionary.
“How is that going to help me?” he asked.
“How indeed?” I thought to myself.
I’m sorry, Miss K. I tried.
My students were working on their assignments to create an original interpretation of the story of Beowulf.
All was quiet, until one said, “There’s no more music. Only death.”
I commented on how poetic that was, and asked if she was going to use that for the scene where Grendel attacks the Danes in their mead hall.”
She looked surprised.
“No… I had music notes in the picture and I took them out.”
Today I’ve been given a Year 8 Maths class to cover for a teacher who is away.
I struggled with Year 8 Maths when I was in Year 8. I have no hope of appearing to master it now, no matter how good an actress or improviser I may be.
So I advised the class: “I expect you to work quietly and stay focused on your work. If you need help, I strongly advise asking one of your classmates, because I am not going to be of any help to you.”
One boy raised his hand and asked incredulously, “Are you saying you can’t do Year 8 Maths?”
“What I’m saying,” I replied, “Is that my career as a teacher should be an encouragement to anyone who struggles in one area or another. You can be successful, even if something like Maths defies you.”
The strugglers in the class smiled, and everyone settled down to their work. They seem to know what they’re doing.
Phew. Dodged a bullet there.
In a hurry to get ready for my next class, I *almost* mistook a glue stick for my lip balm.
Let’s just say it’s a very good thing that I have a keen sense of smell.
As I was walking through the corridor to the library, one of my Y10 students smiled and said, “See you later’ alligator!”
I stopped her and asked if she knew the difference between an alligator and a crocodile.
Three Y3 girls nearby listened with interest.
“Not really,” she said, “What is it?”
I answered with a grin, “One will see you later, and one will see you in a while.”
She rolled her eyes and groaned, and then one of the younger girls said, very loudly, “I don’t get it.”
“Yeah!” said one of her friends. “That’s a dumb joke.”
The third little girl, with a look of grave admonition on her face, said, “Teachers shouldn’t tell jokes when it sounds like they’re going to teach you something good.”
That’s me. Failing since 1.05pm today.