Mind Blown: A story from my Year 10 history classroom.
One of my students has quoted ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ and Johnny Cash’s ‘Man In Black’ in a piece of writing exploring how people encounter and respond to conflict.
I think I’ve died and gone to Teacher Heaven.
I’ve just self-published my first play!
‘The Shakespeare Omelette’ is a one act play in which four teens enact parts of different Shakespeare plays while waiting for their teacher. It has been road-tested on my drama class, who greatly enjoyed rehearsing and performing the play. The audience also seemed to enjoy it.
The process of self-publication was new to me, so I hope I got it right! If you have any problems, please leave a comment here and I’ll try to sort things.
You can click here to buy it as a softcover book or PDF via blurb.com
It is my hope that it will soon be available in the iBooks store.
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.
This morning my students were laughing as they told me the story about the black eye one young lady among them is sporting, due to accidentally being hit on the bridge of the nose with a spoon by another student.
The wielder of the spoon got to the point where he was laughing uncontrollably.
“It’s because I’m a comic genius, isn’t it?” I asked him.
Still laughing, he looked at me and almost said no, then stopped himself.
“You know, there’s no correct answer to that question!” said the student next to him.
The laughter stopped, and he said, “Yeah, I’m just not going to say anything.”
Comic genius, it is.
While teaching senior high school can be challenging, I have often found it to be highly entertaining.
This morning in my Year 12 English class, I was in the process of assigning roles for my students to read as part of our study of Bertolt Brecht’s play “Life of Galileo”.
Student 1: “Can I be Galileo?”
Me: “Sure! Any other requests?”
Student 2: “I’ll be the Doge.”
Student 3: “That’s pronounced ‘douche’!”
General laughter ensued.
What a great way to start a Friday.
Man, I love those guys!
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.