Saturday, October 21, 2006

Teaching Middle School

Yesterday was a job at a middle school teaching 6th grade core. I didn't even know what "core" meant when I took the job, but it turns out it means History, Reading and Writing. I left the office that morning after introductions and being handed a packet of procedures thinking that this was like an inner city school with altercations every day. You know, precautions to take, detention slips to give out, emergency numbers to call -- certainly good to have, but it sure made me think that disasters happen all the time!

Fortunately my impression of this being a violent school was quickly diluted. I had two class sections three periods each. The first set of students were so much fun and just a dream to teach. They actually behaved well for having a sub in class! The second group were tough to handle. They were a larger group by only about 5 kids, but I guess they came from more troubled backgrounds because they were much more uncooperative -- that and I didn't have a teacher's assistant for that class -- go figure -- it's the class that needed one more.

It's amazing how much more dialog I had, how much more I was able to teach to the kids who were better behaved. Made me think about how I might be able to ensure Aidan gets into a class of well behaved children when he's older. It's imparative to learning!

In any case... at the end of the day, some of these kids from the rambunctious group helped me clean up a little and others even said how much they liked me, that other subs had always gotten angry and yelled at them or sent them to the office. My third grade class said something similar last Monday too. I'm glad I'm so well liked! But I think it's something I learned in Thailand: It does no good to yell and get upset. If anything they feed off that and they dish it out even more! I also give out compliments and positive feedback and smile at them -- a genuine, warm smile. Kids can tell real friendliness!

I think that despite this being tough at times, with some more practice (esp. in classroom management) it should become more enjoyable. This is something I want to do part time, 2-3 times a week to pay for groceries and the minimum payments on our credit cards til Discovery Day brings in a lot more income.

1 comment:

amygeekgrl said...

Good for you!! How great that the kids took the time to verbalize their compliments to you. :) I think your philosophy is a great one.