Friday, June 24, 2011

Snapshot of Substitute Teaching in Summer School

We are in the lab right now, and for some reason they are working completely independently.  The assignment is a three or five paragraph descriptive essay.  We are not really sure, because the sub plans don't specify.  I wrote a five paragraph outline on the board; several students have their own theories. 

I have blocked the internet using a program called SMART Synchoneyes(TM).  I find this program to be both creepy and exhilarating at the same time.  I feel like the best disciplinarian in the world, and also like big brother.  It's fun to take control of a random student's screen and start typing the words to the Oscar Meyer wiener song-- they think they're computer is posessed by a poltergeist, a spirit of some trouble-maker past.  It would make me paranoid and slightly paralyzed as a student to know my teacher's eyes were hovering in the background as I made my first attempts to organize my thoughts.

Another teacher came in who wasn't scheduled for the lab-- left a few of his students in here when they went next door to work.  It's all good-- everyone's working!  Must be that summer school magic.  That last-chance mentality.  That resigned I-guess-I-might-as-well-do-something-because-I'm-stuck-here-anyway feeling.  Is it about the learning?  Maybe some of them are trying to improve their writing.  It's hard to tell, having just met them yesterday.  I find myself wishing I had more time to give examples of descriptive writing, to show a continuum of abstract vs. concrete language.  To give them feedback.  But I will not be evaluating these essays, and there isn't much time to form a mentoring relationship.

I am disturbed by the movie Bad Teacher.  I still want to see it, of course.  Stereotypes about teachers and students have not really changed much, but the timing, and the political atmosphere surrounding public education at the moment, especially in Arizona, makes the idea that teachers are unnaccountable mavericks really difficult to see over and over again through the television trailers.
Wordle: Bad TeacherClick to See my Goofy LA Times Movie Review Wordle.

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