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Why Teachers Kick Ass January 12, 2012

Posted by alwaysjan in Teaching, Uncategorized.
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Thanks to Michelle, my former student teacher who is now gainfully employed, for sharing this. Today was a very long day and even though I’ve heard versions of this, with the graphics and the voiceover, it was just what I needed after another day of “making a difference.”

“How was it coming back after break,” some idiot asked. Well, actually, it was like getting slapped in the face with a cold fish. It didn’t help that no sooner had school started than Student #32 was dropped off on my doorstep. He’s from Korea and doesn’t know a word of English. I didn’t have a desk for him and ended up rearranging the entire classroom to handle what is beginning to resemble a small city of rather small people.

Here’s the difference I’ve made in the three days I’ve been back.
1)  Said student from Korea can now say, “Teacher!” I’ve had to discourage him from getting other students’ attention by pinching them. (Though it DOES do the trick.) He’s obviously bright, so I pull out my iPhone and use my translation app for words like “crazy.” I’ve taught my students what the expression “lightning in a bottle” means, as I believe this best describes the new kid. He’s got a ready smile and the gung ho enthusiasm of a puppy.

2) Nature Club, my resident group of tree huggers, was elated today to hear they would not lose their beloved clubhouse. Their “clubhouse” is actually a narrow passage behind the chain link backstop on the baseball diamond. (I hesitate even calling it this, as it implies there’s some sort of diamond – there’s not.) I’m not exactly sure what it is that Nature Club does. I do know it involves carrying a basket of seed pods and twigs out to the playground to decorate the “clubhouse.” They had been told by a yard supervisor that they would have to move and were outraged. They asked me about getting a lawyer. I convinced them that a persuasive letter was more in their price range. They got to writing. I was so glad to hear today that they got their “clubhouse” back, as I was envisioning a peaceful protest involving them dressed as leaves. I’m counting that as one more crisis averted. Did I mention that they keep logs in my classroom?

I could go on and on, but you get the picture. For friends who’ve asked, I’m once again posting my a favorite video Ideal Class Size from my post The Rising Body Count. Notice how things start to go downhill after 23. Oh yeah…

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Comments»

1. Richard Marshall - January 12, 2012

As I’ve said before, ‘You are a Saint.” If I was Catholic, I would nominate you or whatever they do. But I suspect that all teachers of your caliber might be eligible. That narrows it down to just a few.

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2. Tim Bradley - January 12, 2012

Nice job, as usual. Do teachers talk like that? Isn’t that translation app great? I use the talking Google Translate app when I do my volunteering at Huntington Hospital. I use it to talk to patients who don’t speak English, plus I’ve put in some of the most repeated phrases in Spanish, Chinese and Armenian. I just touch the screen and the phone talks. Amazing!

Tim,
Talk like what? I’ll have you know that I had to tell a student today that he couldn’t call another student a “retard.” An “ass” is related to a mule, right? I’ve got the free app as I’m too cheap to spring for the one with talking. Fortunately, all of my kids who’ve come from Asia are literate in their first language. Watching it translate words into characters is SO cool.

Hey, weren’t you the Luddite? >blush< BTW – I just realized that the link to the video wasn’t on. You gotta check it out. Jan

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Tim Bradley - January 13, 2012

Jan,
The Google Translate app with the voice was free.
Best,
Tim

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3. Tracy - January 12, 2012

HI Jan,

I have sent the link to “ideal class size” to so many people- it’s hilarious! I’m sure it means even more to you- but it’s just incredibly funny in it’s own right…

I wanted to say, too, that in my elementary school years, all of my classes were 30+ kids…I think we had 38 in year 6. We did everything in small groups, as I recall. Luckily, we had really good teachers at that school- all women, and all very in-charge, I can promise you that- lol…You never forget your good teachers, do you?

Tracy

Hi Tracy,
I’ve watched the “Ideal Class Size” videos at least 30 times and laugh every time! So glad you forwarded it to teacher friends as I’m sure they can relate. I came to teaching first in 1997 when class sizes for K-3 (5-8 years olds) had been reduced to 20. Even then it was a challenge as so many of my students didn’t speak English and weren’t literate in their first language. They were essentially bi-illiterate.

I’m afraid the ability to form small groups (always an ideal solution) has fallen by the wayside as there’s no longer enough room to move about the classroom. I often feel like I’m teaching a college lecture course. :(

It’s true, you DO remember those teachers who believed in you. I’ve been trying to locate my art teacher from high school just to let her know (belatedly) that she made a huge difference in my life. It’s also true that teachers never forget those special students. :)

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4. shoutabyss - January 12, 2012

I had a few life-changing teachers at the small town public school and I feel very fortunate for that. Good video, especially the part about being judged based on what you make. Ugh.

And you know what? Sometimes when a kid says he’s gotta go, he really means it. But that story remains on another blog. :)

Shout,
Haha…You just want to get back on your favorite subject – poop! My students can sign out and use the bathroom anytime they want. First, I can tell who can’t tell analog time (12 out of the 32!) I don’t want to be explaining those “accidents” to parents. That said, if they sign out within 30 minutes of recess, I know they didn’t go when they were supposed to and they flip their card. I schedule a break mid-afternoon for the entire class. Otherwise they’re leaving one at a time and I’d need a revolving door. But, you’d be surprised at the non-bathroom related activities that transpire in school bathrooms. I can’t even get into some of THOSE. Jan

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5. Michelle - January 15, 2012

I got a mention in your blog! I feel honored! You were the best master teacher I had throughout my entire student teaching. People always tell me that being a teacher sucks because they don’t make any money. I always retort back, “But I got in it for the money!” The other person does not appreciate my sarcasm.

Following an internship at Goldman Sachs, one of my cousins told me that I am going to be poor for the rest of my life. At least I didn’t sell my soul to the devil. I told her that I became a teacher because I love children, I love being in the classroom, and I love my own children. Being a teacher also allows me to be a mom.

If I can be half the teacher that you are Mrs. Marshall, than I will be doing a great job. Thank you for being an awesome teacher! :)

Michelle,
>blush< You were great fun to have in my classroom. I'm so proud of you and all you've accomplished while raising two kids basically on your own. No one goes into teaching for the money, but it sure is nice to feel fairly compensated for the work we do. Teaching reading really is rocket science, so my hat's off to you. Jan

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6. elissestuart - January 19, 2012

Hats off to you Jan – I could never be trapped in a room with 32 + 8 year olds for an entire day. Even with recess and lunch.
ES

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7. Catherine Sherman - January 23, 2012

Reblogged this on Catherine Sherman and commented:
Another excellent post from Planetjan. The videos are excellent, the commentary is superb. Don’t take your teachers for granted!

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8. Catherine Sherman - January 23, 2012

@Richard, I am Catholic (lapsed) so I can nominate Jan for sainthood. I just need to say one million Hail Marys first. I believe Jan has personally performed the necessary miracles, such as fitting 32 children into a class meant for 23.
@Tim, Translating effectively with google is another miracle, because google translate tends to fracture anything longer than “Le chat boit du lait.”

Thanks, Jan, for the fantastic videos and the always excellent commentary on the teaching life. It was so hilarious viewing the “ideal class size” video again. There’s nothing like British humor to “frappé l’ongle sur la tête” I have no idea whether those are correctly translated!

I liked this post so much that I reblogged it.

Cathy,
Thanks for your ringing endorsement. I only care about sainthood if it includes a monetary prize. LOL. I can watch the Ideal Class Size video over and and over and always laugh myself silly. I fear a rudimentary religion is beginning to develop in my own classroom… BTW my original class size was 20. It jumped to 28 last night and was to be limited to such. But this year, they keep enrolling more students. I CAN walk on water, but not if they make me wear lead shoes. :-(
Always, Jan

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