Wednesday, December 13, 2006


If days could be rated by colors (black, white or gray) I'd rate today: Gray. Wednesdays are usually my worst days and at the same time my second favorites.
Worst days cuz I have to teach 7 out of the 8 periods at school (2 of them science - I truly hate teaching that sub. I'd rather teach them MATH!). Second favorites cuz they are the days before the last day of the week (there might also be some lingering love from when the weekends were Thursday-Friday before they changed them to Friday-Saturday and Wednesday was the day before the weekend).
Today I got to school on time for my 7:40 class (first period). Best part about having that first period class is the fact that most of the kids don't trudge in till 8, 8:30. So the first period gets at least half of the time cut off. I had class 3b1 first. They are a smaller class than 3b2 with only 13 kids to 3b2's 17. There's a nasty bug going around the school and most of the kids have caught it. A couple of days there were only 6 kids in 3b1. Anywayz today 3 were absent so on one side of the classroom there were only 4 kids and on the other side 5 (Damned MPS follows the British Curriculum and part of the curriculum is group learning where they sit in groups of four - four desks pushed together.) Anywayz it was while I was looking at them split up and all talking that I came up with a 'new' way to teach them. It turns out it is easier to get one side of the classroom quiet and focusing at a time than trying to have the whole class's attention. Albeit that means I have to explain and teach each lesson at least twice in one class. I don't mind. It's really a great feeling when you teach something and you actually find that your class has 'gotten' it. I was pleased at the end of the lesson when it appeared that 75% of them had understood and learnt something new today.
Mission accomplished!
3b1's two periods of English were over before I knew it (I was actually enjoying the period.). I immediately have to get to 3b2 to teach them a period before break and then I give them a second period after break. I walked in and had just finished collecting the homework diaries (we have to write the homework in the diaries.. lots of teachers just write the hw on the board and tell the kids to copy it off. Most of the time kids handwriting be so horrible that u can't understand anything from it - pretty damn annoying, and I speak from experience as a private tutor. So to spare whoever has to help those kids with their hw I write it down myself in each diary.) when the principal walks in; diet coke and black notebook in hand. She informs me she is going to "observe" my class and teaching and not to mind her cuz she was just going to sit in the back.
My first thought was "Crap a surprise observation." She immediately walked out saying she was going to get a chair. *Quick Breather* While El Hazard reassures self. "It's not that bad.. My class back in the old school was observed by the principal. Compared to that time I have much more experience now and I command a hell of alot more respect then I had over the 19 in that class back then. I can -and will- do this!" ::invisible punches thrown in the air signifying my readiness::
Principal walks back in with a chair and perches on it in the back of the class. "Damn, those eyes are on me...that pen is writing about me!" I tell the boys to take out their english textbooks. "Chillax... u've done this before..." Boys were having trouble getting them books open to the page (even though I wrote which book, the unit number and the page number on the board). I had to help a couple of boys get the right page- they would have gotten it on their own but I was itching to get started and get my mind off of the eyes in back... Those eyes that were watching intently observing all and leaving nothing un-noted. "That's right! I came up with a new improved way of teaching this morning, time to unleash it on this class." So I did just that. I became so engrossed in teaching that I was able to almost totally block out the fact I was being observed. "YOSH!" Then one boy came to me from the other side of the class and asked to go to the bathroom. Letting the kids out to the bathroom had already been banned by that same principal twice in staff meetings. I so don't think that is right to deny a kid the use of the bathroom especially if they really gotta go. I usually ask though if they are going for water or to actually go for the bathroom. Once they say bathroom (and even though they can be little devils at times they are pretty honest when it comes to saying whether they are going to the bathroom or just to drink water. One boy actually said he was going to do both. lol) I let them go.
So once that kid came up to me and asked "Teacher can I go to the bathroom?" I felt those eyes zero in. She was waiting intently for my answer. Should I forbid him cuz she *did* forbid the bathroom after all..? I looked at the boy. He looked like he needed to use the bathroom. "Hell, any other time I let them go to the bathroom and what kind of hypocrite would I be if I refuse him now just cuz her highness is sitting in the class?!" ..... "Go" was my two letter permission grant. I wish I could have seen her face when she heard me grant it. "That's it, just like that, carry on as if she isn't in the room.. she's here to *observe* how I teach a class not how I can perform." With that any nervousness that might have been hiding was immediately banished. Praise the Lord above, my voice didn't shake while I was reading and I managed to effect my normal tone.
Once they are all busily working away I sit at the teacher's desk and write in their home work diaries. I proceeded to the desk and gave them my back while I stood and began to write. "What are you doing? You know you don't write homework leaning over the desk with ur back to the class. She's here to observe not watch a performance!" *nod nod* as I circle the desk and sit as I always do. I start to write. One book done. Two books done. Three. Fo- "Teacher! What is number 6?" I move to get up and then remember mid-way up that at that point I tell the boys to bring their books to me at the front and I help them out while I still write in the HW diaries. "Bring the book let me see it." The boy brings it. He barely finishes before 2 other boys announce they have finished the first assignment. "Bring your books" I quickly check over their work and assign them the next assignment. They trot off happily back to their desks. It continues on like that till the bell rings for break time. A few still haven't had their work checked but it is done. I announce to the class to leave their notebooks on my desk and they can go out for break. "I did it! I did it! I made it through the observation doing everything I usually do even down to letting them leave the books for checking while they go to break."
Praise the Lord I had come up with an improved way to teach that morning. After break the principal reappeared for observation round 2. (Can I just say praise the Lord again that it wasn't a science period she was observing?) Second period english went basically as the first one had gone- with the exception of 2 boys going to the bathroom instead of just one. I had also forgotten to put my phone on silent and of course mother had to call. As my phone rung in the middle of the lesson I hesitated for half second wondering should I pick it up. Any other time I answer it and just tell whoever I am in the middle of class and get off with the quickness "She's here to observe not watch a performance..." Decision made. Phone answered. Mother dispersed of quickly and back to the lesson. I'm sure I earned her highness's royal frown cuz she hates cell phones anyways. At least I had/have no feelings of guilt for being hypocritical and sucking up to her expectations.
I had thought that they would have kicked us out on another field trip (the third in one week). Turned out it was 6th grade that was going on the trip. I left my Laptop home cuz it really is quite heavy to lug around with the rest of the junk I add in the bag along with it. I had made the mistake of bringing it on Monday not realizing there was a field trip that day and ended up lugging it around for 3 hours. Between Monday and today I somehow managed to strain my neck and shoulder muscles pretty good. (Sternocleidomastoideus is the name of that muscle.) Hurts like hell to turn my head, move my neck or right arm even slightly.. Dammit, I have pretty good breaks tomorrow and I want my Lt. Guess I'll have to carry it on my left shoulder. (I'll have to invest in a proper Lt bag so I have the option of carrying it brief case style in times like these)
Ok so that was my school part of the day that helped contribute to today scoring a "Gray". I finally got the virus protection for my Lt today from the new electronic store, Emax, here in Sharjah. Means I can finally download from mininova again...well until I run out of space on my Lt. Something which is fast approaching as I only have 1.96 GBs on the general hard drive and the back up drive space I've been using as well is down to 4.35GBs from 25 GBs.
I'm almost sure there is something else that made this a gray day... can't remember what it was now. I think I'll go get a hot shower and give my neck a massage.
(I am so ready for it)


Bookworm said...

Whoa - surprise observation :S Bas it sounds like you did a pretty good job! MashaAlla. You have the teacher spirit :: nod nod ::

& and your new idea seems to be good! It's working and that's a sign ;)

Hey, if you want, you could have the whole class sit on the floor infront of you when you explain the lesson and then ask them to go to their groups. I had to teach in the British Curriculum too in my practicum and that's what I usually did. & that way, you'd only explain the lesson once instead of twice..

Ugh. Poor you. Laptops are heavy when you carry them around for a long time. There's this special kind of cream you can rub onto ur neck muscles. Why don't you try it?

El Hazard said...

Thanx. After my shower that night I rubbed some arnica cream on it. Doesn't hurt much now. There's only a dull pain nearer to the back of my neck that I only feel if I turn my head to the extreme left.

I've gotten used to carrying my Lt on my left shoulder now so I can carry it on both interchangably so there won't be so much strain on the right shoulder anymore.

Yesterday we didn't have anything to do in the English period so I sat them all on the carpet and read them a story. Once the story was finished I wrote some questions on the board which they had to read and then write their answers. Sitting them all together on the carpet on a daily basis would prove disastrous though. (I only got away with it yesterday cuz there were only 6 or 7 of them and most of them had colds and were tired!)