Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Today was the second day with Ms. R's class. It is probably the last time I'll be at that school this year, and perhaps the last time I'll see the kids there, if I find some other work after the Summer. She has a very good class--there's one boy in the class who has difficulty staying on task, Ralph. She had warned me that he was pushing boundaries, and that I shouldn't hesitate to send him to another classroom on a time-out, but I didn't find it necessary, since he wasn't really keeping anyone else from doing the classwork. With the exception of Bina, perhaps, but she is energetic too and needs some supervision. But she did finish her work today. She told me that she had asthma in first grade, but it's gone now, and so now she's active... I think that was her story.

Trishtine was being a bit obstinate, refusing to do art, but I let it pass. She was complaining of being hungry and tired in the afternoon, and I asked if she finished her lunch. She said she only ate half her pizza because she wasn't hungry. What else could I say except that she should eat all of her food next time. I found out her Vietnamese name is Thuy Tiên (she wrote a mark over the u too, but I don't see that represented here). I could pronounce the first part, but not the second. Vietnamese is rather difficult for me to catch, even though Mandarin speakers like to say Cantonese sounds like Vietnamese. Vietnamese is a bit more nuanced, at least to me.

Her friends seem to be nice too, like Lena. Good kids. Sure you can see original sin at work, but children can be endearing.

I was surprised that the kids in Ms. I's class said hi to me during recess, and even some of the kids in Ms. I's reading class. (Like Junior from Ms. N's class and a couple of his classmates.) Many of the other kids asked when I would be teaching them again, but I reminded them that they didn't have reading class any more, since it had finished, and that the end of the school year was coming. Ms. I's class was driving me a bit batty towards the end of the assignment; their teacher was recovering from a rather serious illness, so her return was continually delayed until she got approval from her doctor. I must have gotten 2 or 3 colds during that assignment, each one worse than the previous, so that didn't help with classroom management or patience.

Alyssa, Cruz, Maria, Feven, Paige came up yesterday and today--Cruz said she missed me, and both she and Alyssa were asking for hugs. I was a bit wary of that once again... apparently the last sub they had was really 'mean.' He told Feven that he was going to send her to the office because she was constantly getting up and walking around, though many of the times she does that to give (or to get) help. I can understand the reaction. Still, when someone says some other teacher is 'mean,' I have to wonder if I'm handling classroom discipline in the right way.

Crazy girl Ellycia was absent yesterday, but she was at school today. She was actually waiting with Maria at the start of recess next to her classroom; I'm not sure if she was expecting me or not, but I was taking Ms. R's class out and they waited until I passed by. She was a bit shy first, but later during recess she was back to being a bit crazy. Maria said she wasn't friends with her any more--there is a lot of drama in that class, between the girls; they are constantly breaking up and making up. (A bit of an exaggeration, but it happened with Ellycia and Alyssa and Ellycia and Cruz while I was in their class.) Ellycia came back with Alyssa and the tetherball, while Feven, Paige, Maria, and Cruz were hanging out with me at the edge of the blacktop. One of the other teachers had told the students that they couldn't go on the grass because it had just been watered. Since my yard duty was on the field, I just stayed at the border to make sure no one went on the grass. That was easy. Ellycia was actually waving bye from her bus today; I suppose her craziness could be a mask for something else, which would also explain her initial shyness.

Kathelina seemed a bit quiet when I saw her the past two days, but she's usually like that... maybe "emo" is the right word for her? She will smile from time to time, but it takes some effort to elicit one from her. She was still quiet when I saw her with Maria at Coral. Some of the other students were asking for pencils, but the kids in Ms. I's class were telling them they couldn't have one since they weren't in 'my' class. I just told them to wait until I subbed in their class. Orininal sin, again--"gimme gimme." In fact I had to tell some of the second graders in Ms. R's class today, "Don't ask for a pencil," when they saw me handing them out to students. (Everyone did get one eventually.) But as I was leaving school I saw her in the library and after she saw me, she was waving bye rather energetically. (She doesn't like Coral and would rather go home; while it is an enrichment program, I think for many of the children it's substitute daycare as well.) She's a good kid, though I don't know if she's just tired or emo or if something else is going on. I don't think her temperament is naturally like that.

I like Ms. R's class a lot--they're probably the easiest class to manage this school year, tied with Ms. TN's class over at F School. (Which might be surprising since that's the school where children call teachers by their first name. But it either shows that discipline/obedience for children is not rational or based on principle--or they understand that there is reason to obey their teachers, because if they don't, there will be consequences, even if they call their teachers by their first name. They just haven't made the connection between this sort of informality with a lack of due respect.)

Bono - Save The Children

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