Sunday, August 27, 2006

Catholic School Adventures

You know you've been teaching in a Catholic school too long--well, maybe about two days--when a coworker marches into your room with her arms full of religion books and says briskly, "You need Jesus. I need morality." And you don't BLINK. You just say, "Wait, I thought I did morality. Isn't Jesus in the eighth grade?"

(We've sorted it out, now. She gets _Morality: Learning Through Our Faith_. I get _Jesus: The Word Made Flesh_.) We're doing fine.

I may not be doing so good. Three solid days with seventh graders is enough to make anyone a little nuts. We're off to an OK, but not great, start. I was too soft at first, and they went nuts. I was also, I think, too slow, which they saw as condescension. This is not really my fault, I've just spent two years teaching kids who CAN'T SPEAK ENGLISH. My teaching style has become...uh...emphatic.

"Oooookaaaaay, students. Is everyone on the right page? It's page fourteen. FOUR-teeeen. (Writes '14' on the board.) On THIS page we will learn about a kind of story. A tall tale is a special kind of story." Not that bad, but bad enough that some of the kids wrote me end-of-week feedback asking that I not treat them like 'a lower grade'. Gotta snap it up.

Tomorrow I meet the fifth graders, the sixth graders, and the eighth graders.

My coworkers are awesome. The kids are funny, bright, and adorable. The class is mostly Latino and black, with a scattering of Asian kids, and quite of lot of mixed Latino and black families. (The kids are extremely cute, as well. My coworkers swear that they don't require a picture like Stanford used to do with apps, they're just lucky that way.)

So far it's--well--better than anything I've ever had, teaching wise.

And I am scared to death. My last teaching job was hell, and I'm afraid it really was my fault, and I'll screw up big time here too. And that would be disappointing for me, and for my parents, who really like this place, and for my coworkers, who seem to have a lot of faith in me...more than I have in myself, right now.

One day at a time, right? Tomorrow we read Sandra Cisneros.


Anonymous said...

I am a "lurker" who has not commented before, but babe, you care; what more could those kids ask for? You will learn right along with them, and they will be the beneficiaries of a fantastic education on more than just an academic level. I was a classroom teacher for a while, and left it because I could no longer 'deal' on so many levels. I give you so much credit and respect. You will rock! Just my .02 :-)

Anonymous said...

You're doing fine! Always some glitches to start. Soon the kids will adapt to your style and you will learn how to teach them too. Normal, normal stuff. Hang in there.

Eliyahu said...

you're doing just fine, and, despite your awesome powers, you did nothing to create the evironment at the previous school. lighten up a little, and recognize that g_d did not ever intend for school to start before labor day. in fact, it's hard to imagine that g_d imagined humans sitting in classes and in front of computers for so much of their lives! i've been meaning to speak to her about that!

Eliyahu said...

btw, is the pope catholic? people kept asking me this when i was younger, and i always wanted to know.