Friday, February 5, 2010

New Perspective on School

Twenty years after the story posted yesterday, we find The Boy is now at the front of the classroom, white shirt, suit and tie, while the elementary students sit in rows facing him, they in the position he was in for so many years. "Why," someone asks, "did you become a teacher if you disliked school so much?" "Because," he replied,"it is my hope to make school better for some kids than I found it to be for myself."

How did that work out?

This is his first class, sixth graders in what was laughingly known as a "self-contained" classroom, a euphmism for "the teacher will be with these kids from eight a.m until 3:45 p.m. with no breaks for either the teacher or the kids."

Recess time: Teach takes the kids to the playground and supervises the activity.

Lunch time: Teach escorts the kids to the cafeteria and eats with them while they ingest their lunches.

Subject matter: the whole ball of wax. If there is to be any "fine arts," Teach handles that, too. (Honesty compels me to state that on Friday afternoon 1:30, a music teacher, shared by all the elementary schools in the county, took the class for thirty minutes.)

The upside: Abundant opportunity for the teacher to get to know the kids and their needs, their weakness and their strengths.

The downside: See "The upside."

Supervision: Teach's first principal said, "Teach to the middle. The bright ones don't need you, the slow ones will tag along as best they can." The principal saw Teach again in April when he decided to observe what was going on, make a recommendation for next year's employment.

Looking back on this experience, The Boy wonders how he decided to make a career of teaching and why he stayed with it for more than three decades. (Because it was the best job in the world.)


Vee said...

I agree that teaching is the best profession on earth.

vanilla said...

Vee, have you observed that the older we get, the more we agree? Scary, isn't it?