Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Fifth Grade, once upon a time.

Almost inevitably there was in every class I taught over the years one child who has it all.   She* is cute, personable, likes everyone and treats them with respect, gets the top scores in every subject.  It would in the broader scheme of things seem to be a bit more fair if she had a flaw, say rich, cute and smart, but arrogant and insufferably intolerant of others.

But no.  Lou Ann is perfect in every way.

Billy, same class, repeating the grade, hold-back from the previous year.  Physically awkward, dressed in the same sweats a week at a time, loud, obnoxious, and bidding fair to barely pass this year.

You see, this is the "great experiment" which is public education.  These two  children, along with 37 others, are thrown together in some series of random accidents which place them all in the same classroom, and thus their lives impinge upon each other for nine long months.  Longer in small communities, for they are apt to be thrown together again and again.

Then there is "outcome based evaluation."  And this not of the students only, but of the teacher as well.

This is not a treatise on educational practice.  It is simply a set of recollections of times I spent pursuing my vocation.

And you know what?  I had the best job in the world!

*Some years it was a Mr. Perfect.


Shelly said...

I have known many like Billy and Lou Ann...and one memorable pair just like that from my high school actually married, much to some peoples' chagrin. They remain happy married today and just celebrated 25 years of wedded bliss.

Ah yes, and OBE...

Jackie said...

My home life was confusing to say the least and school was always a haven for me.

I was a Lou Ann until the 7th grade and class 7F. I was a Billy in that class. We all were.

I agree with you on this topic as I know how the dynamic played out for me in the 7th grade.

We all became Billys!!:-)

vanilla said...

Shelly, I love that Lou Ann married Billy; proved everyone wrong!

Jackie, I am still trying to get my head around an entire class of Billys (as a teacher, that is.)

Vee said...

Teachers do enjoy their students, even the ones who act out. Maybe teaching is a calling.

I appreciated the diversity of my middle school students and liked all of them. Some of the parents… Well, I won't go there. But you should write a blog about that sometime.

vanilla said...

Vee, now that is a challenge I'm not sure I am up to.

Secondary Roads said...

I remember those days [shudder]. I would have never made it as an elementary or high school teacher. However, I really enjoyed teaching night electronics classes in a community college.

vanilla said...

Chuck, teaching adults is a specialty, too. But the rewards, I think, are similar.

Sharkbytes said...

We certainly had a chance to get used to the variety of people we would meet in life. However, I don't think we were given a very good set of tools to deal with them properly.

vanilla said...

Shark, seems tools for coping with human relations are acquired by guess and by gosh.