Polski3's View from Here

Quote of some personal revelence: "Is a dream a lie, that don't come true, or is it something worse?"

Monday, April 04, 2005

And Today's Teacher Tips: BE PREPARED and IMPROVISE

Today is our first day back to school from Spring Break and we are also dealing with the switch to daylight savings time. Today was a day that Mother Nature decided not been kind to me. She began her two-pronged assault on me about two am. Apparently a "low front" passed through this spring flower bespeckled desert last night. Howling, screaming banshees swept over my house, sending my wife's patio wind chimes into hysterics, rattling my 'someday to be replaced loose fitting' bedroom window and waking me up. As I lay listening to the wind gusts zooming by, I began to wonder if my barbecue still had its cover? As I checked on it out my back patio window, sure enough, it was not on the barbecue anymore, but fortunately, at that moment, lying on the patio where it had somehow landed after doing its wind dance instead of sailing off into some nearby backyard. I went out and brought it in the house. As I exited my living room in the dark, I cracked my shin on a small footrest that somebody had convent's left in the middle of one of the pathways through the living room. Back to bed and after awhile, finally back to sleep.

THEN, just minutes after I crawled out of bed to get ready to go to school, my eight year old runs in, all excited, DADDY ! DADDY ! A BIG BRANCH BLEW OFF THE TREE BY THE STREET AND IS BLOCKING THE STREET ! Upon further investigation, yep, several good sized branches have busted off an elm tree in front of our house. I dragged the big branch that is on the street to the side of the street and right away know what I will be doing when I get home from teaching for the day.

The next instrument of Mama Natura was one of the kids. Just after lunch, as we were beginning to reading a play aloud together, a squeal of horror erupts from the front center of my classroom and a student bolts for the door trailing Papa John's pizza that he'd eaten for lunch and was now being brutally rejected by his digestive system. He got my classroom carpet, three desks occupied by his fellow students, and one unfortunate girls backpack and sweater. Not counting some sub teaching in college, I have been teaching for 21 years. THIS HAD NEVER HAPPENED IN MY CLASSROOM (I know, I may be lucky in that regard, but.....). Fortunately, no one else was induced to toss their lunch in a sympathy hurl. Thus began the parade from my classroom to the bathroom to try to wash vomit off of backpack and sweater, or just to be out of the room for a couple of minutes. I called the office to request custodian assistance (also a lesson for the kids on a job that they might not want in the future) and after about 10 rings, someone in the office finally answered. A few minutes later, one of our custodians arrived with his container of white anti-puke powder, a dust pan and handbroom and cleaned up some of the mess. He had to get a squirt bottle of cleaner for some of the desks that had been hit.

Kids in the hurl zone were relocated to other areas of the classroom and I loaned the poor girl with the puked on backpack the use of a spare backpack I just happen to keep in my classroom for emergencies. (Here is a valuable teaching preparation tip for you newer teachers out there.....your Education profs probably never told you about things as described above.....) OF course, the rest of the class was bonkers by now. To try to realign their minds back on the topic of the day, I told them to quietly read the remainder of the play to themselves and add to the notes they'd also started before Papa John's pizza re-emerged from the bubbly acidic world of digestion.

OF course, my next (and thank GOD, last) class of the day showed up having heard all about the events of prior class period. After about ten minutes of class, several had complained about the smell of the 'anti-odor' powder. I decided not to argue or debate with them about it, and asked them if they'd rather 'read the play in small groups, discuss the new data presented in the play and take notes' outside in the nearby, vacant ramada area. They of course, agreed. So, lesson number two for you newer teachers out there, be ready to IMPROVISE. At least for my last class of the day, we did the lesson, but in a different format than other classes had done the same basic lesson. One note: My period 6 class can handle such an improvised lesson. Other classes are not as disciplined as my sixth period class. This is one aspect that made this change work.

The regular custodian who takes care of my classroom was not there today. My room had not been cleaned as of the time I departed school to go deal with the downed tree parts littering my front lawn. I will keep a lot of it as kindling and wood for my wife's fireplace.

So, how was your first day back from Spring Break ?????

Thanks for reading my blog. I welcome your comments !