It was the end of the first week of school at CCHS. I was really looking forward to catching up on some sleep as I was waiting to pick up Mr. D from the elementary school. As Mr. D climbed in the car, I made eye contact with another teacher. To be honest, I was fighting the urge to just speed off since I just wanted to get home that badly but it was already too late! I cracked my window and this nice lady named Miss Ruby started asking about us. I mentioned I was from Indianapolis and that this was my first year ever as a teacher. She had this peace about her as she told us about her experiences in the school. Miss Ruby has been teaching for 44 years!! I would have guessed she was probably in her late 50’s but I had no idea she was 75.
Only in Arkansas would a woman you’ve never met come to your window, lean into your car, and playfully throw a punch at your shoulder. “If I ever catch up with school, I would like to have you over for supper some day,” said Miss Ruby with a grin. After I told her that I would not have placed her anywhere near 75 years old, she just told me that the kids keep her young.
For the few readers that I have out there, I apologize for such an overdue update. Apparently, it’s par for the course to always feel like you’re behind no matter how many hours you’ve put in. Shortly after the end of Institute, I said my goodbye’s to an incredible crop of corps members – the best class in my opinion but I’m probably biased =) – and settled into my new Arkansas home. I only got to sleep one night before heading off to Grand Rapids for the New Tech Annual Conference.
6 AM was a bit too early for me and I was hoping to meet my soon-to-be colleagues under different circumstances than a 20+ hour bus ride … but I can’t always get what I want! I am very satisfied with being placed here. Such interesting characters but great people nonetheless. Unfortunately, the conference left me feeling mortified. Whatever foundation I had built at Institute was now shaken in order to build up a project-based learning mindset … and it confused the crap out of me. Apparently, the facilitators thought what better way to teach project-based learning than doing it on us. This meant letting us figure it out for ourselves.
After Michigan, things did get better when we started meeting in our school’s professional development. However, I was far from prepared when I met my 7th graders for the first time … all 57 of them. I have been assigned to teach two blocks each of 7th/8th grade Math as well as one class that is an Integrated Science / Computer Business Applications course with another teacher. I remembered thinking something but I couldn’t hear it over the voices asking to go to the bathroom. As a former 7th grader myself, I didn’t remember classes having a steady volume of sound with the regular outbursts. I still don’t understand how someone can think it’s appropriate to yell out as soon as he/she could relate to something! This makes the Science class quite entertaining. I am so glad that I was partnered with Ms. R!
You would think that I would be screaming for the hills but I oddly found myself wanting to be with my kids. I’m not growing tired of the periodic stops from students blurting, “HI MR. L” while passing by my door. A couple students even wanted to show me their new trust cards. I’ve also grown attached to a new boy named M who always finds me in the morning just trying to find a place to be. One 8th grader is convinced he could dunk on me so he puts that on every piece of work that he completes! I even found myself doing the wobble as Miss W was leading the group on … not sure if that’ll happen for me again heehee.
Coming into Friday, I received so many reminders of how this job is hard and time-consuming but you have to push through. There were a couple lessons that fell through with students feeling a bit uneasy. Still, I try to get past it because after all it’s FTK (for the kids). However, I guess it was serendipitous that my week at school ended with a 75-year old woman telling me that she’s been kept young =).
The first day I had my kids in advisory think of class mottos and chants. I noticed that student after student started asking questions about me. I decided to put the activity on pause and just let the students ask questions. One of them was, “What kind of car do you drive Mr. L?” Being a little suspicious, I asked why they were curious to know that. “So we know which car to prank for Senior prank day!” Glad to know that they’re thinking that far ahead … I’m going to take off to get next week’s lessons in order =).