Posts Tagged ‘back’
I’ve been loosing the pursestrings a little, lately, as much as my reputation as a miser had pleased me. It’s a bit of an experiment. This has been a rather successful experiment, by any appropriate measure.
One of my new coworkers needed a ride back to the office from the school we were training at. He seemed trustworthy, and a decent sort of chap, so I gave him one.
My instinct was to charge him gas money, prices being what they are, but, for whatever reason, I swallowed the impulse. This ride was on the house.
It exponentially blossomed from there.
The next day, I forgot my wallet. He paid for my half of a Grande Meal from Taco Bell, out of the same stores of goodwill I had only a day earlier traded to him. Another day, we were about to buy a pizza, but because it turned out that he didn’t have cash, only card, I paid and shared. He needs a ride most days, so we carpool regularly. He slipped me a $20 bill the other day, without my asking, because of it.
There’s enough back-and-forth that, financially, we’re even, or close enough that I can fairly call it a wash. To boot, we’ve each gained quite a bit of goodwill, at no cost to either of us. We each genuinely like the other’s company, or have grown to.
If I kept better track of my money, — say, down to the very last nickel — I’d have fewer friends. To think: I always believed that because money can’t buy friends, it doesn’t affect them, either.
So very wrong.
Part Four of Four in my series on my two master teachers.
My master teacher consoled a fellow student teacher, and I overheard him:
Never live too close to where you teach, especially when you start out. You sometimes need that drive back home to decompress.
I need the drive home, too. Teaching his classes is regularly frustrating. It’s an uphill battle against some students who never show up. Against some who do, rarely. Against those who are there every day, and immediately enter their 55-minute coma. Against those who are awake, but insist on avoiding work at any cost.
Against some of the rest, who know I’m nothing like my beloved master teacher.
He writes his lessons on the fly, and without much preparation. He knows which copies to make for which week, and he doesn’t usually put together handouts. He believes: Keep It Simple, Stupid; work smarter, not harder.
Students might do a textbook inventory, looking for people, events or vocabluary in the book and placing it in the appropriate spot on a timeline. Students might read from his copies of the TCI curriculum, and do the TCI activities. Students, given their parents’ permission, might watch Schindler’s List as half of the Holocaust unit.
These plans are easy to write, and they’re effective.
I don’t know if his compliments have any perspective: He hasn’t had a student teacher before. He did tell me me that I’m ahead of where he was as a student teacher, at least in terms of knowledge of the material.
Hanging out with the kids was the easy part for me. It was the subject that gave me trouble.
My skills are inverted from him, and so I have a long way to go.
Part Two of Four in my series on my two master teachers.
One master teacher is laid back. The kids love him. He quit last year.
One of our high school’s administrators lives near his house, and was, over time, able to con him into joining this year’s staff. He signed a new contract, in this new district, at the last minute.
Why did he sign? He loves kids. By itself, loving kids couldn’t and wouldn’t sustain him through a year of teaching. It made the difference when he had teetered between signing and not signing the contract offered him.
Back during his first marriage, there was a student. This student had a bad boyfriend, a bad father, a bad uncle. Read between the lines. He offered this student his couch; she took him up on it for months. Even after she moved into a stable apartment, he helped her get back on her feet, get her GED.
My theory: That’s why he signed.
This is his first year teaching at our high school. He had been frustrated from his ten years at his previous school, as a basketball coach, and in his fewer years as an athletic director. He does not coach basketball here, and he isn’t an athletic director.
In the classroom, he is still a basketball coach.
Raw charisma fills his classroom. When he’s there, students won’t notice the bare walls or broken desks or unkempt whiteboards. They notice him.
I knew he would be that sort of teacher as soon as I met him. It was the first week of December. I introduced myself. Firm, confident handshake. Bellowing baritone. His pastiche of adolescent humor.
When I teach fifth period sophomores, I don’t teach my class. I teach his. If he ever removes himself completely from his classroom, I supposed I’ll float around the vacuum he leaves in his place.
He told me once:
Two years ago, I decided that I was done teaching.
He came back.