Another Day Alone

I had the students all day, as the teacher was out. Luckily, I had the first period as a spare and was able to prepare (somewhat). I found some fun exercises in binders in the teachers’ cupboard; learning and identifying the difference between mammals and reptiles, and using the dictionary to compile lists (according to grade level) of the names of animals under the proper identifier, word searches, etc. For math and English, we did 15 minutes of  rote learning on worksheets, followed by a fun activity for 15 minutes, and then 15 minutes of free time for everyone who worked. They worked so quietly, I could have heard a pin drop, if I dropped one.

Not mishaps whatsoever. The boy who laid himself prostrate on the floor last time was very cooperative and even helped put the chairs up at the end of the day; an absolute sweetie. Well … there was just one incident of a student escaping into the halls with a pair of scissors, who refused to hand them over. But the behavioural consultant handled that.




Teacher! Teacher!

I was left in charge of the class for the afternoon. The teacher had to go to the clinic for a minor injury which required treatment.

“You going to be OK with the kids for this afternoon?” she asked me.

“Oh yeah,” I said, flicking my wrist nonchalantly.

My outer calm did not reflect my inner anxiousness.

The afternoon actually went well. Two of the kids were stationed at desks in the hallway because of their constant interruptions and refusal to work. The rest of the class worked steadily, with the bribe that if they worked quietly, they could have the last 15 minutes of the day as free time to play cards, look at books, etc.

One of the older boys, about my size, put in his ear buds, pulled out a can of pop and pulled his hood over his face – all not permitted in the classroom. His refused to give up his pop or take out his ear buds, even though the music was loud enough to disturb the rest of the class. One second away from calling the office (as he refused to step out into the hall) he threw himself full length on the floor.

“You can stay on the floor,” I told him, “As long as you do your work.” I pressed a pencil into his hand and he worked, making progress on his sheets. The other students looked on.

“You can lie on the floor too, if you want,” I told them.

They all clambered about to find a spot on the floor, one crawling under my desk. I walked around, checking their progress by putting a mark on their most recent answer. They were actually working. And the work was correct.

I hope the principal hadn’t peeked into the class to see students on their stomachs on the floor, kicking their legs happily as they worked.

Maybe I will be reprimanded tomorrow for unorthodox teaching methodologies.

First White, now Brown

The Town is Brown

The Town is Brown

We left for Goose Break when everything was pristine and white.

Upon our return, we felt we had landed on an alien planet (anyone read “Dune”?)

Our world is now brown. How many shades of brown are there? Burnt-umber, tawny, ochre, ecru, sable, tan, russet, auburn, taupe …

Sand is everywhere … brown sand, brown silt, and brown dust. Like living at a beach house, or better yet, I recall a Japanese film of a woman who lived at the bottom of a dune, who endlessly slaved to keep the sand out. Sand fills our lungs, coats our hair. Forget about having clean shoes. They are all brown now. ATV and trucks leave billowing clouds of dust as I walk about town, leaving me choking and gasping. Should I wear a mask?

The streets are loose gravel on sand. Even the houses blend in, sage-green, brown brick, brown roofs, brown wood siding… The highlands are swept barren, and brown with winterkill mosses and crunchy, rusty lichens.

I never thought I’d wish for snow again so soon …



Back to School!

IMG_00000425I didn’t realize how much I missed working and being with kids, as well as with other adults until I arrived back at school after being away for three weeks.

Big hugs from the kids and “welcome backs” from the teachers felt great.

I took this picture just before I left. I wanted to photograph a couple of “my” kids, but others from another gym class crowded in. They delighted in having their pictures taken and thumbing through my blackberry and were not shy about asking lots of questions “such as who is that man with you”, and “what is the name of your cat.”

It’s good to be back.

Clowning Around

Clowning Around

Going for a Winter Walk

Going for a Winter Walk