Home | Posts RSS | Comments RSS | Login

substitute teaching...

Thursday, January 12, 2017
.... in a kindergarten classroom, down on the south side of town, where most of the population is black and Latino. Thankfully, when I arrived,  there was a para-pro, who sorta knew some of the kids.  He had already gotten them started on some busy-work, copying sentences from a picture book. Obviously has quite a bit of experience, as he would readily nip 'horseplay' or any sort of unacceptable behavior in the bud. Applying ample discipline and supervision when needed.

It is always obvious as soon as you walk in the door who the ones are that have a history of disruptive behavior: they will be sitting at a desk pulled up in very close proximity to the teacher. Or at a table by themselves to avoid distracting other students. Or possibly in a sort of isolation situation, facing the wall to keep them from annoying classmates. There were a couple of those, but other than appearing to be 'spring loaded', not badly behaved.

It was a struggle to keep them busy (antidote to misbehavior) early in the day, being unable to find any emergency lesson plans, or copied pages of instructional materials, something to teach with. I am fairly certain the regular classroom teachers are very much dependent on media, turning on the electronics/laptop and feeding prepared stuff onto the whiteboard installed on the wall. Taking up so much whiteboard space, you really can't teach the old-fashioned way, writing with dry-erase markers.
Mr. Para-pro slipped next door, and brought in a teacher who provided enough materials to get us through the day, some copied pages, some materials from workbooks to review numbers, counting.

Near the end of the day, several students were pulled from the classroom, and taken away. I later found they were in an ESOL program. I am sure they were greatly relieved to hear someone speaking their language if only for a short time. I have little experience with attempting to communicate in a different tongue, but imagine how frustrating it must be to see fellow students having such ease, being so successful, while you struggle to understand what you have been instructed to do.

We made it through. Mr. P. had been around enough to know the 'send them  home' drill, with some going to day-care, some on the big yellow bus, some walking with older siblings, and a few that would be car-riders. All out the door by 2:30. I walked to my car thinking: only nine more of these!

The best part of the day for students was probably lunch: cheeseburgers. The best part of the day for me was repeatedly helping a little boy do his work. He was obviously Hispanic, and other students at his table said he does not talk. He never, at any point, spontaneously started an assignment. Just sat and watched. Almost leading one to believe he could not hear.

After the other table-mates told me several times he does not do anything, I started working with him. Putting the pencil in his hand, writing his name on the top of the paper, and talking through the work.  He was holding the pencil, with my hand doing the writing. We did several pages from a workbook of reviewing numbers, counting groups of items printed on the paper, then writing the answers.  I would point to the objects one by one: birds, balloons, pinwheels printed on the page, counting to 7 or 8 or 10. Then write the number/answer. By the end of the page with the ten groups of birds, not only did he write the number by himself he said the word!  It may have all been for naught, but I was so pleased with him, and my efforts. Feeling like he had made some small progress, I felt as if I had won a blue ribbon for the day. I know Johnathan deserved one for having the courage to inch out of his shell.

0 comments to substitute teaching...:

Post a Comment