Tag Archives: kids

Transcendental Thursday – 8/29/2013

A Prayer for Special Education Teachers

A Teacher’s Prayer

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Tuesday musings – 3/19/13

Overheard conversations today:

1. Teacher: “I think I’m allergic to cafeterias. Every time I go in there, my eyes start watering.”

2. One male special education assistant (A) to another, also male (B): “I’m sitting between [Male Student] and what he wants.”

B:  “What does he want?”

A: “Females and the kitchen.”

B: “Who doesn’t want those?”


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“May you live in interesting times.” – Chinese curse

Today was eventful, to say the least.

My morning assignment was at a preschool, and one of the youngsters was complaining of an itchy head. The school nurse was off, so in came the principal wearing vinyl gloves. She checked the little girl’s hair, and sure enough – head lice. The principal rounded up some health team personnel who checked all the other kids, and the teachers as well (This was the girl’s second episode with lice in as many months, and last time, the teacher and one of the assistants ended up with lice, too.) .

Then, this afternoon, I substituted for a very pregnant special education teacher. I knew she was far along, but she went into labor three hours after she left for the day. Luckily, the substitute for her maternity leave is already lined up.

Never a dull moment.


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Tuesday musings – 2/19/13

“We spend the first twelve months of our children’s lives teaching them to walk and talk and the next twelve telling them to sit down and shut up.” — Phyllis Diller

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The gifts of teaching

How cool is it that I have art on my refrigerator from kids to whom I’m not related? Here’s the latest acquisition, courtesy of a fifth-grader whose language arts class I guest-taught this week.

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Laughter is the best medicine

I wasn’t feeling well on Friday. Nothing major, just PMS, sleep deprivation, and frazzled nerves from trying to teach math to two classes full of noisy, needy sixth graders. I did *not* look forward to cafeteria duty sixth period.

Then one of the teachers announced that it was “Open Mic Friday.” I thought, “Well, this is going to be interesting.” I heard many more renditions of One Direction (aka The British Backstreet Boys; try saying that five times fast) songs than I wanted. I was also scratching my head about not one, but two preteen girls singing “Rolling In The Deep.” (You’re 12. What do you know about “a fire starting in your heart reaching a fever pitch?” If you know, you shouldn’t.)

Apart from that, the experience was great fun, not to be confused with fun., whose “Some Nights” and “We Are Young” were also popular. Some kids opted for silly songs and gave me a much-needed laugh; others were surprisingly good, despite being in the throes of puberty and all the associated vocal changes. I went to seventh period in a much better frame of mind.

I also got some great laughs during my shift today with Ruby Tuesday. While we did some organizing and cleaning for her upcoming move, we watched “Betty White’s Off Their Rockers.” This show features the beloved star of “Hot In Cleveland” and a motley crew of senior citizens playing practical jokes on their surprised juniors. Some pranks are elaborate; the scene where a suit-clad older gentleman joins a young couple at an outdoor cafe and engages in a conversation straight out of a spy movie comes to mind. Most are reminiscent of  “Police Academy” or “National Lampoon’s Animal House.” In one scene, a woman sits down in a train station with an urn containing what seems to be her late husband’s ashes, opens the urn, and then sneezes, spilling ashes on the young woman next to her; in another, a man posing as a police officer threatens a jogger with a “farting violation.”

Though I’m not usually a fan of reality TV, I thoroughly enjoyed this show. I forgot I had cramps, Ruby was in a good mood, and we had a productive afternoon.

While I deal with serious issues in my work, I’m blessed to have many opportunities to laugh. As crabby as Mrs. A gets sometimes, she still surprises me with wry comments or ribald jokes even when she’s feeling her worst. Little One used to crack me up on a regular basis; on one day, she was leaving a long, rambling voicemail for her father about what color violin she wanted, and I was laughing so hard that Big Sister looked at me like I was losing my marbles and asked me if I were OK.

I forget to yell at a student who’s misbehaving because his or her antics are making me laugh. Laughter breaks the ice with an overwhelmed teenager who’s skeptical about tutoring and not happy about fitting it in his or her schedule. Sharing a joke or a funny story with an older person makes both of us feel positive.

“Laughter is a universal connection.” — Yakov Smirnoff


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Quinbus Flestrin

How I felt today while teaching kindergarten. “Quinbus Flestrin” means “the great man-mountain” in the language of Lilliput.

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Tuesday musings – 12/4/2012

“Of all the animals, the boy is the most unmanageable.” — Plato

“Schoolboys are a merciless race; individually they are angels, but together, especially in schools, they are often merciless.” — Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

“Boys are beyond the range of anybody’s sure understanding, at least when they are between the ages of 18 months and 90 years.” — James Thurber

“Every genuine boy is a rebel and an anarch.” — John Andrew Holmes

And that sums up my experience teaching 25 fourth-grade boys today.




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Made my day.

This afternoon, I was at an elementary school substituting for a music teacher. I arrived shortly before recess, and as I was walking to the music room, a youngster in the hall turned around, looked up at me, and said, “You’re pretty.” That was really sweet, especially since today I wore makeup (which I rarely do) and took particular care in choosing my clothes. That little guy made my day.

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Natural selection

This morning, I worked as an inclusion teacher in an eighth-grade science class where the classroom teacher was talking about evolution and natural selection. Understanding Evolution (evolution.berkeley.edu) defines natural selection as Differential survival or reproduction of different genotypes in a population leading to changes in the gene frequencies of a population. The conditions required for the operation of evolution by natural selection include variation, a system of heredity, differential reproduction, and time.”

I wonder how adaptable I am. I’ve been told I think well on my feet and am able to rise the occasion. I’ve also been accused (in some cases, rightfully) of being inflexible, stubborn, and intolerant. I’m savvy with computers but prefer books. I prefer to talk rather than text. I get impatient with social media sometimes and mostly use it as just another vehicle to facilitate other forms of communication. I’m all for using technology in education but don’t think it can replace reading, writing, and math skills, or more importantly, critical thinking and interpersonal skills. I’m glad to see library time given equal priority with computer time in many of the schools where I substitute teach. I made sure Big Sister and Little One spent time outside (even if it was early in the morning on the beastly hot days we had this summer), played board games, and read books made from real paper. I limited their TV time as well.

You could say I’m a bit old-school. I don’t see this as a bad thing. In any activity, there needs to be a balance of effective innovations and traditions that are still relevant. 

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