Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Aside from teaching...

Last night, I had some very funny conversations with two of my students.

(I teach a few hours a week at a learning center, so by 'students,' I am referring not to Tucker or Tyler, but real, live children who come to me for help with run-on sentences, spelling words, thesis sentences, long division, phonemes, story problems, and the like.)

Aside from the learning goals, I have the pleasure of their conversation. And sometimes, it's downright bloggable.


R is nine years old. He was not in the mood to study last night. He had many reasons to be unproductive, and he listed them for me. I presented his options; he could try really hard to get nothing done, or he could put to test what other students believe to be the infallible formula for making time fly: do your best, and don't look at the clock. When you try hard and stay focused, somehow, the time flies -- or so they tell me. I promised him that it was his choice, and it was of absolutely no consequence to me. I would sit across from him either way, but I was certain his paying parents would approve of Plan B.

Reluctantly, he settled in. Just before he practiced adding three-digit numbers with regrouping, he said, "Okay, but I have a cold. And I'm coughing a lot. So I will probably need to get up and cough into something, like a trash can or the toilet. You know how it can be with men."

How it can be with men, he told me. He's nine.

I assured him that I do, indeed, know how it can be with men. And I showed him the closest trash can, should he need it. And once we had covered those ground rules, he got to work.

Good thing I have a couple of men of my own, who are only shortly behind these antics.


C is a doll. He's in second grade - the transparent stage of loving what he loves, without apology. He is ready for a good time, and he will do any task at all as long as I present it as a game. Eager as I am to have a good time, and also a lover of a good game, I present many concepts inside this framework. We have fun. And, he's learning place value in the process, so it works well for both of us.

Meanwhile, our learning center is hosting an appreciation night for the students' favorite teachers from school. Each student fills out a nomination form, listing a favorite classroom teacher with reasons why. We'll invite all of those nominees, and we'll honor them for their hard work in this journey. (Teachers can never get too many applause. That's what I say.)

C said, "I really wish I could nominate someone from the center, because I would choose you."

(This is very sweet of him, but I assure you, it's not why I am writing this blog post: to toot my own horn . Read on.)

"I would choose you because we have magical, mystical fairytale fun together."

Ahem. "We do??"

"Well, I just made that up. But it sounds great, doesn't it?"

It sounds, something. Something that it should not sound like.

Let the record show: it is not my desire for any student to report any magical, mystical, fairytale fun with Miss Tricia. Not ever. There are many words to describe my teaching strategies, but let's steer clear of these.

I promise... by magical, mystical, fairytale abilities, he means multiplication. I promise.

I'm a wonder with those math facts.

(Oh, my word.)

1 comment:

The Kennedy Krew said...

That's hilarious!...a good way to go to jail...but hilarious, nonetheless!!