Saturday, September 27, 2008

I love my job...

One great thing about my teaching job at AIS is that I am never bored. I am constantly surprised about what kids come up with or what situations I find myself in.
A couple weeks ago, my principal came into my class and asked if I would sub during one of my prep periods. I agreed before asking what class it was for. She told me it was 8th grade band, and that the band teacher had said to just give the kids the period as a prep. Since it was the beginning of the 2nd week of school, the kids didn’t really have a whole lot to do, so they all stared at me when I asked them to find something quietly to work on. Then I told them they could even talk to each other and they still stared at me. One kid asked I they could play with their instruments. I thought about it, and for lack of better options said “yes, you can get your instruments out and …practice” the kids start pulling out instruments, asking if they can play the drums, asking if they could grab reeds out of the teacher’s office, and making a whole lot of bad noise. It didn’t take long before Nick, the high school band teacher came running in and asked me what was going on. I must have look shell shocked. I told him “I don’t know!” and wanted to run immediately out of the room or curl up in fetal position in the corner. He started yelling at kids, things like “what? You don’t even play that instrument! What are you doing? And you! Where did you get that?!” and I just stood there… Then Nick came up with the brilliant idea that he teach the 8th grade band and I go and teach his 9th grade guitar class since I “play guitar”. I walked in to a class full of some of my old students from last year, and they were surprised that their 8th grade science teacher from last year was now their guitar teacher for the day. So I awkwardly walked around asking kids to play me the line from their book. After about 5 minutes, Nick comes running back in, tells me he has the 8th graders set up so that I can lead them through their band books and he would take his class over again. I walked in, now playing the roll of band conductor for the rest of class, I painfully conducted them through their lesson book including old favorites such as “hot cross buns”. I have never been so thankful for a class to be over.
A couple days earlier, I had another great teacher right of passage experience. About 2 minutes into homeroom, a student looked up and asked to go to the bathroom. I looked at him confused and said, “NOW?” since he should have gone before class. He looked back with his eyes wide open and nodded his head with a look that said, “yes… NOW!” so I told him “yes! Go!”. He walked 2 steps then threw up his 4am pre-sunrise Ramadan morning meal all over the floor before running out of the room. All the other kids start covering their noses, coughing like they too were going to start a domino of puking all across the room, and saying things like “Gross!” “Sick” that I also wanted to say but had to pretend that I wasn’t trying to hold in my own breakfast while picking up kids backpacks and cleaning the vomit off. I ran outside and tried to flag down a worker who might be able to help clean up the mess, trying to explain with limited Arabic and hand gestures what had taken place moments before. I thought I’d done a good job, but when they came into the room, they looked surprised! (I don’t know what they thought my projectile vomiting hand gestures were… I thought it was pretty clear). So the kid comes back like nothing happened, ready to sit through class. I told him he needed to go to the nurse because throwing up on the classroom floor wasn’t normal and he should probably get it checked out. He didn’t return that day.

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