Posted by: Magistra | June 30, 2006

I’m Cool

On Tuesday I played teacher again (this time without the strange principal-watcher), only this time it was for the class I spend most of the day with. The teacher had to deal with a flat tire, but told the office that I was “completely capable of handling the class” until she got in.

I think my mistake was feeling confident. I’m thinking, I know the routine (“mad minute,” homework questions, correct and turn in homework, hope teacher has arrived by now), I know the students, I can answer questions. And it was all great until we got to the homework. Remember simplifying fractions with exponents? You know, where it starts with something like 2 x-to-the-third over y-to-the-negative-fourth, all to the fifth power, multiplied by 5 y-squared over 4 x-to-the-third? You know, when there are eight steps and if you make one mistake with the arithmetic and you’re screwed?

The good news is I showed all the steps to three problems and came up with the answer in the book. The bad news is that there were four problems.

Even this wouldn’t be so bad, except for the one punk who thinks I don’t listen to her (I spent three weeks watching her volunteer an answer, having absolutely no confidence it’s right, using a voice I’ll charitably call a whisper). Between my mistakes and her perspective on my listening, she got frustrated and started muttering and sighing and generally showing her displeasure. And since these sort of multi-step problems generate a little confusion in the best of circumstances, that was enough to make the whole class just want to give up on it all. Not a shining moment. Oh, it could have been worse. We did get through the homework, and they went along with the game I asked them to play, even though they wanted to play the other one. Still, it’s not fun to hear someone telling the punk that you can’t fire volunteers.

Wednesday gave me the ego-boost lacking from Tuesday. The other math teacher was trying to track down a parent, and asked me to start up her second class, the chatty seventh/eighth graders. So I walked over and told everyone it was time to head inside.

Student 1: Are you our sub?
Me: No, I’m just going to get you started. Mrs. X will be here in a few minutes.
Student 2: speaking at same time as me, I couldn’t decipher the words
Student 3 (to Student 2): That’s okay. She’s cool.
Me: Thank you.
Student 1: Yeah, you’re cool. My brother says you’re the best substitute.

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