Wednesday, February 9, 2011

It's all bitching today

I have subbed the last two days.  Yesterday I was in a third grade room that I've never been in before.  I was only there for the afternoon and because I got there early enough to look over all the notes, I got to talk with the teacher before she left for her meeting.  She was a nice enough lady, maybe 15 years older than me.  The class was finishing up a story about a kid in Harlem.  She had great control of the class, and the kids were nice and respectful so I don't have issues with that.  (In fact to be fair, I shouldn't really judge anyone from watching them for 10 minutes, BUT...)  This is what she said that astounded me: They were talking about this story which takes place in Harlem and some kid in the class asked where Harlem is and she explained that it is in New York and it's a poor neighborhood, probably someplace you wouldn't want to go because it's dangerous.  She said it had a lot of poverty.  Some other kid asked what poverty was.  She said, " dirt and litter all over the place."  What???  That's what poverty is?  Come ON, LADY!  The story they were reading was called "Me and my friend Max" or something like that. She asked the class, "What is wrong with this title? And they said that it should be, "My friend Max and I" to be proper English. She said that it's okay though because it's a title and people there don't speak very well. WHAT???  I just stood there dumbfounded that this woman would paint such a horrible and racist picture for a (an) historic place like Harlem.  If she doesn't know what it's like shouldn't she say, "I don't know much about Harlem.  Let's look it up."  I was tempted to blurt out "WHAT ABOUT THE GLOBETROTTERS, LADY!"

Today I'm subbing in a class that I've been in a lot, and there is a student teacher and she is in charge today.  Every morning they go over 5 vocab words.  She mispronounced two of them.  Oh jeez, come on, these are FIFTH GRADE VOCAB WORDS!  The ones she mispronounced were compartmentalize and irrepressible. 

Why don't I have a job?  Am I WORSE than this?  I don't think so.  I mean I know I make mistakes, but not glaring ones like painting whole neighborhoods of cities with a racist brush and mispronouncing common assigned vocabulary words.  Maybe I need to apply for jobs to get one.  Hmmm.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Why I Love Third Graders

I have been teaching in a third grade class all week.  I love them.  They are so fun and cute.  Sure, they have their annoying moments, like the three (or five) kids I call "the questioners" (in my head) because they walk up to ask me a question about absolutely everything.  Like this: 

Questioner:  Mrs. Lindahl, what do we do with our papers when we are done?
Me:  What have you been doing with your papers when you finish them from the beginning of the year?
Questioner:  Put them in the done basket?
Me:  Yes.


Questioner:  Mrs. Lindahl, what time are we having lunch today?
Me:  What time do you have lunch every day?
Questioner:  11:45?
Me:  Yes. 

Today we brought the kids on a field trip, which is usually a sub's NIGHTMARE because what if you don't know the kids in the class?  What if you don't know the logistics of the field trip?  What if the field trip is to a swamp with kindergarteners, and you only wore some cute little maryjane shoes, not knowing that you were going to be fishing kindergarteners out of a freezing swamp most of the morning?  See what I mean?  (seriously, it really happened, but they didn't call it a swamp, they called it a "nature center."  It was a swamp.)

Our field trip today was to the symphony and it was so fantastic!  There were about 2000 kids there and the program was geared to the elementary school student.  The kids had a great time and so did I. 

Anyway, one of the reasons I love third graders so much is because they are so weird.  I told them yesterday that it is customary to wear nice clothes to the symphony.  A girl came this morning, worried, and said to me, "Mrs. Lindahl, is it okay if I keep my sweatshirt on at the symphony today because I forgot to take off my pajama shirt when I was getting dressed."  She was wearing a pajama shirt, dress pants, and a sweatshirt.  How adorable is that?!

All week a bunch of them have been singing the words "salty nuts" in a very dissonant, sing-song voice.  It seemed a little strange, and slightly inappropriate, but I didn't say anything because I liked it, and obviously it is something they learned in school.  I learned about it today.  At the symphony the trumpet player talked about Dizzy Gillespie and how he wrote a song called "Salt Peanuts" and they played it for us.  Ohhhhhh!  Salt Peanuts!  I'm sure glad I didn't say anything about the inappropriateness of singing "salty nuts" and then having to explain to nine-year-olds why I find the words salty nuts inappropriate. (Here's why.)

I got a picture from a student today (I get pictures every day), and this one just sums up the wonderful weirdness of the typical third grader.  Here it is:

It's a picture of a girl and her giant dog, Bob.  Bob is apparently 100 feet tall and judging by his eyebrow and his speech bubble, he's not a very friendly 100 foot dog.  A squirrel (squerl, OMG!) is talking with the girl and complimenting her 100 foot, growling, angry dog.  Okay, for one thing, why would anyone want a 100 foot dog.  Can you imagine the poops?  Yuck.  And another thing, why is that masochistic squirrel anywhere near a hundred foot, angry dog, and where did it learn to speak English?  It doesn't look like Bob is tied to anything, so I imagine that in the split second after the snapshot of this picture, the squerl was torn to gory shreds.