Friday, March 20, 2009

Friday's Fantasies

Good morning ya"ll. Would invite you into the house, but I am at Lowndes High School subbing again today. Why I keep saying yes is a mystery especially in a math classroom for you know I think math is voodoo or black magic. I do like the extra money and seeing friends is always a pleasure. It also is a great reminder of why I retired after 25 years. Most students are great people, but on the other side are those you wonder where they came from - hatched or aliens.

Through the years I have heard teachers use several adjectives to describe these students not with malice but with wonder or amazement. Some of the adjectives I remember: rocks and pebbles, roaches,and wondering if their parents were from another planet. These are the students that it doesn't matter what methodology you use, it doesn't get through the fog which surrounds them. You get a blank stare and the eyes are not always focused. You want to use a fog-light to penetrate the denseness to attempt to let the light of knowledge peek through. Some times it is a hopeless situation for they think walking around in a fog is normal. Hello people, you need some education.

Once I was counciling a 5th grader to study harder and make good grades. It was a country school and about that time a pulp wood truck went by and I told him that was what he would be doing if he didn't buckle down and study. A look of puzzlement wandered across his face and he asked me what was wrong with driving a pulp wood truck? "That's what my daddy does." Talk about open mouth insert foot, I inserted both feet. I backtracked quickly and began to assure him there was nothing wrong with being a pulp wood driver, but if he studied and became smart, he could own several trucks which made sense to him.

Back on track - on a social studies test, a teacher asked for the name of the continents and 1 student named cities and didn't know why it was marked incorrect. The student thought they were one and the same because they both began with the letter "C." Made sense to her. Some think states are nations, continents are countries but they do know the cell phone numbers for all their friends and enemies. Also every rock band, rock song, and in some case every NASCAR driver and country artist. This proves they have the ability but not the "want to."

My experience was in the media center/library and it was great. This did lead to some great questions for we are supposed to know everything. We would get questions such as, "Do you know that brown book I used for my research paper last week? I need a page number." Needless to say, we had several hundred "brown" books and we had usually helped several hundred students with research papers.

My questions would then commence such as: "Who were your researching? Oh, Mark Twain. Well that narrows it down to about 60. Now what wast he topic on Mark Twain? Oh, Tom Sawyer. Weeel that brings it down to about 20. Do you remember what was on the cover? No, well how big was it? Can't remember?" The next step was to begin pulling the many books about Tom Sawyer and try to locate 1 page for that 1 sentence that had been used in the paper. Of course, they had been told repeatedly to write down the source of their information. After about an hour, we would find the book and everyone would be happy.

Another request would drive me up the wall. "Do you remember that blue or brown, or red, book I had last week." Of course I do, for I can remember what every student from a student body of over 2,000 reads. A piece of cake, right? So the questions would begin and most of the time we would strike gold and all would be happy.

We were helping 1 student with research on a musician and she asked I knew a man named "Batch." Right off the top of my head I couldn't think of one, but knowing she was researching composers, I asked her if it could "Bach" as pronounced "bahck " and she looked rather puzzled and said maybe. "Is he a famous composer?" to which I replied, well maybe but why don't we see if maybe that could be the person she was researching. Of course, it was and she was a happy camper and I was about to roll on the floor of my office laughing.

Checking out books was interesting for some parents seem to think the stranger the name the better. One of my students gave me his name to enter into the computer and when asked for his name responded "George Washington" to which I almost responded, "And I'm Abe Lincoln." Thank goodness I filtered that time. Many times I had to ask for pronunciation of names so I would not make a complete jumble of it. Not sure why parents think those unpronounceable names are cute for they have to learn how to spell them and we have to learn how to pronounce them.

A friend of my brother, many years ago named his little girl "Pajama" pronounced "pay jah may" with emphasis on the Pay. Now do I have to say he was a college football player? Don't get me wrong, I know some smart college football players but......

Well, I have wasted enough of your time for today but it has been fun telling you some of my school experiences. I have a couple of million and will share again. Let me know if you have some, just comment!

Nuff said,

The Georgia Peach

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