The personal scriptorium of Joshua Corlew.
This is a continuation of my reflections which started in this post here.
1st and 2nd Grade
I may yet come to realize that 2nd graders are a pain in the butt. But I don’t think that will happen soon. At least not until the day when I don’t teach a 1st grade class prior to it. Because here’s the deal: this week I’ve taught a bunch of age levels and have yet to come across any of those problems people always refer to. “I wouldn’t have the patience.” “I wouldn’t be able to stand those kids!” “I don’t have the energy.” I had heard all these similar statements prior to teaching, and had found them wanting in validity. The kids were fine. Granted, most of the younger ones had their parents with them, but still, other than some easily distracted 4th grade boys, the worse thing I had to deal with was a Kindergartner being too shy to answer a question. I began to think the concept that teaching kids was an intimidating feat was naught but a fabrication.
To quote the line so often used in those millions of Prometheus ads: “I was so wrong.”
These kids are insane. Again, it’s mostly the boys, but I’m going to lump the girls in with them at this point. They are in-sane.
I am not a strong supporter of the idea that every other kid suffers from ADD or ADHD. I think they suffer from a lack of smacks on the butts. Again, I’m no parent, but this is my take, and it was solidified this first week of teaching.
The main menace, who I’ll call Jack, is the 7-year old, little American white boy equivalent of Godzilla. And his Mom is Tokyo. She was stressed out, on edge, always talking and trying to control him, but to no avail. He had black marker streaks coursing down his arms, was always talking, and when I escorted this group of characters to the restroom, he proceeded to run around grabbing everyone, yelling and making crazy noises. I told him, rather sternly, he needed to be quiet, and put his back against the wall. He did not.
Back in the classroom he threw a tantrum when I tried to get him to read aloud to me, to which his mom continued to reassure me that sometimes it was just hard for him to focus. That’s not true. He could focus really well on dropping his book. Literally every fifteen seconds his book fell to the floor. He would laugh apologetically, get up from his chair and pick it up.
After the tenth time, I stopped my playful “hey, pick that up and try not to let it fall, ok?” routine. This time I went over, lowered myself to his level, looked him in the eye and told him “I don’t want to see this book on the ground ever again, ok? Keep it on your desk or I will take it away from you.” He stiffened up, nodded and proceeded to miraculously learn how to keep his book on his desk.
The rest of the kids were not quite as menacing, but nearly as crazy. One kid could not stop talking. If he wasn’t making the most random, unnecessary comments out loud, he was blurting out that he loved me and that I was his favorite teacher. Another kid, every time I would say something, would blurt out some smart-alecky response. I had to tell him on multiple occasions he was not allowed to speak unless I asked him to. His grandmother just shrugged and chuckled whenever he broke that rule. After class she came up to me.
“I think this class will be good for him,” she said. “You see, he has ADD.”
Apparently so do all other 1st grade boys.
Besides my uneasy relationship with the 1st graders, I came out of this week satisfied. I really, really liked teaching. There is little stress at all being in front of a group of kids, and not nearly as much stress as being in front of a room of parents as I had thought. I felt in control, in command, and was able to see both the kids and the parents really engage with what I was saying. I wasn’t just the teacher saying things to them but I was actually teaching. They were listening, following what I had to say and writing notes and nodding their head in agreement.
I decided I will do my best to do this as much as I can whenever I am being taught by another. It really makes all the difference.
Ultimately, by the great grace of God, I survived, and more than that, I would say I have succeeded. Before every class, during every class and after every class I was very passionately seeking the help of the Lord, and each time He supplied it. I am excited for the next week, for seeing my students again, for acting out more crazy stories, for having great discussions and for feeling satisfied with what I’ve done by the end of the day.