Thursday, May 03, 2007

I is smarter than I new I was

Teaching in the public school system is something I never ever thought I would do. Come to think of it, teaching in the public school system is something I never ever WANTED to do. School gives me a rash. I break out in bad grades. But, being the mercenary that I am, I am giving it a spin. Poor me. Poor kids. I am not sure whom I feel the most sorry for.

When I was a mere lad myself I was quite the student. Well, actually my grades stunk. I was one of those kids who consistently did not "live up to his potential." I would like to tell you that, like Albert Einstein, I was just bored with my classes because I was too smart to be bothered with the trivial lessons the were throwing at me. But nope. I was just lazy and relatively stupid. Some things never change, huh? On the plus side I never got a "pink slip" (Lincoln-Way High Schools way of saying you are late for class,) a "green sheet" (Lincoln-Way's dreaded detention,) or anything even close to suspension. Room 109 was the detention room and I never even saw the inside of it. Rumor has it there were chains on the walls and big bald guards with whips in each corner. My brother told me so.

You know what I am learning when I teach these days? EVERYTHING. Seriously. I am. On Monday I taught art. ART! Do you realize what that does to my comfort zone? It violates it in every possible fashion! I can barely draw a breath much less a picture. But my assignment was to teach the kids about "pointillism." You don't know what that is, do you? Well, neither did I. So I picked up the teachers book and found out that it is a style of painting in which small distinct points of primary colors create the impression of a wide selection of secondary colors. Wanna see a picture? Ok!

That is a little number from Seurat's "La Parade" done in 1889. See? Stick with me and you will learn things.

Last week I was teaching 5th grade math. Man, I am almost too embarrassed to tell you this. I gave the kids a work sheet and they started raising their hands to ask for help with problems. Uh-oh. But I sat down with them and you know what? I FIGURED IT OUT! I did it! I actually understand 5th grade math!!!! This is so ginormous that it makes my head hurt. The same thing happened later in the day when I taught English. Did you know that an "adverb" is a word or a phrase that modifies or qualifies an adjective, verb, or other adverb? I should probably have known that. And I probably did once upon a time. I use adverbs every day without even realizing it. Come to think of it, now that I know I'm using them it probably won't change a thing. Still, it's kind of cool.

I've taught language arts, computer science, physical education, math, English, reading, and science. And I've learned something in every class. Amazingly enough, my favorite class is still recess. I hope that you will treat me with a new found respect and reverence the next time you see me. No need to bow. We can keep this on the down-low. Just between you and me. I don't need the blowing trumpets or the billowing banners. But if I should correct something you say ... don't argue with me. I know these things. And I would hate to make you stay after class.