Saturday, May 28, 2011

What I learned and what the kids didn't

Okay, so at the beginning of this month I wrote about my soon to be first teaching experience and then I promised I would write an update, which of course I didn't, so now, at the end of the month, I am finally following through.
Here's how it all went down.
The first day was a disaster. I had one page of typed notes, a stack of newspapers and sweaty palms. I attempted to engage the class by asking them what they think a journalist's job is and why the newspaper is important, but that fell flat. I even tried to be relevant and made reference to iPads and Justin Bieber and avoided my urge to mention MTV, which I'm pretty sure, although I'm not positive, is no longer accepted as cool among the young folk. I think it's fair to say, that relating to kids is not my forte or strength.
When I handed out my assignment -- a fact sheet that provided everything the kids needed to know to write a story about a fire and included Fire Chief Justin Bieber -- I was heckled by one of the boys.
"Justin Bieber?" he said. "I take it you like him?"
"No," I responded. "I thought you guys might like him."
And without skipping a beat, the little Newfie, who I have to admit was my favourite student, said, "You guys?"
So that was how my first day of teaching ended. I'll admit the second day was better, but that was just because I forced the kids to do work, so I wouldn't have to talk as much. It was still unnerving though because I knew I was boring them. I knew if I were them I would be thinking, 'Who is this girl in bright blue tights and what the hell is she talking about?'
I think my teaching skills, or lack there of, came especially evident when I got their assignments back. It seems some of the kids didn't retain one of the most important messages from my lesson: 'Don't make things up or embellish the facts.'
To give you an example, one of the kids took my story, which was about a small apartment fire that stemmed from burning food, and made it into an epic fire.
If I recall correctly, the lead was something like, "Smoke! Fire! Flames! Screams weren't the only thing heard from the purple apartment building last night."
There was also a story with fabricated quotes. I take these failures as proof that I should neer be a teacher. That doesn't make me sad, though. I view it as reinforcement that I picked the right career.

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