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Every Life is a Story
    A place to share my own family stories

Monday, March 10, 2008

YES! I've Still Got It.....

Thursday and Friday last week I taught 7th grade English and Utah Studies. While I had been volunteering in classrooms, it had been thirteen years since I last taught full time, and NEVER in junior high. It was with great fear and anxiety that I walked into the school with my 7th grade daughter. She very quickly left me to my own devices, and I went to the office. They gave me a security badge, a guidebook complete with rules and maps, showed me where the faculty bathroom was, and wished me a good day.

First period was a prep period, which was actually really bad because it lengthened the anxiety time. I also didn't have much to do beyond read the lesson plans. It was also the only time besides lunch that I had a chance to visit the restrooms, and that was WAY too early. I made sure I didn't drink much through the day.

Second period was a homeroom period, and there was nothing to do but take the kids to the auditiorium so next years class registration could be explained. Easy.

THIRD period, I faced the kids. They were loud. And tall! There were girls taller than I was, and let's not talk about the boys. I took a deep breath, introduced myself, and started. Fortunately, the teacher knew me and had asked me to tell stories as part of the lesson. Once the story started, magic happened the way it happens with every other audience of every other age. They all fell silent. They stared at me, and when I got to the sad part of the story, girls looked at me with stricken faces, and boys tried not to show any emotion about any of it. I had them. The story ended, I gave them a writing assignment, and the magic was over, but I wasn't nervous anymore.

The rest of the classes went the same way. Through the course of the day, I heard all of the traditional excuses kids gave substitutes. "But our teacher ALWAYS lets us...." and "Can I use the bathroom?". When the final bell rang, I was surprised to find that the day had gone by so quickly, and I was still alive!

Day two went just as well. I had a serious power struggle in second period with some eighth grade boys, but the class was short, and they were gone, and I had no other troubles past that. I had less excuses, because I hadn't fallen for them the day before. I had a couple of pranks. The name I had written on the board changed fairly frequently. Easily fixed.

I went home relieved, but also excited. I was still a fairly capable teacher! And I still enjoyed being in front of a classroom of students. Perhaps it's something to think about for the future.

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"To be a person
is to have a story to tell."

- Isak Dinesen  

 
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