Thursday, October 26, 2006

i'm not that asshole

okay, so all that stuff i said about those kids getting on my nerves and me doing a count down til the end of my student teaching experience...chuck it all. i love these little critters (today). so first and second periods were par for the course--kids jumping and screaming and getting merry like christmas (maya angelou anyone?). then fifth rolls around. now let me give some background: first period is a freshman class and my least favorite; having an alright time during first is no spectacular thing. second is my lone junior class; they're sometimey--there's a lot of love and hate there. fourth is another freshman class, and contains of strange mix of the quiet and the snarky; they're fine. and then you have fifth (yet another freshman class). this class is my clear favorite. they're hilarious and smart and gregarious and a little kooky, everything that freshmen should be. in this class are many characters; one, in particular, is a boy we shall call clem. clem has severe anxiety issues, like he hasn't been diagnosed, but we (my cooperating teacher and i) know that he has asperger's. he expects absolute perfection of himself and can never just let something lie; all assignments have to be done correctly the first time...now. yesterday, i passed back the freshmen's first real paper, the one where they were required to identify a theme and support it with their chosen text. now clem didn't do so well; he didn't do so poorly either, but that's not the point. yesterday, while trying to explain to him that he needn't worry about not having gotten the whole theme paper thing right away, he started crying. now i'm a cold mickeyfrickey with a heart of stone, but the sight of some fourteen year-old kid leaking at the eyes was too much for me to handle; i felt horrible. i tried to assuage his fears and told him to simply go home and work on the things that i had clearly identified as problems. "fine," he says, and i feel better. he feels better, too; he now has a plan of action. fast forward to today. now while his classmates are acting like crazy people, he's still shook about this paper. he is unable to let this paper occupy a smaller part of his existence. "it's driving me crazy," he says. i then launch into this exhaustive explanation and demonstration of how to rewrite, restructure, rework his paper. he smiles. he says, "thank you, ms. ellis." he makes an extra effort to tell me to have a nice day when he leaves. his anxiety has been eased, at least for now. i feel all warm and shit. i am an absolute softie.

in other news, and in an effort to toot my horn even louder, some random student who does not have me tells me that she's heard that i am an excellent teacher (pronoun soup), that she's heard from several students that i "rock." dude, i so needed that. these past two months have been really trying. i can do stuff. i'm a pretty confident person. i believe in my abilities. however, performance (as my first blog entry reveals) really isn't my thing (unless, of course, i've had four vodka-cranberries, rum and cokes or apple martinis and am at or near a karaoke bar). i've really struggled with transmitting the stuff i know, making it palatable and somewhat interesting, and making the kids give a damn. i remember high school. a lot of my teachers sucked balls. i do not want to be that teacher. it's good to know that at least to some kids i'm not that asshole. exhale.

1 comment:

Monica said...

Clem? CLEM? You couldn't call him John or Bob? CLEM?????