Wednesday, April 20, 2005

What Did You Teach Today?

The schoolteacher is certainly underpaid as a childminder, but ludicrously overpaid as an educator.
John Osborne (1929 - 1994), British playwright and screenwriter

This journal entry shows the hurdles a teacher has to leap in order to impart knowledge upon her students. Roxanna is a special education instructor in Los Angeles.

Journal Entry #8
My husband asks me every day after I come home from the job that I love: "What did you teach today?"

I tell him about how I got the big kids to stop throwing water at the little kids in the bathroom. I tell him how I spoke with a student's father about a report I had to file. I tell him about how I had the students stand in line with their hands behind their back so they don't push each other, when they go to lunch. I told him how I have to stop my students from talking at lunch because it gets out of control, and it is a school rule that they cannot talk during lunchtime. I tell him there are more than 200 students at lunchtime - can he imagine them all talking at the sometime? I tell him how once again I tried to call a parent's telephone number because she sent me a note that I had to urgently speak with her - and I find that her phone is still disconnected. I tell him how the administration told me that a special education meeting starts in half an hour at another school that is more than an hour away from my school, and I needed to figure out what teacher could possibly work in my class on such short notice. I tell him that to do this; I have to provide a lesson plan and give guidance about how to work with my students. I tell him how a student's father suddenly appeared at the school, and wanted to urgently speak with me, even though I had just spoken with him 10 minutes ago on the phone and he never mentioned he was coming. I tell him how the literacy coach said I have to prepare a bulletin board for computer lab tomorrow, so my students have to do it today. I tell him how I had to make copies on two photocopiers that never work. I tell him how a mother came to complain because she said her son had no breakfast, even though he came 40 minutes late after breakfast had ended - and he lives right in front of the school. I tell my husband about a student who is sleeping three hours a night at home, so that when he comes to school he is so irritated that he starts kicking and shouting when I get near him. I tell him how one student keeps says that others are pushing her, although they are not even in the same room with her.

My husband listens to all this attentively, and gives me a look that says he loves me. He waits, and then waits some more. Then he asks, "So, what did you teach today?"


Devo said...

Yeesh, was there even any TIME for teaching after all the babysitting (of parents mostly, it seems) and corralling of unruly children?

Chandira said...

Babysitting of parents is right!

SOunds like my office managers' old job on a psych ward.. (Parents included!)