Saturday, March 10, 2007

He's touching me! Am not! Is so! Am not!

I never realized how much kids tattle on each other until I started teaching elementary school. There's a statistic out that says something like 80% of class time is used on discipline - well, I don't think I use that much, but its not too far away. Out of that, most of my disciplinary interventions involve lines like:

"Keep your hands and feet to yourselves."
"Don't worry about what she's doing - you need to pay attention to me."
"If he's looking at you then he's going to miss my directions on the activity."
"Raise your hand! Raise your hand! We can't all share at once!"
"Only get a tissue if your nose is running. Then entire class does not need a tissue!"
"Is it an emergency? .......Then, you can wait 10 minutes to go."
"Put your recorder down until I tell you to get know you shouldn't squeak it on purpose like that."

But there are some really cute kids, especially in 1st grade. I tend to know those kids better because I help out with their P.E. class, too. There's a little redhead that raised his hand for about 8 minutes just to tell me he played the violin. Another kid gives me a hug every time she sees me. One class has this really energetic Hispanic boy who, I'm pretty sure, is disruptive because he's bored - but he'll behave if we let him play a song on the piano at the end of class. I could go on and on...

This week has been a rough one. My clinical teacher is out-of-town and I was left to substitute. I've discovered that children, even kindergarteners, can smell a substitute a mile away. But, the first grade has been my bright spot - even the double P.E. class (just imagine keeping 45 kids in line competitively throwing nerf balls at orange cones in order to beat the other class...). When P.E. was over, we had to wait for one teacher to come get her class. The kids are all lined up, but antsy, so I try to keep them occupied.

During this, the aforementioned redhead - who is quite precocious by the way - looks up and says, "Why do you keep smiling at me?" I crack up and ask back, "Am I not allowed to smile at 1st graders? How 'bout I just stare at you all like this...” I started making a bunch of silly and/or mean faces that the kids mimicked, giggling. The P.E. teacher turns around, "Now, ya'll know yer supposed ta be quiet....." The kids did manage to sort of stifle their laughter at my sheepish, blushing state. "Oops, my fault," I confess. Luckily, the teacher has a sense of humor....