Thursday, August 30, 2007

teacher duty

One of those things that comes along with being a teacher is duty. Morning duty, afternoon duty - basically just making sure all the kids are doing what they are supposed to be doing when they come into school and when they leave school. It's a pretty vague job, another one of those things that you learn on the fly as a teacher because everybody expects that you know what you're supposed to do. It is also something that most teachers universally despise.

I rather enjoy it. Duty gives me a chance to see all the other kids from the little pre-K babies to the other grades. I really love the little ones. They go around looking so bewildered and all you have to do is put out your hand and they just trust that you are going to take them where they need to be. This morning one of the younger kids asked me if Ms. W is my sister. This afternoon another one asked me if Mr. R is my husband. Both were rather amusing cases of "white folks look alike." But I suppose it is also a testament to just how isolated the kids are.

While I was monitoring one of the bus lines this afternoon I knelt down to talk to some of the youngest kids and get them in line. One girl started playing with my hair and examining my scalp. She was baffled by how pale my skin was, the texture of my hair. Of course as soon as one started the others joined in and soon I had half a dozen hands running through my hair, pushing my bangs back, trying to figure out why my scalp was so white. I realized that even though being a minority everyday has become my norm, it's not yet normal for most of the kids in our school. That has it's pros and cons, I suppose.

Once upon a time I thought that it would be intimidating or awkward to be one of the few white people around. But I haven't found that to be true, at least in school.

Today, one of my students shared his english homework with me. He wrote about what he learned in my class this year about Greatest Common Factor and Least Common Multiple and he explained them both very well. I was so proud! Apparently another student also wrote about me in english class but chose not to share it with me. I heard from the ELA teacher. She wrote that she didn't used to understand math but she likes me as a teacher because now she is beginning to understand how it works. That really made this whole crappy failure of a school day worth going back tomorrow.

No comments: