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Friday, April 21, 2006

Reward offered

I am so incredibly thankful that this week is finally over! In truly outrageous celebratory fashion, I went uh after school today, had a few drinks at a Happy Hour with some fellow teachers, and then came home and mowed the lawn. Now THAT is how we party, my friends.
Today was a relatively stress-free day, which was great, because the other four days of this week more than made up for the Recommended Daily Stress Allowance (RDSA). Mrs. Educator and I held a pizza party for our kids that really tried their best on the math tests this Tuesday. There was really only one kid that we felt did NOT deserve to be at that party, and that was Q, who fell asleep twice during the test, kept rattling his desk around and dropping his pencil when he WAS awake, and just generally was a P.I.T.A. (Pain In The -- well, you get it).
In addition to the pizza, we wound up watching two movies. Normally, approval must be garnered in order to watch a movie, but I felt the educational value of the films justified their viewing. First, we watched A Bug's Life, which emphasized knowledge strata that the kids had built earlier in the year when we studied plants and animals. I like to think of it as reinforcing the scaffolding. Next, we put up Toy Story, which... um... demonstrated, uh, uses for plastic, which is made using oil, which is a very valuable and nonrenewable resource that we read about this week from our science books. Yeah, that's the ticket!

I thought I'd post another excerpt from my book, Learn Me Good. This chapter is fitting, because it really parallels the events of today. Enjoy!

Date: Friday, March 5, 2004
To: Fred Bommerson
From: Jack Woodson
Subject: Encyclopedia Brown strikes again

Hey dude,
You may not have proxied any day-long exams, but it sounds like you had a few hellish days there yourself! Let me see if I have this straight. Your supplier didn’t meet spec on the plate stock you got, and now he’s giving you the run-around on replacing it quickly. I think I can probably guess who you’re dealing with here. Unfortunately, it doesn’t make it any easier to have to inform YOUR customer that his shipment is going to be late as a result. Sorry, man, that stinks. Sometimes dealing with those guys is like eating two-week-old moldy bread from a failed science experiment – it leaves a bad taste in your mouth.
Hopefully I can cheer you up. Today was a fun day for us, and a good way to wrap up a long week. Since the kids took the TAKS reading test on Wednesday, and then we hit them with a math practice test yesterday, today was a reward day.
Mrs. Swanson and I switched classes earlier than usual and had shortened classes, so that we had time between lunch and P.E. to have pizza and watch a movie. Everybody came into my room and sat on the floor, and we watched The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Kelly has been reading that book with the kids, so she wanted to see how the cartoon compared. Midway through the movie, a little red fawn named Mr. Tumnus shows up and befriends one of the children. At this point, Jorge leaned over to Sofia, and I heard him say, “That’s the wardrobe!” Yes, Jorge, and that innocuous looking lamppost is actually the lion!
We had told the kids all week long that we would have this reward day for everybody who made their best effort on the reading test and the math practice test. We told them that anyone who fooled around, bubbled answers without reading the questions, or just generally did not try would not participate in our pizza party. So of course, we had three kids who got to sit in my entranceway and make corrections on their practice test during our reward time. I’ll let you guess who those three were.
There was almost a fourth non-participant. Earlier in the day, we were at the outside restrooms taking our morning break. Nearly all of the kids were done and back in line; I was waiting just outside the restrooms for a couple of stragglers. Christy left the line, walked over to where I was standing, and whispered, “Mr. Woodson, Thomson pointed the middle finger at me.”
Christy and I walked back towards the line, and as I walked up to the front, I said loudly, “Well, anyone who points their middle finger at someone just won’t be participating in our reward party today.”
Immediately, Thomson retorted, “I didn’t point my middle finger at her!” I responded quickly, “Hmmm. . .well I never said WHO had pointed their middle finger, but thanks for coming out and admitting it, Thomson.” The look on his face was priceless. There was a flash of surprise, and then he hung his head in defeat. His expression seemed to say, “Alas, I realize I have tipped my hand, sir. Well-played. Well-played.”
When we got back to the room, I told him that he could either miss out on the party or he could choose not to receive any blue tickets at all for the next week. Initially, he chose to miss the party. Later, after a tearful inner struggle, he changed his mind and opted for the no prize basket option.
Now the reading test is down, but the math test looms. The one that falls squarely on my shoulders. Thirty more school days to go – but who’s counting?
Oh, and were you serious about Paul’s questions? He asked if I was happy at the school, if I was under contract here, and if I wanted to come back to HPU? Um, gee, let me think. Yes, yes, and no. In that order. I may gripe about certain kids, but overall I find myself going home each day with a much greater sense of fulfillment than I ever did in cubicle land.
Plus, it’s just easier to deal with kids being idiots every so often than adults being idiots, like your supplier. Good luck with your materials nightmare. Keep me posted.
Hang in there,
Stan Put


kontan said...

HAHA! Great justification for the videos! You have learned the art of the BSLP.

We start in depth state testing this week. The tension is unbelievable. Writing portion of the English portion was last month. Woohoo four hours with one class if you are not administering. Oh the joy.

Anonymous said...
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Mister Teacher said...

I feel your pain, kontan. Those standardized tests are no fun, for students or teachers. We spent all year preparing for the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, and now that it's over, we have one week to get our kids ready for the ITBS. One week that includes two field trips, that is.
Good luck with your tests!

Anonymous said...

Yes, I have found that one should never ask a student if he did something because he will lie and deny it. It works much better to ask him why he did it, and then he will give you some lame excuse and thus incriminate himself.