Things I've Learned Being a Teacher: Part 2

As a short recap, part 1 of this 2 part series dealt with pianists and "A Wholes". If you need to refresh your memory of my brilliance or if you yet to read my brilliance I suggest you follow the link: BRILLIANCE and then come back and conclude with this brilliance... eh hem... Brilliance!

Moving right along, the last post dealt with the tough subjects of spelling (which by the way I found yet another word I cannot pronounce, familiarity... don't ask why, just send me your pity) and math. This post will deal with the tougher subjects of history and recess.

Year in and year out I have so many students come into my class with a chip on their shoulders about a certain/specific subject. I like to ask my students to be honest, and let me know what subject they dislike the most. After reading, math, and writing, finally they say either science or social studies. Which leads me into my 3rd point.

3. Make sure your students are listening... I mean REALLY listening:
It's to no surprise that when I'm going over the devastatingly interesting and overwhelmingly entertaining (which by the way I do feel that it is) Roman Empire all the kids are either not listening and looking like they actually are or just blatantly not listening. So, after the entire chapter (I believe it was 4 lessons covering somewhere close to 40 some odd pages) on Ancient Roman Civilization I had a review day. Nervous anxious kids that are scared out of their minds about what is going to be on the test in 2 days, trying to remember 40 pages worth of facts, dates, and vocabulary... WHAT COULD GO WRONG?! Surprisingly only one thing.

After going over the geography, economy, and government of Ancient Rome we inevitably had to review the historic wars and military campaigns. After covering the Etruscans, and the battles fought with them, the constant civil wars fought in Rome because of the struggle for power (between the established forms of government, Roman Republic and Emperorship [known better as dictatorship])
Punic, Punic, Punic! Funny how 1 letter can change historical into hysterical.

Quick side note: Dictators were first introduced in Ancient Rome because of the established Republic Government. There were 2 consuls elected to rule over Rome, as a sort of bi-presidency, one would be in charge of the government and the other would be in charge of the military. In states of emergency the consuls would name one complete ruler, or dictator, to alleviate any complication in the decision making process. Each consul had the authority to stop the other from taking an action he did not agree with. One can see why this would be difficult in a state of emergency. Sorry that's the teacher side of me coming out.


We come next to the defining moment in Ancient Roman battle history, The Punic Wars. Or as one over-zealous and trigger happy reviewing student shouted out to the class, "The Pubic Wars!" What?! Wait... What?! As you can imagine, being in a classroom full of 11 and 12 year-olds that just got done watching the "Changing" video not but 6 months earlier (let's just say that 6 months isn't enough time to get some of that imagery fully out of a sponge-like prepubescent mind). You can imagine the sheer terror that shot through my mind when this was belted out louder than an opera singer on opening night (that may be a bit exaggerated). So what did a self-respecting, semi-seasoned professional do in this situation? I ignored it and hoped that everyone else would too. Ridiculously enough, it worked! Either my students are WAY MORE MATURE than I ever thought, or I experienced a miracle like nothing else I have been a part of in my entire life. At that moment, I KNEW unequivocally that there is a God!

4. Balls will be balls:

There had been recent problem at the school where I work, the problem had to do with the playground equipment. For the past few years playground equipment was being over-used and mistreated, so as a way to alleviate the problem the staff got together and came up with a plan. A plan so fool-proof, so monumental, so incredibly genius that nothing could possibly go wrong:

We gave each class their own set of color-coded playground equipment! It was not only going to help give the students "ownership" but also teach them about respect and responsibility... Let's just say we couldn't stop patting ourselves on the back about this idea. Until...

Why?!
I was causally walking outside to pick up my class from lunch recess (as I normally do... I'm a causally walking kind of guy), but when I get to the doors leading to the playground I see (they're glass by the way or I would have had to preface this story with "I can see through walls") that the playground is littered, like enough to make that Native American in the old commercial cry his single tear, with newly purchased equipment. As I swing open the door, with full intent to tell my class to clean up the orange colored balls, jump ropes, etc., it happened...

Teacher: "5th GRADE, YOU'RE BALLS ARE ALL OVER THE PLAYGROUND! YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED BACK TO CLASS UNTIL YOU PICK UP YOUR BALLS!"

Student: "Which balls are the 5th graders?

Teacher: "The blue ones. Boys! Stop playing around and pick up all the blue balls... I can wait."

Student: "Yeah boys, we can't go inside until you pick up your blue balls!"

I doubt even the Pope could have kept a straight face after hearing that verbal exchange. It didn't help that it was being shouted across the playground either. The only thought in my head, besides "BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAAAHAHAHAHAHAAHAH *breath* HAHAHAHAHHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAH," was color based balls... probably not as genius as we once thought.

Last bit of advice I can give is when referencing balls on the playground, substitute the word "equipment", it will probably save a lot of concerned parent phone calls.

1 comment

Chad Liston | August 6, 2012 at 12:23 PM

I love this blog post(as well as the other one on the same subject). It's brilliant.

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