I mentioned how I dipped my toe back into teaching and this prompted a cleaning of my 2-drawer file cabinet in the basement. You know, the one stuffed with over a decade of my teaching career remains. I've finished culling it, which led to one and a half drawers of empty space. This led to clearing off a shelf in the basement, which led to a new spot for my canning supplies...but I digress. I also have almost 40 pounds of paper for next week's paper drive at Happyland Elementary sitting in the garage now.
I discovered all kinds of treasures and trash. One thing that struck me was how many handouts on teaching literature I possessed. Truly, if I were to return to teaching, I'd stick to a heavy emphasis on writing over reading. Unfortunately, most college English programs are overrun by girls like me who love to read. This begets teachers who love to read and want their students to read everything under the sun. Teacher preparation courses encourage this book lust, sending new teachers into the workforce well-equipped to present a hundred different activities related to Hamlet, but almost no clue on how to assess student writing.
I ditched most of the literature stuff because it's just not relevant. Also, I discovered a strange thing about myself when I started teaching English: as much as I lovelovelove to read, I kind of hate teaching it. I really love to teach writing. Because I was overprepared to teach literature, I had to make up a lot of my own stuff to teach writing. Some of that stuff was crap, but it led to some better lesson plans and I ended up keeping the best of the best.
I also discovered amusing things.
Like this Scantron answer page. Remember Scantron machines? I used to love the sound those tests made, zipping through the front end and coming out the back all mechanically corrected for me! Plus "Scantron" is such fun to say. Go ahead. Say it. SCANTRON. Just rolls off the tongue in your low robotic voice, doesn't it?
Fond of fonts much? Why, yes, I was! Ridiculously fond, it would seem...
Wonder what I looked like as a teacher? Behold--one student's artistic rendering of me:
Yes, I did wear pantsuits. I loved my dress pants with a jacket combo.
This cracked me up--a student's appeal for mercy points at the end of the semester. I wish I could recall whether I gave him the passing grade or not... I don't know what happened to him after graduation, but I have a hunch he turned out okay.
It's snowing out because it's still winter in Wisconsin, but we have good award-winning cheese and plenty of beer on hand for St. Patrick's Day weekend. Mr. D has finished his juice fast and now weighs less than when he did on our wedding day! Mr. B made a volcano out of clay and brought it to school with a pint of vinegar and half a box of baking soda. He did it for fun, bless his curious heart. We have a book of science experiments and he's on a mission to complete them all. Mr. G has selected one he'd like to do, too. We're eating Chinese food for dinner and our bowling season wraps up tonight. And we get to attend a St. Patrick's Day party tomorrow--where I will not drink the green Bud Light, but indulge in a couple pints of choice stout. Life is so full of good stuff, isn't it?
Spill it, reader. Tell me about something you've found in the bowels of a desk drawer or filing cabinet lately.