Saturday, February 3, 2007


I have a new topic to add to my ‘top ten most difficult concepts to teach’ list. Identifying the tens place and the ones place. For example: How many groups of ten are in the number 41? How many ones are left over?

This was the lesson I had to teach on Friday. As I looked over it beforehand I thought, another simple lesson that we’ll fly through, especially considering that it was the grade 2’s and their grasp of English is quite good. So I stood in front of seven, second graders and saw 6 blank faces, who were listening intently they just couldn’t get it. (Sisters three- you’ve been in this place many times: Listening to Angelina trying to pound a concept into your heads by just saying the same fact repeatedly, with no variation on the method of delivery.)

To exponentially increase my frustrations there was one kid who understood perfectly what I was trying to teach. No blank face. Her name is Beatrice. She reminds me of me. (I know many of you are just now shivering, as you know exactly what this means.) She is a show off.

I had written 7 numbers on the board and was going around the circle asking each of them individually, “How many groups of ten and how many ones left over?” Every time I said those magic words it was like I flipped a switch and I heard Beatrice clearly whisper the answer just loud enough for the entire class to hear her. Then the kid I was actually asking the question to would parrot back Beatrice’s answer.

I flipped. I will try replaying the one-sided conversation for your enjoyment.

“Beatrice, (Angelina pauses for impact and glares across the room) is your name Anne? Is it Joshua? Is it Yowano??? No! It’s not! I am trying to convey a concept to a group of people and not just you! If you keep answering for them how am I going to determine what they know? Also, if I ask someone a question you do not need to jump up and down in your chair and wave your arms in front of my face because I am not going to pick you to answer every single question. Consider this your first warning, if you answer one more question out of turn or wave your arms every two seconds you will have to do marches. (Second pause. The classroom is deathly silent.) OK. (Breath in, breath out. I purpose to not snap again.)”

I am not too sure how much of that dialog they understood, but they did get this: Ms ***** needs a nap and we need to pretend to understand her.

I am reattempting the lesson on Monday. Prayer would be appreciated.

I read a little article on prayer today. I need to do more of it. It works.

To be fair to myself Beatrice’s other teachers have noted this same tendency and applauded my little speech.

Note to any past teachers of mine: I apologize for every single time that I jumped up and down and waved my arms because I knew the answer. I also apologize for every answer I shouted out without thinking about the others who were attempting to learn in my presence.


krista said...

haha i howled:) and i can just see you snapping too:):) good, though. sometimes a good dose of angelina's wrath is just enough to wake a kid up. i should know.

Suz said...


I thought your mum taught you? Or did you jump up and down in your chair even though it was only you and your sisters in the class?

Suzie said...

and here's another new word for you...

you didn't 'flip', you had a berky!