Alli Snow (allisnow) wrote,
Alli Snow
allisnow

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Fieldwork

*sighs*

You know, this is starting to progress from "gee, this guy is a jerk" to "I wonder if I should tell the school that they're paying this guy who has very little interest and seemingly no talent and they'd be better off hiring a trained monkey".

Go to Victory about 11:30 (signed in as 11:25) and left around 2:00 (2:25). It's not just that I'm a slacker... in fact, it's mainly that if I didn't leave I was going to have to say something really harsh to the guy. Especially after he tells me, while showing off his lesson plan book (big whoop), that (paraphrasing): 'Well, for some people, teaching is their life blah blah blah, for me it's a way to put food on the table blah blah blah', and I'm thinking, 'yeah, you G*ddamn asshole, that sure explains a lot'.

Oh, and get this... this guy is a pastor at some Baptist church in Manteca!

Now... I've been doing fieldwork (working in a classroom as less than a teacher but more than a TA) since 11th grade. Thus far I've been in preschool (age 3-5), kindergarten, 3rd grade, 4th grade, 5th grade (which is Seesing's class), 8th and 12th. I've worked with about a dozen different teachers, and I certainly haven't liked all of them. I certainly haven't agreed with all of their teaching strategies or philosophies. But this is the only time I've found myself thinking, If I had a kid, I would not want them in this man's class. I would go to the principal and I would demand my kid be placed in someone elses' class.

Why, you ask? Because I've been in the position of some of these kids, the GATE students, the ones that don't require him to explain the same thing over the same way for half an hour and end up sitting around, bored, for most of the class. I've been in the position of hating school, or at least a specific class, because it was so noisy and chaotic and disorganized that I couldn't hear myself think.

And now, a decade or so later, I'm seeing it from the perspective of the other kids, the ones that could get it but don't, who think it's their fault but it isn't. I was working with this one boy today; he'd been sent outside because he had his name on the board twice - God knows why - and when Seesing let him back in, he made him sit in the very back of the class (the furthest away from the overhead projector; real great way to get the kid to do his work). Now, he's by himself, which isn't a bad thing because the 'communal' seating arrangement in the class sucks, but that means that no one is paying any attention to him.

So I went over to him, pulled up a chair, and asked him if he understood the assignment. He said he did, but I could tell... I mean, the assignment was subject-verb agreement, which is fairly easy, but the teacher introduced it as subject-verb agreement. Do you think all of those kids even know what subjects and verbs are? Or singular and plural forms? Anyway, I sat there with this boy, this 'troublemaker' who has his name on the board every day, and explained it. Just put it in terms I was sure he could understand, how the subject is who or what the sentence is about, the verb is the action... and he got it. He totally got it. He paid attention -- heck, he was almost a little too eager because I wanted him to take things step by step. And he finished, got them all right, went up to show the teacher... and I could tell he was proud because on the way up he caught a spelling mistake and stopped, went back to his desk and fixed it. Then he took it up to the teacher and showed it to him... and the guy barely gave it a once over. Just told all the students to put it in their notes and use it as a reference... without even checking to make sure it would be a correct reference.

And, you know, it just pisses me off - if you couldn't tell - that here I'm in school, paying all this money and spending all this time, and surrounded by other people who are making the same sacrifices, doing all this to be the best teachers we can, corny as it sounds... and here you have this guy who just doesn't give a damn. Doesn't work with the students individually. Doesn't take criticism well, if at all (I politely mentioned to him that maybe the seating arrangement wasn't conducive to learning -- he "hmm"ed and didn't say anything else). Is just doing this to put food on the table, because he must be a pretty shitty pastor, too.

I don't know. I just don't know. My last three hours are tomorrow... and I hardly feel comfortable talking to him about this. I mean, what do I say? "Man, you suck. Stop rotting the minds of the future, kay?" I don't know if I should say something directly to the school, or maybe talk to the professor of the class? Because I know I'm still a student and I don't know everything, but I know enough to know that this guy is bad. Sadly, bad teachers are not a rare phenomenon... but these kids deserve better.
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