“Testing, attention please…
A nuisance who sent? You sent for me?”
- Bass, Jeffrey Irwin; Mathers, Marshall; Bell, Kevin. Song “Without Me” Eminem
I’m afraid that Operation Write hit another snag. Since its inception on Wednesday, paying jobs on Thursday and Friday have thwarted it. The gig was for the same school, but instead of Spanish, I’d be teaching 7th and 8th-grade, subject unknown, since I was only given the teacher’s name. Upon reaching the school, I found out it was Math. The woman is VERY pregnant. She came into the Spanish room several times to pick up photocopies and we even chatted a little.
The day was to be spent giving two eighth-grade classes an exam and two seventh-grade classes a quiz. She left them extra credit work if they finished early. That’s good because if students have nothing to do after a quiz, they tend to talk and even act up. They also had homework, should they finish the extra credit. I’ve worked with these middle school students a number of times, and they’d always been pretty good, considering their age and the fact that most of them live in a giant housing project down the street.
Turns out that I had my biggest break in the morning and then all the classes would be in a row, except during lunch. Fifteen minutes before the students were due to arrive; I regretted not having used the time to get coffee. Now I’d have to wait until school ended in FIVE HOURS. gasp
While I was recording this job on my “Sub Work” document, I realized that yesterday was my one-year anniversary of subbing. How could I forget? While this bothered me on March 1st, I’m over it (Although I’m shocked that the district didn’t bake me a cake and sing). Yesterday was my 99th day and today is my 100th day subbing. (Yeah, I’ll probably receive the cake today.)
The first group of eighth-graders came with a teacher for support for the SEI (Special Ed. Inclusion) students, and she said she’d be there for seventh-grade last period as well. While this was a nice bonus, soon it was clear that she was DESPERATELY needed. These students were lost. The exam required them to do equivalents, write equations in their simplest form. They needed to use FOIL (first, outside, inside, last). Remember that? Thirty-minutes into a fifty-five minute class and most students were on the first page of a five-page test. Five minutes later, half the class made it to the second page.
Those who follow my blog, know how weak I am in Math*, but during a test, I’m not supposed to give them the answers anyway. Many didn’t have the foggiest idea of how to begin tackling the equations.
For the first group of seventh-graders, a Math support teacher arrived. These students were more math savvy, but a little more talkative, so they had to be watched like a hawk. This was not a sit back and watch the students while I get to read, type, or check my e-mail kind of day.
After lunch, my second group of eighth-graders was much easier, although about four boys were tall enough to be high school students, but I didn’t let that intimidate me. This was the class that had Enigma** in it, along with a student who never does any work. A few minutes into class, The Workless One broke the (relative) silence:
“Hey yo, Teacher!”
I walked from across the room, sat down and said in a low (but authentically street) voice, “Hey yo, what?”
“I’d appreciate if you used my name without the ‘Hey yo,” or if you raised your hand.”
“Oh. Okay. Ms…” He squints to read the board. “Milstein, can I go to the bathroom?”
As expected, by the end of class, he didn’t do anything but write his name on the test.
Last period, the second group of seventh-graders was as lost as the first group of eighth-graders. All class:
“ Ms. Milstein.”
“Ms…. What’s her name?”
“I don’t understand this.”
I felt relief when the day ended. It wasn’t about behavior – they were fine. But to be pestered with the same questions all day when I’m not even allowed to help them because it was a test, was exhausting. Some anniversary.
I’m sure there will be a card waiting for me in my mailbox when I get home.
* Not such a stellar Math day:
** This is a funny and tragic post: