Today, I failed First Grade. Well, at least parts of it. The time when I decided 38 minutes was long enough to be sitting on a carpet square on the floor, so I stood up before the teacher finished her sentence. If looks could kill…
Next time was when I was helping a girl put her Math problem in the correct box on the paper, but the teacher had pulled her name out of the can, so she was supposed to be providing the answer, so her name got called 3 times before we realized the rest of the class was waiting.
And then when a boy kept getting the wrong answer for his adding, I asked him to show me how he was using his Number Line (the little graph “cheat sheet” taped to the top of his desk because of his learning problem) but the teacher said I was not to be helping him, that was why he had the Paper in the first place. It did not seem to matter to HER that he was not beginning at the proper point, not understanding the problem set, therefore he would still wonder why he keeps getting the wrong answer.
So he reached into his desk to get his eraser (the one on his pencil was already bent metal) and got told to leave his desk stuff alone. So while she was busy writing on the board, I sneeked the eraser out for him. She turned and said “And Mrs. Wiman is not supposed to be in the desk either” but I said I chose to do that, erased all his mistakes, then set it close to his hand.
I’m thinking Why else would a TA get paid to be with him if all he needed was the little paper?
She walked back to us and took away everything except the stubby pencil and the paper of Math problems. Both the kid and I had had enough by then. He just copied everything from the board for the last couple problems. I’m not sure if he will be understanding adding for awhile.
And then, when I went to fetch/escort the class back from the library, at least two asked if they could stop for a drink. I made sure no other class was in the hall, then said Yes, three swallows. Maybe 3 kids got a drink, then the teacher came around the corner looking for us. “NO, we do not stop for drinks after library” so we scooted on back to the room, passing two other water fountains while doing so.
At about that minute I thought I recognized in her a couple symptoms of menopause.
There was a snack time, with crackers. And then 4 students at a time were allowed to go out to the water fountain for a drink. Last one name called was the first kid who had asked if he could get a drink after library. 38 minutes had passed.
At the break, the teacher says “I know you don’t know these kids, but they really do seem needy, always twiddling with something, not staying on task. It’s a difficult year already, and we’re just at Thanksgiving.”
I told her that I do know most of them. This is my fourth year of being a TA Sub, so I remember them in Mrs. C’s Early Childhood room, and Mrs. B’s Kindergarten. There is a TA in the room to help with Disability Accommodations. One of the nice things about being a TA Sub is watching kids grow, knowing where they have come from.
I said that I bit my fingernails and pulled out every hair of my eyebrows in First Grade. Maybe that’s why I’m willing to work as a One-on-One with the LD kids, because I know how difficult it is. And why I carry a crochet hook and yarn so many places. At least something pretty gets done by my fidgeting. She did not seem to be very understanding about using a little more moving around to help with learning.
The last part of the afternoon was watching a dvd of The Magic Schoobus. It tries to educate and entertain during each show, and gets the kids settled down before they get on the bus.
As I was walking to my car, an older man was looking anxiously towards the door of the building. I asked if I could help him? He said he had to pick up his grand-daughter, his daughter was having car trouble. I told him that students are not allowed to cross the yellow line of the bus lane, and that he would have to pick up a child in the office if someone had called to make other arrangements. He said he didn’t think anybody had called the office. I told him that is still where he has to go if he wants to take a child off the property.
He seemed a bit confused, but I just shrugged and said “Rules are supposed to help us”
Long day, I tells ya.
~~love and Huggs, Diane
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