This morning I went out to the chicken coop to let the gerls out. I threw some food scraps on the ground and changed their water, then went around to where the nesting boxes are. I lifted the lid… only to discover one of the lavender araucanas (Lady Grey) in the middle of laying an egg. It was half in and half out of her. How amazing is that? She was glaring at me, so I apologised, put down the lid and tiptoed away.
I put the car in for a service today. I decided to carry my phone with me in case the mechanic rang to give me bad news. I went into my first class and waved the phone at them, saying that if it rang it would mean financial ruin for me, so if I started crying they’d have to be nice to me.
Then minutes later the phone rang. I shushed them all, looked at the screen and saw that it was an unfamiliar number. Dammit!!! What’s wrong with the car?
“Hello?” a female voice said. “I’m Kerry from Kym’s demo. I’d like to buy a thermomix.”
Here I am, meant to be exerting all my efforts into moulding the young minds of tomorrow’s leaders, and instead I’m inadvertently taking an order.
“Ummm…. can I call you back at lunchtime? I’m in front of a class now,” I said.
Great. The year 10s thought it was pretty funny though.
After lunch I still hadn’t heard from the mechanic, so I took my phone into class again with the year 9s.
It rang. It was the car. $700 for a service, a new thermostat, a wheel alignment and two front tyres. I groaned but told them to go ahead.
Then not ten minutes later the phone rang again!
“What on earth’s going on???” I screeched. “No one ever rings this phone… I don’t have any friends…. WHY NOW?”
My year 9s waited with bated breath.
It was my sister.
“Why are you ringing now, Kate? I’m in front of a class.”
(Meanwhile, my year 9s were all calling out “Hello Kate!”)
Kate was really excited. She was ringing to tell me that even though she hasn’t finished her thermomix training yet, she’s already signed up a friend to join her. That’s pretty amazing news, so I ooed and ahhed and got excited too. The class could only hear my end of the conversation and they were agog.
“Well, I’d better go,” said Kate after a minute or two. “I’m at work at the moment.”
“You’re at work???” I said. She laughed and we hung up.
The kids were desperate to know what we were talking about. It must’ve sounded fascinating from their end. But their feature articles won’t write themselves and I got them straight back on task.
Then I switched my phone off.
I thought I blogged about this at the beginning of the year but I can’t find it so I guess I didn’t.
At the beginning of the year I had a boy in my year 9 English class who had a really sour look on his face. He was polite but looked as if he’d rather be anywhere in the world than to be in my class. On the second or third class I asked him what his problem was.
“Nothing. I just hate English Miss,” he said. “Can’t think of a worse subject.”
Right! I know a challenge when I hear one. After a bit more to-ing and fro-ing about his hatred of the English subject, I laid it down to him.
“Ok. My goal is to get you, by the end of the year, to think that English is …. ‘meh’.”
He looked at me as if I’d run mad.
“Don’t you want me to love it?” he asked.
“Nup. I know my limitations,” I said. “You look pretty stubborn. So I’m aiming for mild indifference.”
Since then I’d thought about that conversation a bit but it had largely gone out of my mind until I was looking at him this afternoon. He was leaning forward, being a bit cheeky with me about the phone call with Kate and I decided to ask him how I was going with the “meh” challenge.
He thought for a second, then said, “Well… I think you’ve succeeded.”
I was so RAPT!!! I did a little happy dance. This is one of the moments when I know why I’m teaching. If I can get him to not hate coming to class, who knows how far he’ll go by year 12? He might even crack open a book…
(I’m only joking. He’s got a fine mind and we have really interesting chats about things that most of the rest of the class don’t get. I like him and I’m so pleased that he’s enjoying the class… or at least thinking that they’re “meh”. A win for the teaching staff!!!!)
OMG! Just had another win! It’s after school and I’m sitting in a tutoring session with a year 11 boy who I’ve been tutoring since year 8. Today I gave him a feature article and asked him to dissect it, pulling out all of the language features the author used and noting how she’s structored it. This particular author, Kathy Lette, chose to pepper this article with similes. Every single paragraph (practically) has a simile in it, though thankfully she’s made up her own so there’s no cliches there to gently lull a reader to sleep.
“Grab a different highlighter and use that colour to highlight all the similes,” I said.
“Um… what are similes again?” he asked. I got a pained look on my face, because I have a very clear memory of going over the difference between similes and metaphors on the board during a tutoring session back in year 8. He noticed my anguished look and went on, “I’ve forgotten…”
“Think poetry,” I said. “Simile, metaphor; what are they doing?”
He thought. “A simile… it compares something to something else.”
“YES!” I clapped.
“A metaphor says something IS something else,” he went on.
I cheered. I’d already told him the story about the year 9 kid.
“I’m on fire today, Marcus!” I said. “Where’s someone else that I can teach something to??? Today’s my lucky day!”