Sunday, November 06, 2011

"From My Side of the Desk" by Connie Casserly

I wanted to share a post from TeachitWrite by Connie Casserly, a fellow TpT Seller! Her web site contains a blog called "From My Side of the Desk," filled with numerous posts worth checking out!

From My Side of the Desk
What College Never Taught Me:
After I handed the professor my Teaching Of English final exam, signaling the conclusion of my formal BS ED instruction, I literally sprinted toward my future.  I was so pumped up with visions of adolescents gobbling up my lessons culled from my Idea File and clamoring for, “More, please, Mrs. C,” in my perfect classroom that Dr. Ryder’s last words failed to register. “Remember,” he said, “we have been discussing theory.  The realities you all will be facing in the fall will probably be a bit different.” His words bounced off my ears like my mother’s urgings to, “Eat burnt toast so the boys will like you.”
Ninety-six days later, my lesson using lyrics from Bob Dylan, the Beatles and other folk rockers to teach metaphor melted my students into eye-glazing stupors. Only then did the irony of Dr. Ryder’s probably send dreams of strangling him with the rope of profanities twisting through my frustrated brain. The man had obviously never spent the eternity of fifty-five minutes on a fall Friday afternoon experiencing the sensory explosion of a ninth grade public school classroom.
This is what college never taught me:
1.      Administrative Assistants run the school. A friendly, “Good morning,” and an occasional chat about their families will:
·       garner me that last ream of copy paper when my colleagues are rifling through the recycled paper bins five minutes before the bell and I desperately need 50 copies of my Metamorphosis test.
·       get me a meeting with the principal about the mouthy kid I want to hang by his thumbs when everyone else thinks he is,  “Lunching with the superintendent.”
·       insure a heads up on Monday morning when the principal is checking out the “teaching going on” and I planned Reading Time while I unscrambled my weekend sleepy brain.
2.      Custodians can make my life heaven or hell.  I always pick up the day’s detritus left by my students, make sure my trash cans aren’t the result of a “How Can we Pile the Junk before it Spills” contest, clean my own white boards and deliver home baked goods before holidays to their break room. This guarantees:
·       a bottle of white board cleaner when everyone else is told to, “Buy your own. The district hasn’t authorized us to hand out our supply to teachers.”
·       more desks from their secret stash when the counselors have blessed me with five more students than I have in my class.
·       a sweet cushioned office chair fresh off the truck before they send out an All Staff email to, “Come and get one.”
3.      Technology savvy students are to be showered with smiles. They have saved my sanity more times than I can count by:
·       fixing the connection between my computer and television so I can show that PowerPoint I spent a gazillion hours designing.
·       finding the Editorial pages that magically disappeared twenty minutes before the newspaper has to be sent to the printer to make deadline.
·       showing me how to add external links to my first-ever website.
4.      Finally, College professors’ theories are like the nursery rhyme girl with the curl in the middle of her forehead: When they are good (reality-based) they are very good, but when they are bad (ivy tower based) they are horrid.

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