Just Plain Foolish

Just a chance for an old-fashioned, simple storyteller to say what needs to be said.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Harry Potter and the new teacher

I went to see Harry Potter earlier today, and only partly because I could end up with an upper elementary class for my school year assignment. And it's amazing the difference it makes seeing even a fantasy movie set in a school. I found myself laughing at things I wouldn't have before, noticing the management styles of the different teachers in the movie, and considering how I would have addressed the various rules infractions in the movie. My fellow student teacher who came to watch with me commented that she wants to grow up to be Professor McGonnagol (which I'm sure I've misspelled, but have no intention of looking up.)

And afterwards, I wandered around an office supply store, looking at colored markers, pop-up stickies, dry erase boards, and all the other wonderful toys that are frequently in short supply at our schools. It was shocking to go from an office where we literally had paper stacked from floor to ceiling to the school where we had to scrounge copier paper as best we could, and even snap cubes (a math manipulative that looks a little bit like legos) were a precious resource with not nearly enough to go around. My cooperating teacher told me I'd discover that copier paper is the currency of the teachers' lounge. And I made my flash card reading game at home on my own computer.

And even our dedicated family interpreters are going away. In schools where more than half of the students speak English as their second language, and many teachers (unfortunately including myself) do not speak Spanish or French (two of the more common languages in my neighborhood), never mind Arabic, Farsi, Portuguese, Amharic, or Hindi. I am hoping next summer to take some basic Spanish courses at one of the local embassies, but this is getting ridiculous. I can only hope and pray that the on-call interpretation service will be able to handle all the work for the district. If not, I suspect my old Latin studies will be useful as I try to compose short letters using my Cassell's dictionaries.


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