Monday, September 28, 2009

still learning

Did you know that a female Komodo Dragon can have all male offspring without having ever had a mate?  CD and I were determined to do some research after learning this.  Sure enough, there is more to life than XY chromosomes. "Komodo dragons have the ZW chromosomal sex-determination system, as opposed to the mammalian XY system" and through Parthenogenesis they can reproduce on an uninhabited island and continue the species.  Thanks Wikipedia and PBS.

Today I went to Pook and Bug's elementary school and did not make copies, did not check books out to kids, did not organize the school pictures, and did not clean the fishtank (although it needs it).  I have been asking the administration for years if they had a need for someone to tutor.  I may be a SAHM, but I'm also an MEd, thankyouverymuch.  No, they didn't need anyone to tutor, but maybe I could check in the library; they always need help in there.  However, this year I was in the right place at the right time.  Our school is busting out the seams and needed to add two new kindergarten teachers, but were only allocated funds for one.  Some shifting had to be done, and what lost out was the at risk kids.  The teacher who had helped them was given a self contained class of kindergarteners, (also at risk).  The fifth grade classes are huge and the teachers now have the added responsibility of providing extra help to this struggling handful of kids.  Immediately after hearing this at the PTA board meeting, I approached the principal.  (Ooh, ooh, call on me!!)  She all but begged me if I could start immediately.

Now, mind you, I may have taught for ten years, but this isn't what I taught.  I had preschool special needs children in my classroom.  They were often unpotty-trained, non-verbal, or violent.  I know how to put on afo's, I can detect speech issues, I recognize poor pencil grips.  I never had a text book of any type to teach with, and I never saw any formal curriculum.  I made most of my materials and sat on the floor a lot.  My favorite learning activity was Playdoh Time.  For reinforcements, I offered tickles.

This morning four boys followed me to the library.  (I am not legally to be trusted without a certified teacher in the room.)  We found an out of the way table and started our lesson.   These boys had visible chips on their shoulders.  But, the opportunity to be with me was presented as a privilege and it was clear that they could lose the chance for future weeks.  They didn't read as poorly as I expected; one of them seems to be doing fine, although the teacher says his comprehension lacks.  We read and discussed a two paragraph story about learning in different environments: a tent, a mud and straw hut, at home in front of a computer and camera, and in a school.  They were given vocabulary words (challenge, misunderstand, examination....) and we used the pictures, the prefixes and suffixes and tried to figure out their meanings and put them in sentences.

One hour.  The other four days the teacher will probably give up her lunchtime to work extra with them.  She has several more who need help, who speak primary languages other than English, but they didn't have time to come work with me.  I will do what I can; I'm looking forward to getting to know them. 

1 comment:

  1. Good for you! I'm glad you were in the right place at the right time!