It’s time to play first week Jeopardy! The category is ‘Mr. Lucker’s Speech class’ for $400.
“An old form of texting, it’s nonverbal and they are using symbols to communicate.”
“What are…’hieroglyphics and cave paintings’.”
“You are correct!”
If I were Alex Trebec that’s how it would’ve gone down. I had my speech students working in their pods (small groups) covering the different aspects of communications as noted in the first chapter of our text. Each group had a different segment of the chapter to report back to the full group with, and the four fine folks at pod six came up with the above; ‘an old form of texting.’
Though, alas, not in the form of a question.
As they had not presented verbally, I didn’t notice the explanation until I was posting the visuals each pod had produced.
This was certainly a step up, intellectually, from day one. When asked why they were taking speech class, one student’s response was delivered without irony or humorous inflection: “To speak gooderer.” On the other end of the spectrum was pod six, which came up with ‘Integrating the proper tone, grammar and vernacular to the given social or non social occasion’.
The year got off to a nominally screwed up start a week ago Friday, with two of our new, first year teachers having to sit out the first day because their paperwork had not cleared at the district office. They were both with us all week at professional development, got their rooms set up, were rarin’ to go…but were not allowed to do so, necessitating subs on the first day. Both had been hired in July, per an email we had received informing us and asking that they be welcomed, so not exactly a last-minute situation. Just a dumb situation.
At the end of the day, one of the two newbies, a young woman we’ll call Ms. Z, was in her room next door to mine setting up. As I was about to ask her what was going on, one of our old-line French teachers, Ms. B, walked up with the same question – as Ms. Z wasn’t supposed to be there. Seems Ms. Z had gotten a call from the district office just after lunch informing her that her paperwork had indeed cleared, she was officially and legally employed, and she could go in and set up to prepare for Monday.
Oh, they also told her that they had not yet had a chance to call her school, so her principal “might be a little surprised to see you.” Ya think? When I related this anecdote to the principal the following Monday morning, she confirmed the somewhat Byzantine chain-of-communication within the district offices.
As Ms. Z was relating the story of her welcome-to-teaching and district bureaucracy, Ms. B the French teacher (a twenty-plus year vet) just shook her head, and turned to walk away. “Mr. Lucker” she said with a sigh, “Sometimes I feel like I’m living in an Ionesco play!” I laughed heartily which caused her to comment over her shoulder, “I knew an English teacher would laugh at that.”
She was not being ironic.
This past Monday, day two, provided me with the honor of breaking up the first fight of the year. On the grounds, during lunch. I wasn’t even technically on lunch duty any more but was simply walking back to my classroom to eat when I was frantically summoned by another teacher – a petite young woman who solemnly stated “I don’t do fights” as I waded into the crowd to find two young women tussling on the ground, punches flying. I stepped between them, gently hip checked one to the side to separate them, then grabbed an arm of each, holding them at bay from one another. With the help of other staff members, we eventually got them to the discipline office. Both ended up with suspensions, one made be expelled. All for fighting over…
…a third young woman.
First time for everything.
Aside from that, it was a fairly uneventful week on my end of things. My wife and two sons also had their first weeks go fairly smoothly at their respective schools – no small feat with one son beginning his senior year, the other his freshman year. I did get some student-teacher feedback during one of our nightly ‘good thing/not so good thing’ dinner time check-ins.
In regaling my family with tales of getting to know my two classes of seniors, I related how I had already had to give both groups my sleeping-in-class speech. “You want to sleep in this class? Don’t. You want to sleep, get a room at the Days Inn. Does this look like a Days Inn to you guys? Do you see ugly drapes and stiff carpeting?”
This caused eldest son Will to comment ruefully, “Oh no…you’re one of those! The creepy teacher with the random stories that are supposed to have a meaning but just sound…weird and creepy.”
Annnnd, we’re off.