Friday, January 14, 2011

Student Teching in the Suburbs

I met my cooperating teacher yesterday. We were set to meet at 2pm. He was 15 minutes late. I think I have voiced my opinion on lateness before. Coming from the business world where it is not tolerated, I find it not only annoying but rude. As I move into life as an academic I find it's the norm for most teachers, professors and administrators.

The teacher (Rob) walks in the classroom (with a Starbucks cup), looks at me in horror and begins to apologize. I accept his apology (because I love Starbucks) and we begin our meeting. He's a laid back nerdy kind of guy. He admits freely that he lets his students get away with more than he should. He also confesses that he really likes them and finds them both entertaining and challenging. He's been teaching at this particular high school for 5 years. Prior to this job he taught English at a Catholic school for 3 years. He is married and has 2 children (a boy and a girl). I also learn is wife used to live in my hometown and they currently live not far from where I grew up. He gives me the details on the problem kids he has: 2 boys with temper/attention issues and a group of four girls with typical teen attitude problems. It doesn't sound too bad, but I will have to judge for myself. As we were talking he was writing notes on which classes the kids are in and what each class is working on.

Halfway through our meeting he says he has books for me. We take a sort walk to the "book room." This is where is understand the difference between a district with good funding and a district with no budget. The "book room" is about 10x30 and is stocked floor to ceiling with literature. Mostly new books, some classics and some contemporary. Walking into this room is like having a religious experience. Well, at least for an English teacher. I get copies of The Crucible, 1984 and Daisy Miller by Henry James (which I have never read). We walk back to the classroom and he gives me an AP English book and answer key.

We conclude our meeting as he must get to a tuition appointment. He offers to walk me out to the parking lot. It is dismissal and there are students everywhere. He put on his coat and scarf. His scarf is a replica of the same scarf that Harry Potter wears at Hogwarts. I thank him again and we make plans to meet again next week.

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