Activities, Interests, Lifestyle, Teacher Problems

Dem Boys

Happy Wednesday erbody! I’m sorry I left you in the lurch over the past week. It would be an excuse to say I’ve been too busy because I do believe that you make time for that which you love and hold in high esteem and you are both of those things to me!

You may know this already, but I started a new job this year. While it has been a huge adjustment, I have decided to take every new challenge in this new environment as it comes and not to allow myself to get overwhelmed. But It has been difficult to put into words what I have been experiencing; I will do my best today, though.

As of 2020, I am an English teacher at a boys’ school. Yes, the only girls I see during work hours are my female colleagues. I can’t tell you what I was expecting this would be like, but here are 3 differences I have found so far:

Boys will be boys

I’ve heard it said before that boys never grow up; their toys just get more expensive, but these words have never rung truer than they do for me right now. Whether a boy is in 8th grade or 12th grade, he is the same: a goofy, giggly, talkative bundle of energy that you must force to bounce on a yoga ball so that he can stay focused during class! Everything is funny in an all-boys classroom! There is no restraint because of girls they’re trying to impress ( No, I don’t count as a girl they’re trying to impress!). The all-boys classroom is rowdy and if you don’t have them busy writing and giving you feedback from the word go, then you will end up frustrated at the seemingly chaotic environment. I’m still figuring it out but so far, it has helped to start the lesson off by having them take down notes. The minute the chattering starts, I skip to the next slide. It seems that I need to metaphorically grab them by the face and point them to that lesson’s outcome.

What work ethic?

My friend, who is also a teacher at a boys’ school warned me of this one. If dem boys had things their way, every single period would be a free period! The grade 9s ask me every day! I’ve learned to laugh it off while they shrug as though to say, “well, I tried”. If dem boys can push a deadline for an assignment, they will- on the day it is assigned! There is no eagerness to work and no panic about covering the work in the future. Dem boys live in the moment and in the moment, chilling is the order of the day!

Get over it

This is my favourite difference about teaching in an all-boys school. They don’t take you or your reprimands personally. Sure, dem boys push boundaries. They may suggest that you are being unfair, but most of the time, their intension is to get out of working or trouble with you. If you call their bluff, they smile sheepishly and let it go because they know that they were merely taking a chance. I’ve lost it once or twice with them, but they have been quick to apologise. Dem boys don’t hold grudges. I don’t get side-eyed two days later and I don’t worry as much about being liked because, ultimately, whether they like me or not, they keep things moving. I like that.

I don’t understand everything about working with dem boys yet. It’s going to take me this whole year to at least settle in, but this is what I wanted: a new challenge, new ways to hone my craft, to test and validate my ability and I’m in for a quite an adventure!

Activities, Interests, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Teacher Problems

A few months ago, Afrobloggers wrote a review about my blog. I’m so grateful for their insight into how I could improve my blog and although I I did my best to fix some of the glitches on my site based on their input, there is one thing I’ve been meaning to explain: what’s with the Teacher Problems category?! You like teaching don’t you?

There was a time in social media when the hashtag *insert” problem was a thing. It was meant to be ironic because one did not actually hate the said *insert* but was really expressing an appreciation of that *insert*

Wait, did I make any sense?! My point is, I love teaching and although I do experience some very real problems in the industry, my Teacher Problems category is only for the good stuff, I promise!

Today I have one such good stuff! A member of my favourite band once said in my question about rearranging their own song, ” well, we need to keep the music interesting for ourselves as well, so sometimes we change things up” I quoted that but it was really a paraphrase!

I feel the same way about teaching! I make things interesting in my class, not only to engage my students but also so I don’t die of boredom.

So last term I had them start their own blogs for a transactional writing assessment and the snowball effect was to have them do a podcast for the oral aspect of this term’s marks.

I love the way children take what you think is a small idea and they produce something bigger and better than you can imagine! I mean, I was already impressed with the blog ideas they came up with but they blew my mind with their follow up podcasts! I spent yesterday assessing the audio clips they sent me and it was so amazing to hear how confident many of them were, especially on the subject matter they had chosen!

If you’re an English teacher you should really try this out. Instead of having them do their oral in front of the whole class, why not have them send you an audio clip of the oral assessment? Not only do they have the opportunity to re-record until they are happy with the work they produce but you also get to listen and enjoy without their classmates’ snickering in the background making them more nervous!

Well, that was my weekend in a nutshell: full of work. But I love my work so it was actually fantastic🙂 thank you so much for popping in! It’s always a pleasure to have you here!

Ramblings, Teacher Problems

Identity

My learners are working on their own identity posters. Some of them found it difficult so I decided to give it a try to help them to see how it is done. Here is my attempt:

I have been playing the guitar since I  was a teenager. It makes me feel confident knowing that I can play my favourite songs. People think it is unusual that a black lady teaches English – it’s not my mother tongue! I have been told that I have a big heart – too big a heart. I treat people very well, but they don’t always do the same for me. Sometimes it’s hard to be me, but what would the world be without me?

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I will make copies of my first draft just so they understand that writing is not always perfect; it is a work in progress… wish me luck!

Teacher Problems

Teacher problems

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It’s that time of the year. While most people wish to extend their holidays, I look forward to heading back to work. This is the place where we can make a difference in the world. The workplace is the reason why we need a break and actually appreciate that break the most.

I tend to draw a blank when I look at a term plan. It is important, especially when teaching English, to stay current and so our ears stay on the ground for anything that will help us to teach the good old things better.

A nifty trick that has helped me this time around is looking up the themes of a set work being taught in a term and then using those themes to find apppropriate poetry and visual literacy material.

In a nutshell; Google remains king! I hope you all had a good first week back at work after the holidays and to the teachers; go out there and be better! Happy weekend!

Uncategorized

Red Abyss Ramblings

The powers that be thought that the exam season was so “great” it had to come twice a year! I’ve written a number of blogs about how to escape this time of year in more or less one piece. Check  out an example here

I’m about halfway through these exams and although I’m  not dying, it’s still not the best time. Lesson learned this time around is that people who don’t teach don’t understand what it is that we do… now I don’t presume to know what people do in their 9 to 5s and I appreciate the same courtesy from others. That pile of papers does not feel better to get through because I’m doing it from home. I’m still stuck until I complete all that marking and I will feel guilty the entire time I’m out because in those 3 hours, I would’ve completed 10, 20, 30 scripts then I could’ve started on the next paper which would have put me a little bit ahead of the next paper being written at the end of the week. Oh crap, I’m gonna get myself fired! What am I doing here?! How dare I eat food with people I care about! I should be working!…. that’s pretty much my thought pattern all the time!

What has helped this time around is music! I’ve found I have a bit of a knack with wordplay. I am after all sapiosexual (that blog will come!) I’ve got two tracks I’ve already altered! Check it!

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The meme is pretty funny though, right?! Here’s my rendition:

“All I do is win win win no matter what! Got marking on my mind I can never get enough! And everytime I step up in the staffroom. Everybody’s hands go up!”

Hehe! I felt like a bit of a hero after a long marking stint! You’re welcome!

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This came to me this morning! My version:

“I’ve got the eye of a teacher the red pen. Dancing through the papers coz I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me tiiiick! ”

I put a dent in a lot of marking after that. Then I came home to a very friendly neighbour and my entire afternoon plan got shot to hell! And I realised I need to:

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I watched it during my evening marking stint, lol helped lift the spirit just a little bit. I realised this afternoon that sometimes human contact is better than how much work we accomplish. Mr Elephant said after the last time “there will always be work”  it’s ok to let down your hair from time to time. I will definately not have “marked scripts like a boss” written on my tombstone so I gotta let lose from time to time

So there you have it. I’m not done with these exams, but I’m trudging on and I will get to the other side. I always do…