Friday, May 21, 2010

My First Absence

This week, I took my first day off since I started teaching in September. The perfect attendance streak is done. It's weird but that doesn't bother me so much anymore. Perhaps this is a sign of growth? Weird, but not unexpected.

Generally, if a teacher is absent at my school, a substitute teacher gets called in to cover for the day. Sometimes substitute teachers are unavailable which means the full-time teachers have to give up their planning period and that period. It doesn't really matter who is covering for the day, because our kids generally get nothing done on days their primary teacher is absent. In fact, in my experience, students come knocking on my door during random periods:
"Yo Mista, Ms. So-and-So ain't here and that sub is mad whack. Can I come in and chill?"
This happens quite often. Sometimes, they don't even knock - they just cut the class and use it as an excuse to go home. I can't figure out if our kids are just extremely loyal to their teachers or they're just looking to get out of the classroom because the "sub" has no control. There is an atmosphere of "You can't tell me what to do, you ain't my teacher" every single time you walk into a classroom with a substitute.

So when I took the day off, I expected my students would accomplish very little that day. I e-mailed the school secretary some review worksheets which would only benefit the kids if they tried doing them. When I came back the next day, I saw a huge stack of semi-completed-to-fully-completed worksheets, separated by period. What I heard was even better:
"Mista, I did mad work for you when you was gone. Do I get extra credit?"
Sure, why the fuck not? Okay, so they did some work, awesome. That's not the best part. The best part was this one:
"Yoooo we missed you yesterday. It was mad boring. I wanted to learn more about this probability shit we be doin' - I be gettin' that."
I want to end this week on a good note.


Mr. and Miss When you are really a teacher, you don't have a last name. said...

That makes complete sense to me. They love you, and when you're gone, they are going to miss you. That means, you are a success.


NB said...

Dude, what a great post. Am really happy to hear that your students are getting into the subject. Congrats!

So how do you give the extra credit? Is it just goodwill points, or actual marks?