Take THAT You Stinkin’ Educator Exam!

Okay, If I understand correctly, I think I took the final test I need to become highly qualified. I just passed my NT301 for English. According to the Arizona Department of Education, that’s all I was missing for my Teaching Intern Certificate, and once I have that cert, it looks like I can apply for my High Qualified Teacher Attestation. So, a few bucks, forms, and weeks later, the whole state of Arizona will open up to me. Too cool!

That is a huge relief. I look forward to a full salary while I shape the future of my monsters–I mean, students! *cough*

Speaking of my students, here’s an amusing story I shared on Facebook the other day:

One of my juniors sometimes likes to push my buttons and see if he can make me angry. Well, he tried by turning up his country music as loud as he could while still using headphones and doo bee doo doo-ing to the lyrics in this high-pitched nasally tone, and sometimes tapping to the beat.

I was seated between him and the senior I was trying to help, and at first got annoyed. But then I got an idea and started cracking up. The senior sees me laughing and starts smiling, so I tell him, “I wonder if I should record him on my phone and show the video to his middle school brother…”

Doo bee doo weeee!

I calmly retrieve my cell phone from my desk and set it next to my laptop, and boy did the junior shut right up and assume an upright, look-at-me-I’m-doing-my-work posture. Bwahahahahaha!

I’m going to remember that moment to the day I die.

I’m seeing a marked improvement in handling unwanted behavior; however, I still have a ton of room for improvement. I’ll get there with practice.

I recently had a meeting with my boss and fellow teacher Wendy. Towards the end, I asked for some feedback on how I was handling things, what I was doing wrong, and what I could do to improve. I’m helming seven offline classes, so I put together detailed syllabi with due dates on every last piece of classwork and when tests are scheduled, leaving no room for surprises, and I elaborate on directions as needed (I still am not quite breaking things down enough here and there). I’d figured I’d made the workload as clear, spaced out, and as underwhelming as possible, even made the classroom organized so they could find the answers on the wall (yes, I gave them syllabi, but I knew those were doomed to the desk wormhole or the nearest garbage). And what happens? Complaints of “Why, Miss? Why do we have to do so much work? Do we really have to do all of it? Aw, man, whyyyyyy?”

Cue my reaction of mute confusion.

So, during that meeting my boss leans closer to me and says, “C’mere, I’m going to tell you a secret.” It must have looked like a movie scene. I leaned closer, anticipating this amazing nugget of wisdom. I mean, my boss has decades of wisdom under his belt and it shows with how the students behave towards him, so whatever he was about to tell me was worth its weight in gold.

“Okay, you listening?”

*nod*

“The secret is, teenagers are the masters of getting out of work.”

I stared in mute confusion. That was such a simple answer, such… so not the information I’d anticipated.

The more I thought about it, the more it made me smile. And as days passed, it turned out to be a profound piece of information. It may not seem like it, but it is. It helped tune me into what is really going on in my students’ heads. It helped me react faster to their moaning and groaning, and gain proper perspective of the student-teacher dynamic. Now, instead of getting annoyed with their griping, I just smile on the inside. It’s so funny how hard they try to get out of doing any work.

On Thursday, one of my students was happy to show me how much progress he’s made this semester, a huge turnaround from his multitude of cobwebs on his progress page last semester. I praised his great effort and grades, and pointed out that this is why I nag him to get work done: because I know he can do it.

“Yeah, but it’s annoying, Miss.”

“Well, aren’t you proud of what you done.”

He looks at me, then at his screen, and then at his desk and grunts a grudging, conciliatory, “Yes.” Yep, it sucks when the teacher’s right, huh?

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About Angela Macala-Guajardo

Author, teacher, soon-to-be full time writer for two companies. Also a lover life in the Arizona desert, puppy butt wiggles, and kitties purring away on my shoulder.
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