Friday, May 05, 2006

It's Friday and I'm ready to swing

It's been a helluva long week. That's what happens when a teacher gets a day off -- the week increases exponentially. I've been working four days for the past three weeks and I feel like I've been at it for years! Man, work sucks!

Trondell comes to me yesterday for his session and says,
    "Mummy's gone away."
Now you must understand the significance of this statement, in regard to Trondell. Everyday, he gets three minutes to talk about whatever the hell he wants to talk about. Everyday, he wants to talk about marine animals. Some days, he'll be feeling a bit wild and want to venture out, so he'll talk about dinosaurs, but usually the topic of his monologue is marine animals. Yes, three minutes straight of him telling me every fact about marine life, sometimes repeating the same one again and again, and I can't get a word in edgeways. He's also obsessed with measuring them in some way. ("The blue whale is, like, 7 metres long." "I don't think it is Trondell." "Okay, 8.") If he talks about his parents, it is because I initiate the conversation. Just want to see if someone is still taking care of this meathead. But yesterday, he began to talk about Mummy.
    "Where did she go?" I say.
    "I don't know."
    "She's not at home?"
    "Did she go on a trip?"
    "No, I don't think so."
    "Did she go to the shops?"
    "I don't know."
    "And she's not at home?"
    "Did she go to the doctor's?"
    "Look Miss, I said, I don't know."
Well, that's me told.

As it is a random Friday, I head off to my on-going maths workshop. I finally got to videotape Trondell for this and I should find some way to put the sound on it. It's hilarious.
    Me: "Take your finger out of your nose. Now, focus. Focus. What comes before 7?"
    Trondell: "Uh, uh, uh, uh." Finger in the nose. Massaging cheeks. "Uh, uh. Uh. Eeeeeee." Pulling odd face. Sucking in cheeks. All this continues for, easily, two minutes. Turns quickly to me. "Uh, what did you say?"
We were learning about another step in this assessment. Our instructor tells us that we have to show a strip of four dots, then show a strip of 10 and have the pupil add it up. Instantly, hands come up. Can't do that, the other teachers moan. We add the tens first, then the ones. Yeh, but with this one, it's going to be the other way around, says the instructor. Shaking of heads, sucking of teeth.

This is the conclusion I have come to about education here: you have to be correct. We don't care how you came to the answer or what you think. In fact, what you think is stupid. But as long as you get the correct answer and shut up, we will tolerate you.

There is this technique that my colleague has introduced to me that perfectly illustrates this point (well, not the shutting up bit). So, as you know if you have read this blog for any length of time, the number cases of dyslexia in the greater Edinburgh area is like 75 times the world average. Actually, every dyslexic, save the two who emigrated to Australia, lives in the UK. So, with dyslexic kids, they rely on too much picture clues and the story content to read stories and, apparently, not enough on the words. My colleague suggested that kids read a page BACKWARDS, so that aren't using picture, syntax or meaning cues to figure out words. Right. But aren't we supposed to be getting the story? Like, understanding the motives the character, the plot, the moral, the theme of the story, the setting. So we are supposed to be trying to obtain the story content and meaning. So if a child uses those things to figure out an unknown word, then isn't that a good thing? Aren't they getting the point of reading then? No. If a child can say every word perfectly on the page, they are then reading. Well, that's me told, again.

It reminds me of rows I have with the Boy. I'm mad at him. Like, crazy mad. And I am ranting. Cos I'm mad. And crazy. And so I say something like, "Your snide little philosophy is really annoying!" And he'll say, "Philosophy?" Okay, it's not really making sense, but what I'm saying is that I have this meaning I'm trying to convey. And all the response I can get back is that my word choice isn't right. I say tell this shitty little example (not at all true, but still to the chagrin of the Boy) because I always thought it was a Boy quirk. But maybe it's not only him. It's them. And they're all around me.


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