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The Other Side

January 7, 2012

Attendance was atrocious at school yesterday.  Only about 15 of my 85 12th graders reached to campus: staggeringly low compared to the 50 I had the day before when someone (brilliantly) started a rumor I was giving a quiz.  I had planned for poor attendance, but wow.  I’d created worksheets and, for the first time, was giving them group work.  We do it all the time in 11th grade, but we struggle to even get through notes in 12th grade.  It was obviously a new idea for most of them.

I put them in groups of three and handed out the worksheets, a trig problem from the 2010 WAEC.  I was worried 30 minutes would be too much, but they ended up spending about two hours on it.  (When no other teacher came I taught three periods straight.)  I had a lot of fun circulating around the room trying to nudge them toward the answer.  Some of them saw a whole other side of me for the first time and I could tell they were surprised.  “Look!  She’s laughing!”  So often in their class I get to be a bitch and only a bitch.  “See? I wanted to say.  I keep telling you we could have fun if you’d stop disrupting!”

When they had all finished Prince got up and they started going through quizzing questions.  This always makes me smile so big.  I just sat in the corner and watched, interjecting only when there was disagreement about an answer or pronunciation.

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