And then there was yesterday. A desperate call at 7:30 came from Canpage. "We need a teacher for Core French, morning, and French Immersion in the afternoon. How do you feel about that?"
Let me see how do I feel? If I turn it down, I don't teach today, there will be no bread on the table, and the wolf's big toe will be firmly wedged in the front doorway. So I guess, how I feel is .......trapped.
The morning had its ups and downs. First class was 6/7, the usual rudeness ("can I call you, Mr. Ho?", for example) but it was just worksheets and I demanded they be handed in at the end of the period. Same for the 5/6's in period two. One charming girl, at least 200 pounds plus (I know I should not discriminate, but this child knew the system and will no doubt abuse our welfare system to the end of her days), sat swilling cinnamon hearts the entire period, disrupting those around her, and refusing to do a lick of work. Then there was the grade 8, non French immersion group - nice kids, but not a Rhode's scholar among them AND the teacher forget to leave any work for this particular group. We spent 40 minutes discussing which high school they should attend next year.
The afternoon 7/8 French Immersion group was quite pleasant, but I have to worry about the efficacy of our French Immersion teaching program. The teacher had left a Geography handout - three pages from a French textbook. Obviously the teacher assumed he would have a French fluent replacement. Apparently he usually just reads the pages aloud, translates paragraph by paragraph, as he goes. Immediately we are beyond the realm of capability of Mr. H. Fortunately I had several willing readers, who each did a paragraph.
Now this is where my curiosity piques. I would ask them to translate into English what they had just read. None of them could do it, this from student with 8-10 years of intensive French instruction. I found I was actually able to understand far more of the words than they could. Fortunately I did have two boys in the class who were French, first language. However, neither was particularly good at following along. When I'd ask if we had missed any key ideas, they'd both be stuttering and stammering, trying to find what paragraph I was referring to.
The last half of the afternoon was simple French grammar, and they did seem to have a pretty fair grasp of this work. So did I do okay? Well I don't think I damaged anyone irreparably.