Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I'm Done My LTO

I'm done my LTO!  An LTO is a Long Term Occasional teaching position.  On February 21st I started teaching a grade 7 class for a teacher who was off having surgery.  When I was hired, it was to be three to five weeks duration.  Nine weeks later, my tenure finally came to an end.  Actually the classroom teacher is not back for another week, but the board caught wind that I was not intermediate qualified (grade 7/8) and board procedures demanded that I be removed and a intermediate qualified teacher brought in to replace me.  In the end, she will teach a total of five days, before the return of the teacher, quite a kafuffle, just for the sake of protocol.  The teaching profession in not necessarily about what is best for students.

I'm not bitter....much!  Actually I am just as relieved to be finished with the class, but I know they will learn nothing for the this week, as they took me a couple weeks to get settled into a routine, and the teacher who replaced me is more easy-going than me.

So did I enjoy my stay?   I'm not sure enjoy would be the word.  There were days I felt I endured it, and then there were some days, that I actually felt somewhat successful.

I had my five corners, as I described it.  These were five lads with varying behavioural issues who had to be separated as far apart as possible and constantly monitored.  In addition to these I had three with major learning disabilities: one non-reader and the other two basically non-writers.  I scribed a lot of material, over nine weeks.

One of my corners only attended sporadically -- thank goodness.  When he did arrive, he was completely uncooperative and usually spent most of the day at the office, where he was just as disruptive.  I figure he'll excel as an inmate.  I lovingly referred to my entry into class each morning as my swearing-in ceremony, because aforementioned delinquent usually greeted me enthusiastically in navy-blue language.  Can you tell I dearly loved him?

One of my other corners had a tongue attached in the middle that flapped at both ends....incessantly.  It did not matter the situation, silent reading, classmates' presentation, he could always be counted upon for a continuous stream of verbage - completely and utterly starving for attention.

But at the risk of sounding too negative, there were several students I grew quite fond of over the nine weeks.  The twins and G. were always bright and entertaining.  A. always asked for a hug (no I did not reciprocate) and on the final day, asked for a handshake, vowing to never again to wash his hand.  The few ladies in the group were at least somewhat enthusiastic and did a mass ambush after final dismissal, engulfing me in a group hug.

Grade sevens are an interesting lot.  My analogy is that the boys' brains fall out (be careful not to step on them as you may pick them up again by grade 10 or so) and the girls get catty.  The boys become so asinine.  They react without thought, always seeking the maximum reaction and approval from their peers, at all costs.  The interesting thing is that anything derogatory is 'gay', and yet groping, pawing and cuddling between the boys, seemed to be their most common behaviour - honestly they were the huggingest, touchy-feely bunch with each other.

I often felt all I did was yell, reprimand and generally micromanage classroom behaviour.  I wasn't sure I was much appreciated, but on my last day, a parent brought in a tray of cupcakes and then I was handed the card.  One of the girls had taken it upon herself to purchase a lovely Thank You card and had all the class sign it with little messages... some of them very meaningful.

It will be nice to just go back to regular supply work for a while.  I will enjoy exiting the class at 3:30, not having to stay and mark or plan the next day's lesson.  Having said that, though, I will miss the freedom to be creative, and have on-going, long term projects.

And that is about all I have to say for today.

Musings and meanderings from the Musical Gardener.

1 comment:

  1. Teachers earn every penny. From my friend who is a retired teacher and now substitutes, the kids have changed a great deal in 5 years and not for the better.

    I went to Catholic school and always had a nun as a teacher. We were taught by the process of humiliation, but few acted up (as we were too scared)and respect was demanded. No problem, we were taught that at home. We had about 50 in a class and somehow we learned. Those on the bottom were held back and were not given any extra help and that was a shame. Later on I realized how abused some children were(even beyond the daily humiliation thrown at us all)and I would not even consider such an education for my children. My kids did well in the public system because like my mother, I taught them to respect other people. That seems to be missing today.

    Good for you for taking it on. Everybody tells me that the 7th grade is the hardest.


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