Wednesday, September 7, 2011

That's the name of the lady who cleans our house.

I went through this phase a week or two ago where I was wondering if I had picked the right major. I mean, I'm a freshman, so it's not a big deal for now, but the teacher licensure program is long and full and I really need to know ASAP. I had been thinking about the icky parts of teaching that I had been learning about in my classes, and thinking about the majors I had been considering before. Stories of overworked, underpaid elementary school teachers were starting to make, I don't know, orthodontics look a lot more interesting.

I went to work yesterday and was filing papers mindlessly when my boss came over, and apparently out of the blue, asked me what grade I wanted to teach. I didn't even remember telling her my major, so I was a little surprised. I told her I was hoping for fifth or sixth grade. She smiled and told me she came from a family of teachers. Then she told me about her aunt Ella Mae, who, when she died, had crowds and crowds of people at her funeral.

"She influenced so many people," Liz said. "You help shape those kids."

So I'm back to knowing what major I want. Which is good, because I started my fieldwork today. And I loved it even more than I expected. I'm volunteering in a third grade classroom at a school downtown. They call me Miss Anderson. It's so adorable I want to cry. 

We were doing interviews to get to know each other today, since they just started school, and I was talking to a little girl whose name is not really Shirley (there are creeps out there).

Shirley: What's your first name?
Me: Maggie.
Shirley: That's the name of the lady who cleans our house.
Katie: So... your mom?
Shirley: No. 
Katie: Your... sister?
Shirley: No. I don't know. I've only seen her like once.
Katie: So not a member of your family?
Shirley: No. 
Katie: That's weird.

Which basically sums it up. We're supposed to only work in schools with an at least 45% nonwhite population, so it's a real potpourri of kids. One little girl was talking about how she was adopted from Nepal, and her adoptive family is sponsoring her biological family so they can go to school. They do a lot of class in Spanish, too. And I heard one white kid say to a little Latino boy, "You have a great accent."

So, I love it. And that's without getting paid at all. But those kids better come to my funeral.

"Last time I taught, I was like Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society-- by which I mean I got fired." --Pete

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