Thursday, September 29, 2011

I Sound Like a Grown-up

School is going really well, much better than I would have expected a few weeks ago. I had my first observation a week ago and both the principal and vice principal were in the room taking copious notes. That usually would have made me extremely nervous, but I’ve been observed and critiqued by the subs for so long that being observed has become second nature. The other Spanish teachers had warned me that they always have to tell you something to work on and that I shouldn’t get down on myself because of their suggestions. I met with the vice principal on Tuesday to debrief and talk about the evaluation and he was overwhelmingly positive and the things he told me to work on were pretty small things. I was relieved. He even hinted that they will likely offer me the job for next year as well. No decisions can be made for some time, though. I felt pretty good about that. Mostly because four weeks ago they picked someone else for the job.

Today I had to stop by the district offices and I ran into the district’s sub coordinator who I’d never met before. She came right up to me and introduced herself. She told me that since I had had no time to prepare for the year she sent me the three best subs that the district has. She had asked them all how I was doing and they had told her that I was doing phenomenal things, that I had a good report with the kids and that they were really impressed with me. She ended by saying, “They all think you’re doing a great job and had nothing but great things to say.” Not only did this warm my heart, but I also got the sweet feeling of revenge. You see, I was a little disappointed and even a little more vengeful when the district didn’t hire me the first time. I know I shouldn’t feel this way, but when someone makes a decision that hurts me my reaction is usually to make them want to regret that decision. I feel like the best way to make them regret not hiring me is to do an awesome job just to show them what they could have missed. So take that, school district, I’m doing a great job!

I moved into my new home on Monday and it’s great. Morning Kris and her husband spend their winters in Arizona so I’m going to housesit for them with their nephew Jesse. I’d never met Jesse before and I was a little worried about living with a stranger. Especially someone that Kris had described as “froo froo.” Before I even met Jesse I walked into the bathroom that we’d be sharing and saw his retainers soaking in a denture cleaning solution. I know this sounds weird, but I clean my retainers the same way and knowing that we have that one thing in common put me slightly at ease. Jesse is really easy going, tall and thin and we get along great so far. A grown man that still wears his retainers can’t be that bad. His teeth are straight and so is he. On Tuesday I told one of my classes that I was moving into town from Everett and they were all unusually happy for me. One girl in particular, who I will call Lola, was worried that I’d never met Jesse before. Trying to be funny she wrote a letter for me to give to Jesse. This is what it said:
Dear Jessie,
Please be kind to Señor Schilaty. I like him and if you hurt his feelings he will get sad. Also, do not murder him, that would be kinda bad. Finally, don’t take his clothes, he is very stylish! Thank you! Please write back.

The next day she asked me if Jesse had written back and I said, “I’m not a mailman and I’m not going to help a 13 year old communicate with a grown man.”

Later that day we were reading a story in class about a boy and his girlfriend. During the story Lola did what all middle school students love to do: exclaim that their class last year was different from the current class. Every day I hear things like, “Señor Schilaty, we didn’t do this last year. Why are we doing it now?” “Señor Schilaty, we had class outside last year. Why don’t we have class outside?” “Señor Schilaty, our other teacher didn’t teach us this. Why are you?” Lola exclaimed, “Why do we always talk about boyfriends and girlfriends in this class? We didn’t do that last year.” She was right though, we do talk about novios a lot. I think it’s probably a lingering habit from teaching at BYU. I looked straight at Lola and in the most serious voice I could muster while making a joke I said, “Lola, as you get older you’re going to start seeing boys in a way that you haven’t before.” At this point another kid yelled out, “You sound just like my dad,” which was exactly the point. The class burst into laughter and I pulled a Jimmy Fallon and laughed a lot more than I should have in front of a large group.

Later that day another student was complaining about the group he’d been assigned to work with. He wasn’t being serious and was just trying to be funny. I feel very strongly that a silly comment deserves a silly response. So I said, “What?! You don’t like your group? But you have the best group! Look at Pedro, he is such a good student. And Victoria is so helpful and kind. And you’ve got Nadia who’s so small and adorable.” Nadia is a 7th grader, but she really is tiny. She looks like and reminds me of the young version of the old lady from Up. Once she realized what I had said she said, “Hey! That’s harassment.” Then she paused and said in a very matter of fact way, “No, it’s true, I am very small… and adorable,” and she flashed everyone a big, adorable smile.

Teaching isn’t perfect and I’m working more than 10 hours a day on a part-time job, but I’m enjoying it.


Joleen said...

So morning Kris is gone now? And you moved away from home?!? Oh my word. I DO need to call you back.

Ben said...

Yes, you sure do need to call me. Morning Kris and her husband won't be leaving for two weeks, but they're really cool so it's not a problem.

Aaron said...

I'm not sure what a grown-up sounds like Ben, but I don't think that grown-ups speak Spanish - I could be wrong though. Also I think its rapport as opposed to report - but I could be wrong on that as well. Come to realize it, I could be wrong about everything I say - just a heads up. I also find it hard to believe that you are growing 'up' as you were plenty tall enough last time I saw you. As you grow taller do you sound more distant (presumably you would be speaking from a higher elevation) or do your stretched out vocal chords distort your voice? It seems like giants always speak in very deep voices, but I digress.

Ben said...

Aaron, I think you're totally right about "report" vs. "rapport." I must have been thinking about the Colbert Report. And while I don't sound more distant as I grow up, my vocal chords are quite long.