Friday = lots of nerves. Third official day of teaching = first real day of teaching. I went to observe Jill that morning. She is super sweet and she had some great ideas for her class, and I stole one of them for my opening.
I think I will name my first class the Squirrels. They seem a little rowdy, rambunctious, slightly annoying, chatty: Squirrelly. And they were ready for a fight on Friday. First, they didn’t read. Well, about 5 of them read. The other ones “skimmed,” “read the first sentence of each paragraph,” “what? We were supposed to read THAT essay?” Yes…..! I gave the quiz and they fussed a lot! Apparently, when I say “effeminate” it sounds like “feminine” and that completely messed them up. Go figure. So they pitched at fit about the quiz and I started second guessing how “easy” I thought it was. I have yet to grade the quiz but I am not expecting great results. Sadly. I really thought that the quiz was easy. I think it was a little harder than I thought. My second class did better but they definitely had to think.
Back to the Squirrels—I was trying to encourage them with a quote (Bloom where you’re planted) by saying that “I know that there are no English majors in this class but—“ Before I could finished, one of my students blurted out, “Who would want to be an English major?” I got a little murmur from my other students (as they knew that I, obviously, was an English major). I pretended my feelings were hurt. Eh. I get that not everyone is an English person. This student apparently really had a bad day and decided to take it out on me. I was starting to lecture all of them about how they didn’t read for class (or read carefully) and I-hate-English-Guy (obviously feeling guilty about his homework ethic) says, “Well, do YOU read every page of every book that you are assigned?” That really caught me off guard. At the moment I said, “No, I don’t. But we aren’t talking about that. We are talking about this class!” But I wish I had said, “If it is in my power to do so, YES!” But like I said, I was caught off guard. I know that there havebeen times where I haven’t read but it is usually because I don’t have time or have too much else on my plate. I really didn’t expect a student to verbally attack me on my first day of real teaching. BUT I didn’t stay down! I put on my “mom” face and gave those kids a piece of my mind—about the importance of reading for this class and for every other class they will take at LU, and the importance of reading carefully for the rest of their professional life. They were all big eyed and quiet while I marched my little 5’ 2’’ frame around the room. I hope I got my point across. Mrs. Meng can be mean. Well, not mean, FIRM. I mean business like to have fun. But I want to be respected too.
My second class went really well. Much less un-eventful as far as disrespectful students go. Most of my kids read, the quiz went well (I think) and our discussion was good. I think I will call my second class the Rabbits. They seem easily excitable but they are pretty tame…I hope. It would be horrible if they turned into the opossums later. And the squirrels turned into the skunks.