Monday, February 27, 2006

Locking doors

I really don't know what goes on today in public schools in America; I just know that teaching in Israel is nothing like my school memories.

I first started teaching here over twenty years ago, as a girls gym teacher in our local elementary school. It's not that I was ever good at sports, more enthusiastic than speedy or daring, but they were desperate. The job lasted thirteen years.

My first "confusion" concerned the fact that I showed up at the classroom before the bell rang, to be there on time of course. My students were never ready, and I'd get upset. It took quite a while until I noticed that none of the other teachers were at their classrooms "on time." Then I learned "lesson number one." Don't be first or you'll have to discipline and get angry at everyone else's students, and one needs all one's energy for one's own.

Lots of water under the bridge, or should I say: many report cards have been filled in since...

Now I'm a high school English Teacher for students for teenage boys who think that a nutty sadist invented the language of Shapkespeare.

"What's a 'liguit,' teacher?"
"A what? You mean a 'light.' You don't pronounce the 'gh' as 'gee' in the middle of a word."
"So why is it spelled that way? What a dumb language. Can't we leave it out?"

I'm still battling the tardiness of students. Now in some of my classes I do something new. I walk in, ok, after the bell, since I did learn lesson number one, then I take attendance, even if nobody else is in the room. There are advantages to that. I don't have to remember anyone's name. Then if nobody still hasn't walked in, I take out my crocheting. That's the sign for the boys that nobody will be marked as "present," only "late."

Frequently, not only are they late, but they walk in without books, because some of the other teachers lock the doors once they're ready to begin the lesson.

In other classes, which are homeroom classes, I began getting very annoyed by all the interruptions, when other kids would walk in "just getting something, teacher." I began locking the door, and sometimes my students are actually grateful. Nobody likes to be interrupted.

I find it a horrendous solution, but I can't think of anything even a fraction as effective.

1 comment:

Polski3 said...

Interesting. Is this common throughout Israel?