Friday, February 16, 2007

Find My Voice!

It's interesting that I dream a musical and then proceed to completely lose my voice...again...for the second time in three months. I went through my whole life having never lost my voice, until, of course, my profession depended on it...then it was out the window, or under the bed, or something.

Teaching class with a lost voice is not as "fun" and as much of a "learning experience" or a "challenge" as one might think. Teaching a well-behaved class with a lost voice might be the latter of the three, but far from fun. Teaching a poorly-behaved class with a lost voice is none of the above...or at least I don't see how a learning experience can come from wanting to throw yourself out a window.

And doing lunch duty by myself for the first 15 minutes with 130 screaming 2nd, 3rd, and 5th graders was not as much of a challenge as it was an inconvenience. Kids think the whole lost voice thing is hilarious. They laughed at me and asked me how it happened and why it happened and when will it end, completely ignoring the fact that I CAN'T ANSWER QUESTIONS WITH A LOST VOICE!

So I did what many teachers would do after realizing the impossibility of teaching in whispers, especially when whispering is so bad on your voice, I borrowed a TV/VCR and showed what I thought was a very educational movie about African-American influence in music. Fourth graders don't find that so interesting, especially when at the last minute both fourth grade teachers are called to a meeting, resulting in their classes combining and leaving me with 40 children instead of 20.

I am lucky it was the fourth grade, though, combined or not. The fourth grade is normally a mature enough to behave like middle schoolers but immature enough to still do whatever I tell them to do. And they tried so hard. All the girls wanted to help me take roll and keep track of points. All of the boys desperately tried to ignore each other and not talk. But that can only last so long and by the time their teacher came to get them, 10 minutes late, of course, they were in hysterics. Apparently everyone needed to go to the bathroom, everyone needed a drink, and no one's stomach felt very well.

I tell you this not to vent (though it helps) or to complain. Actually, it's a funny story. It's funny to imagine me trying to whisper loudly or utilize what little sign language I know. And it's funny that the kids, upon hearing my plight, wanted to understand more about it. They thought it was funny, and now so do I.

A quick story to close:

Tyler is an obnoxious third grader who is always getting into trouble and then looking innocent when fingers start pointing. Today he came up to me and asked if he could tell me something. I nodded. This is what he said:
"Once I had three Mexican girls who loved me. The first one broke my heart. Then the second one broke my heart. Then the third one just told me I'm ugly. Now I have no Mexican girls who love me."
I was unsure of what to whisper in a reply so I just patted him on the back and said, "Good job using those math skills."

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