Tuesday, October 28, 2008

They Will Remember This

I don't know what exactly caused the problem.  Maybe it was the rain.  Maybe it was the fact that they've finally turned on the heat in my classroom and that we are being slowly cured in the dry air like big 'ol hams.  Maybe it's just our having to get up and go to work every day...

Whatever the reason, the kids in my classroom were witness to the most pathetic display of adult ineptitude ever to play out in a school setting.  Ever.  In the history of education.  And it wasn't just me.  My Less-Than-Cheerful Teaching Assistants were no better.

One of them wandered into my teaching space to ask me if "simpleton" was a character in a book.  I helpfully defined the word for her, but she was insistent regarding her belief that this was a name.  She even described the character:  You know...that rat from Charlotte's Web.  Simpleton...the rat.  You know?

I didn't even laugh when I told her that I thought the critter to whom she was referring might actually be named, "Templeton."  I couldn't afford to.

It had only been an hour since I'd accused a student of losing the rough draft of his short story that was due.  The same Teaching Assistant who couldn't remember the name of a character from one of the most beloved of childhood books was the same one who calmly thumbed through my folder of Very Important Stuff and easily located the missing draft.  This might not have been so bad had I not been handing out papers from that folder not thirty seconds before.

She was also the one who witnessed my insisting that it was time for Social Studies when it was not time for Social Studies.  It was time for something completely different.  Not Social Studies.  She kindly sat there and went along with me for ten minutes of Social Studies instruction and didn't snicker when I finally noticed that I was hopelessly off-schedule.

Then the poor children had to sit through a rousing debate between myself and the other Teaching Assistant regarding whether or not the appropriate word to use in a story was "ensure" or "insure."  Her argument was that "ensure" was not a real word, rather that it is the name of a drink for frail people.  And, while I knew that this was really not the case, I still can't be certain just which word we were supposed to be recommending that the student use.

I'll probably know tomorrow.  But today, that is just beyond me.  I still think I was right, though.

The children were not impressed.  Just before dismissal, one of them went around helpfully closing the windows for me.  As he put it:  I think this might be the safest thing to do for you.  This one doesn't have a screen on it..."

I left school shortly after 3:00.  I still had work left to do, but it seemed best to not try and do anything requiring higher order thinking skills until I'd had some rest.  In my present state, I reasoned, I'd probably end up giving some kid enough credits to graduate and get into medical school.  Since I teach 7th and 8th grade, that would probably be a bad idea.  Especially for anyone who might need surgery in the near future.

I came home, knit a bit and rode the little exercise bike for an hour.  Hopefully, I can get to bed early enough tonight to recharge a few brain cells.  Tomorrow is a long day for Sheepie.  A check of the Parent/Teacher Conference schedule revealed to me that I will actually be at school until at least 8:00 tomorrow night, not 7:00 as I'd previously thought.  With only two actual conferences on my plate (and both of those in the afternoon) I'm going to need to pull myself together.  I have a bad feeling that I will be utterly mad with boredom by the dinner hour and heaven only knows what trouble I'll get into.  I need to see if I can't get my thoughts in order.

I'll pack up the little "dishcloth" that I'm working on and maybe even remember to toss the pattern into the bag before I go.  That'll keep me occupied.  Maybe it will even inspire me to think rationally once or twice while the minutes drag by.

I should probably ask that kid to check the windows before he leaves, though.  You know...just in case.



Anonymous said...

"Insure" is used only when there is an actual insurance policy, the kind issued by State Farm and Progressive and Allstate, involved. "Ensure" is used everywhere else. I did not learn this until I was well into my 30s. Now I look smugly upon every misuse I see.

Do you have an iPod or something similar? Dr. Kat prescribes an audio book to go with the knitting during those long lonely hours waiting for your two appointments to appear.

trek said...

Bring back up knitting - like a vanilla sock or a Brown Bag (you know you wanna) - just in case the dishcloth knitting gets to be stressful...

Kath said...

I second the suggestion of back-up knitting! If no iPod, maybe a really good book?

And snacks! Those are important! (Ask AGK if you don't believe me.)

Knitting Linguist said...

Eek! Ensure is most definitely a word (you know that, I know, but I had to say it). Sigh... Good luck with tomorrow - knitting will help. Maybe knitting while reading a great big fun book? Or something? Either way, stay away from windows.

Mia said...

Well Sheepie, I don't know.. I really think something was in the air. At my place.. we called it snow. So let's just blame the weather..shall we?

hey, my word veritifcation is "kinters". Hmmmm so close to knitters it's scary hahahahehehehe

Karen said...

I hope you survive your super duper extra long day.
Thank the kid who closed the window. We like having you around to read.

Cursing Mama said...

Well - its far too late for my two cents, but I hope you managed to snag some kind of book from the library before conferences began. Since you're in a middle school now I bet you could even get something good there....although I'd stay away from Are You There God, Its Me Margaret....wouldn't want the librarian talking.

Jeanne said...

OK, I learned something today. From the dictionary, it says the definitions are:

ensure: make sure that something shall occur or be the case; make certain of obtaining or providing something.

insure: arrange for compensation in the event of damage to or loss of (property), or injury or the death of (someone) in exchange for regular advance payments to a company or government agency; provide insurance coverage with respect to; secure or protect someone against a possible contingency.

Therefore, I assure you, it's possible to ensure that you are insuring someone. Assurance of ensured insurance. :-D

My verification word is "melee". Heh.

Luna said...

There must be something in the air... I couldn't figure out for the longest time yesterday why some numbers weren't coming out right until I *finally* realized that I'd put in 646 instead of 464. Then this morning I just realized that for the last month I've been running a process that's supposed to have yesterday's date in it with dates all starting with 9 for September instead of 10 for October. So I've been getting bad data for a month. Yup, I'm just that good.