Strange Threat

I was out yesterday for a conference and had the chance to meet my sub before I left. Despite the fact that he looked like he was twelve years old, I was willing to give him a chance. That chance went out the window when his first comment to me was, “I won’t have to actually help anyone with math, will I?”

Lovely. Where do they find these people?

I received a detailed report on two of my classes – from my trusty student aide. The sub? Nada. Zip. Zero. Zilch. I had no idea what happened in my other sections, so I made today a work/review day. My thinking was: they need more practice, I need to see what they know and be available to answer questions, and (being honest here) it is the last full day before Thanksgiving.

As I’m detailing the plan for the class to my 8th period seniors, I mention that if they don’t use this time wisely, we can always start the next topic. Here’s the response I received , “So, you’re threatening us with learning?”

Oops. Not quite the message I intended to send.

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4 Responses to Strange Threat

  1. ken says:

    Always seems that whatever message we intend to send, our audience tends to find another interpretation.

    If only we could program those darn little ears to process in a manner consistent with our intentions.

  2. speechteach says:

    But learning often seems something to be feared and avoided. So it is often a threat, that learning! Hopefully they get over that, but I definitely have college classes where learning seeems to be a painful experience for them. Something to be avoided at all cost. Sad, but true.

  3. jd2718 says:

    I am so lucky to be teaching my courses alongside a wonderful colleague. She was out the day before Thanksgiving. And she did leave sub work. But I covered one algebra, bit of practice, and then the game she chose for them, and then, since I was in the room, I got her geometry class started (the sub was all too happy to sit back). Now, I couldn’t do everything, but I made sure the right materials got to her other classes as well.

    And today? My first day out sick in ages. And she made up a good practice sheet for my geometry class, grouped them, and answered a few questions before turning things over to the sub. For combinatorics she prepared a puzzle… ok, so that’s not great, but she picked something that sort of fit.

    As I say, I am very lucky.

    FWIW, the kid was wrong. You threatened them with not teaching. His complaint hides a little compliment for you. 🙂

  4. Jackie says:

    Ken – I wish I could figure out a way to make sure my intended message was the one they received!

    SpeechTeach – I’m hoping that I can change some of their perceptions about learning. I’m not sure how successful I am at the moment, but I’m working on it!

    JD – you are very lucky! I’m not sure the student meant it as a compliment, but it’s an interesting way of looking at it!

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