Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Can I Take the Test Now?

Oh, the stories I've had today!!

I was standing in the hall outside my classroom after school today, making sure no one killed anyone else again, when Alicia (pronounced "a-lee-see-uh", not "a-lee-shuh") stopped in front of me and aksed me, "Can I take the test right now?"

For the second time in as many days this child struck me into silence. Take the test now? Practically a whole day early? I have never heard such an odd request come from a student. Not when I was a student, not in all my time student teaching, not in the past two and a half years of teaching. Take the test now?

It technically puts her at a disadvantage - she has one less night to study compared to the rest of her classmates. She did a small bit of review with me before starting the test, but nothing nearly as extensive as the class will do tomorrow. But she was insistent that she wanted to do the test today and not wait.

I asked her what she would do tomorrow when the rest of her classmates were taking the test. She said she was going to catch up on her reading. I wish I could do that!!

Obviously, I couldn't find anything that would give her an advantage over her classmates taking it a day early, so she's now sitting in my classroom taking the test while I catch up on grading!

Um, Ms. Grivna?

I definitely meant to write about this one yesterday, but didn't have time.

Yesterday was the first day of second semester. We started on a B Day (the second day in our two-day cycle of classes). My second class of the day is my favorite Trans (pre-algebra) class I have. It was a good day to start the semester on.

I dismissed my Trans kids once I had passed back the quizzes they had taken that day. I followed them out, getting ready to stand in the halls and make sure that no one killed each other during passing time. One of the last students to leave started giggling and pushed her classmate back into my room. This confused me until the student who was pushed into the room started with, "Um, Ms. Grivna??"

Now, I hate putting names in these things, because really, how do I know who in the world is reading these things? But to get the full effect of this story, her name (first only!) is going to be used.

After asking her what was up, she said that her name is "Alicia" (a-lee-see-uh), not "Alicia" (a-lee-shuh).

Now, I have had this kid since the second day of school. She is one of the sweetest, kindest, cutest kids ever. And I have been pronouncing her name incorrectly since I met her. I felt like an absolute fool!!

I asked her why she hadn't told me before now that I've been saying her name wrong this whole entire time (over half the year at that point). She said that she didn't want me to think she was disrespectful of me by telling me I was wrong! What a stinkin' cutie.

I told her that I felt absolutely awful (and I still do!!!) and that she should never feel disrespectful for correcting anyone on the pronounciation of her own name!

Tomorrow will be the first time I see her knowing how to say her name correctly. I know I won't forget, but it will definitely sound funny the first few times I say it correctly in class!

Can I Work Out in the Hallway?

A question posed to me by one of my students who had finished his test. Most of his classmates were still working through their tests.

I told him, "You can work in here."

"But I like to work in the hallway when it's nice and quiet out there."

"It's quiet in here."


Then, "Oh. Yeah."

Heh. What a concept! Granted, I have no doubt that this student would get his work done out in the hallway, but I don't feel like having anyone out in the hallways today. It's a new semester. I think I'm going to try changing some of the boundaries for this class now.

To function well, these kids actually needed a good deal of freedom of choice on where to do their homework during work time, where to sit during the lesson, etc. Of course, this would not be tolerated in most classes and I need to start getting them ready to be successful students in eighth grade, where the math teachers are quite a bit more strict than I am.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Travel Tales

I went to Arizona for a week over winter break (which I still have a few days of now that I'm home, thank goodness!). We got back around 9:30 p.m. last night. Dad went to get the car, which we had left in his company's parking lot for the week. The company's only a few blocks away from Mall of America and the parking's free that way. All Dad had to pay for was the light rail ticket to the airport, then one to MOA.

Mom, my sisters, and I got down to the carousel in baggage claim where our luggage would be coming. I staked out a spot to get our bags and my sister joined me a few minutes later. I was people watching while waiting for the carousel to start moving. There was this guy standing a couple people away who looked extremely familiar. I leaned over to my sister and told her that he looked a lot like our school's head night custodian. Not two minutes later did the guy walk over and ask me, "You work at Valley View, don't you?"

Here, he was visiting his parents in Mesa for ten days. Whoa. We were in Mesa, too! Visiting my uncle, aunt, and cousins for eight days.

We visited while looking for our bags to come. All his bags came before any of ours. He said he'd see me Monday and went on his way.

Fast forward to waiting for Dad to come pick us up.

Mom called Dad to find out where he was and he had just gotten off the train at MOA, so he had a good fifteen minute walk (in the freezing cold!), then had to drive to the airport to get us. I found some empty chairs and sat down. I pulled out my puzzle book and started flipping through it to choose a puzzle to do.

A guy walks past us, then stops in front of me. "Do I know you from somewhere? Because you look really familiar for some reason." Okay. That's never happened to me before. I said that I wasn't sure, I've been to a lot of places and done many things.

He started listing off places where he might have known me from. He started out with colleges. The first word out of his mouth was the college I went to. Weird. I said that I had gone there and he told me what dorm he lived in freshman year. Same one as me. Even odder. I asked him what years he had gone to school there. '01 to '02. I was '01 to '05. He lived on second floor, me on first freshman year.

As we visited a little, I started to remember him. Not much, but vaguely. He works in the film industry now. Crazy. We caught up a bit. Turns out one of his freshman year roommates (whom I actually do remember) got married this past summer.

I think we talked for a good five, ten minutes. After he left, Mom and my sisters just laughed. Mom asked me if I really did remember him. Yes, but quite vaguely. Mara told me that I wasn't allowed to see any other people I knew. Right. Dad came a few minutes later, so that wasn't a difficult task for me to accomplish.