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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

When I Was But a Wee Student Teacher.

I had some fascinating experiences when I student-taught for a number of months towards the end of my college "education". One that can't be beat is the very first meeting with my second co-operating teacher. A co-operating teacher is the teacher who kindly offers to mentor and observe a student-teacher as he/she gradually takes over her class for a few months in exchange for $100 and the offer to do mindless photocopying and the like.

The first lady was a rather genial older lady who had been teaching for thirty years and joked about keeping wine coolers in the fridge in the classroom. Funnily enough, she wasn't really joking! Being the small world that is is, she happened to recognize the name of the co-operating teacher I was to go to next.

"Oh wow... Mrs. So and So. Heh! You're going to have an interesting time."
"What..? What does that mean? Is she terrible?"
"No, no, not at all... Heheheheh... Do call me and tell me how it goes, promise?"

Not a very encouraging exchange.

Days later, I began my next appointment with my second co-operating teacher, feeling a little nervous but excited at the prospect of teaching at her school. It's a school for creative and performing arts and I knew I'd be excited to hear strains of my favorite musicals down one hall and the barking of dramatic Shakespeareans lines down another.

Her assistant was an extremely sweet and smiley motherly woman with a trim figure and a stunning blaze of red hair. If she was able to work with this "interesting" woman and maintain her soccer-mom apple-pie demeanour, I'd be fine.

My confidence heightened, I walked into the classroom with a little more pep in my step and I smiled warmly at the older woman behind the desk who had a charming grey neat crop of hair cut into a sharp, almost childlike, bob.

"Hi! I'm Student-TeacherLady! Nice to meet you!" I stuck out my hand. My hand hung there. And hung there, in much of the way that bricks don't as Mr. Addams would put it. My main motive for leaving it there as long as I did was because at first I thought she hadn't seen it. I then noticed with some confusion that the co-operating teacher appeared to be pretending to rifle through the papers that choked her desk. Had I done something wrong? From the corner of my eye, I could tell Mrs. Red Head was feeling as awkward as I was as she pretended not to see.

It turns out the poor lady has Obsessive/Compulsive Disorder and doesn't allow anyone to touch her. I felt dreadful. What a way to start! Had someone simply told me (her ASSISTANT perhaps??) I would have easily avoided the whole situation. Thankfully, it didn't dictate the direction our relationship took. If I had a socially crippling disability or disorder, I would hope that I'd be able to have the strength and objectivity to mock it in front of others to let them know that, yes I'm aware of how stupid it may seem, but it's how I am and if they can find the therapy to fix it and are willing to pay the bills, more power to them.

In light of that, Gordon Ramsay should just give in and admit he has fucking Tourette Syndrome. Fuck. Poop. McDonalds.

1 comment:

ra said...

lol!! bet your students have a good time. wish most of my teachers were like this. lol

i remember when i was in the ninth grade, there was no one willing to take our class. the most disruptive, unruly mob ever. how we managed to finally pass our finals, i(to this day) do not understand.

ahhhh, those were the days when we wuz young!! funny how you mention OCD, today at work we were talking and came to the conclusion our boss has OCD. oh well, I guess most people in his position have to be this way.

I have to do my best not to give him a heart attack though. I've been told to stay out of his office, I'm kind of paranoid and when things don't go the way they're supposed to, is when I begin to panic. The people at work have a lot of fun at my expense with regard to this. Not my fault when he comes to my table and asks me for reports and figures and I can't lie, can I now?