Monday, November 29, 2010

Home School

I am not a teacher. Some of my friends are, and others are in school to earn their certification and licensing to teach. The closest I have come to teaching was at the ballet studio I danced with in high school, where I taught three-year-olds how to skip and do plies, elementray school girls how to do more advanced movements, and suffered harrassment and heckling from my sister and her friends while leading their class. Until that time, teaching was high on the list as a possible career, but teaching dance classes effectively eradicated that notion. Forever. The idea of dealing with students gave me chills for years and resulted in the choice of business and marketing for a college degree.

While working as a writer in Worcester, my bosses instituted a new form of personal workplace torture when they assigned me the task of training new writers in our writing templates and protocol. I was convinced their confidence in me was completely misdirected, and relieved we had very low turnover and few new hires. There was never negative feedback, physical violence or psychological scarring resulting from my tutelage, (of which I am aware), so I guess it went okay.

Occasionally, my friends exhibit blatant signs of insanity and suggest I become a teacher. They'll casually say something outrageous like "You have a Master's degree, you should teach business or marketing." On the inside, my laughter is bubbling up as if some comedian is on stage, but all effort and energy is directed to maintaining composure and saying something benign and intelligent like "Oh, really? You think so? Huh. Hmmmm." This is followed by serious questions like "What are you, nuts?" "Have you suffered a recent head injury?" "When did you start doing stand-up comedy?"

My visit home continued into a school week, and my bold sister let the girls stay home from school on Monday so they could spend more time with me. While flattering, this development struck terror in the schoolgirl who still lives in me. The one who always yearned for perfect attendance, but was thwarted by recurring bouts of strep throat. The guilt over my niece's school skipping is equivalent to that one time in junior high when I skipped school with a classmate and we walked around West Fitchburg all day in the rain, dumb enough to think the swimming party at McTaggart's Pond was still happening. The rest of the party skipped school too, but they were all smart enough to stay in bed.

My aversion to teaching made my choice of activity with the nieces on the day officially marked "Hooky" on the family calendar more of a surprise. I decided we would play "Home School." There were no tears or protests over this plan, so it seemed acceptable. We started our day with Cooking /Life Skills class, where the oldest niece made pancakes with the youngest, and the middle niece and I set the table with plates garnished with Clementines, syrup and hot cocoa. The second half of Life Skills was cleaning up after breakfast, before we moved on to the next module -- writing (blogs). We spent an hour writing, the youngest (age 6) crafting her tale about her loose tooth, the middle (8) telling the story of our Thanksgiving dinner, the oldest (11) relating her version of our roller skating adventures. As for mine, well, y'all are looking at it.

There was a formal lesson plan for Home School Day, developed by the middle niece and me. After blog writing, it's Physical Education (crunches and pushups), Math (focusing on Christmas budgets!), lunch, and ice skating (more Physical Education). I have visions of being accosted by a truant officer when we arrive at the ice rink at 1:30 in the afternoon on a school day, but I am armed with a story -- this is Home Schooling! As long as they don't ask for a license or something official from the fine Commonwealth. Maybe I'll just carry the day's lesson plan (lettered in pencil on notebook paper) with me.

1 comment: