Thursday, June 02, 2005

We spent Memorial Day weekend at Twin Trees in North River, fighting off blackflies and convincing the pipes not to leak. Since we were all sharing one unheated bedroom, we were lucky that C managed to sleep through most of A's cries both nights and only woke up to complain of being cold. (I got into bed with him to warm him up, which wasn’t so bad because I was cold, too. Dan and A got the electric blanket. I theorize that whatever evil force fields they emit are weak enough so they’re safe to use a few times a year.) Poor Dan was up much of both nights with A though, trying to let me get sleep, and since he didn’t want to wake anyone up in the main cabin either his choices were pretty limited. We did determine that dairy products definitely do make her sleep even worse, so I’m back to almonds and beans again.

Last week, I had an interview at Bethlehem Children’s School, a small private school a couple miles away, for a part-time middle school math and science teaching position. They asked me to come back to teach a class. They said not to worry about what the kids are working on; make it an enrichment activity.

So this afternoon I go in, wait for the kids in the classroom, wait for the three people who want to observe me, and try to get started. The board is completely covered, and it has a big note on it that says "DO NOT ERASE." Now, I’m versatile, but I knew I’d be more effective if I could write on the board, so I asked if there was anything else I could use. An observer disappears and comes back to say, "Let’s move to my room instead." (I would have preferred doing without, but what could I say?) So we all file into the kindergarten room, where the kids are thrilled to have a big carpet to sit on instead of desks. I start the lesson (discussing animal population fluctuations) and we all go outside for a Project Wild game that went pretty well and got the point across. (One kid said, "This is the best game I’ve ever played," which was affirming but made me wonder if she got out much.)

When we go back in, half the kids need to go back to their own room to get their water bottles so we have a super-long transition; I write the data that we’re going to graph on the board and hand out graph paper while I wait. This was supposed to be a joint math/science lesson, and I planned to talk about the differences between dependent and independent variables and how independent variables go on the x-axis when you graph as the "math" portion. It turned out that this was decidedly not a good idea, because these kids had never drawn a line graph before or used the terms x and y axes. It took me a while to catch on to this, and it was pretty awkward. Meanwhile, one of the kids- the daughter of one of the administrators- is lying on the floor doing nothing. I ignore her. (I don’t even know the kid’s name, and was at a loss as to how to handle it.)

At any rate, I left thinking it was kind of a disaster. I mean, maybe they realized how awkward it is to work with a group of kids you don’t know who don’t even know what you’re doing there (the week before school’s out, no less); how difficult it is to know what level to aim a lesson at when you’re coming in from nowhere (and I must say that I had drawn a line graph by the end of sixth grade); or how ungraceful a class with so many transitions can become. But all three screw-ups? That takes a lot of overlooking.

But, they’ve e-mailed me asking me back yet again. They have evaded my question about salary/ benefits/ tuition remission for C thusfar, so I’m afraid that after going through all these interviews they’re going to offer me so little money that it won’t be worth it. (Honestly, I’d rather not work so many hours when A's still so little, but part-time jobs are so hard to come by around here that I feel like I need to consider it for our long-term future.) So we’ll see what happens NEXT week….

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