Tuesday, September 15, 2009

My teaching career downfall is because of a purse

At least it was a good purse.

GE is the first school where I've experienced "after-school" yard duty. WB had it too, in a way, but different because I was in lower primary and also because students were not allowed direct street access from the playground.

But the campus at GE is situated such that the upper primary classrooms have easier street access through the playground. And as with most 21st century campuses, the ten minutes before and after the final bell is like a car show. Worse than when Cal Trans decides to work on the Bay Bridge during the rush hours.

Thus, two teachers must monitor that route, making sure students walk (some will run) and wheel their bikes out (some will ride and cause a safety hazard) as well as preventing any pedestrian/auto accidents. Didn't think traffic police was on the list of duties for a teacher? Think again. Because there is absolutely NO duty off limits to a teacher. Vomit patrol? Check. Nurse? Check. Interior designer on a shoestring budget? No doubt. Inserting yourself between fighting students like a human punching bag to make them stop? You got it.

So on the first day of school, we leave the classroom a minute before the bell to open the playground gates. Except that my CT had to leave school right after yard duty was over. Which meant he locked the classroom when we left for yard duty. Which meant I had my bag with me during yard duty.

Which meant the principal saw me, bag over my shoulder, during first day yard duty as if I couldn't wait to leave.

This is definitely NOT the most professional of appearances. I saw it in her eyes too, and a little in my CT's eyes as well, although they said nothing about it. Awesome. Great first day impression, Ms. Ng.

That's not a big deal, you might say. But you did not have a two hour lecture on professionalism at student teaching orientation. You did not have the exact same lecture TWICE because you had to repeat phase 3 student teaching. Frankly, if I hear "student teaching is like an extended job interview" one more time, I'm going to wear a sandwich board that says, "IT'S ONLY A JOB INTERVIEW IF THERE ARE ACTUAL JOBS AVAILABLE!" With flashing neon lights. And glitter.

For the record, I scored 5's (out of 5) on professionalism on my evaluations in both phase 2 and phase 3. My middle name is professionalism. I am known to NOT PEE during an entire school day, holding in two cups of coffee and then some, because going to the bathroom would have meant neglecting my teacher duties. I've arrived at school two hours early, stayed two hours late. I have a collection of shirts Banana Republic would envy. The only time I missed a day of teaching was when I had a sinus infection so bad I COULDN'T HEAR OUT OF MY LEFT EAR. I do not remember the last time I wore jeans. THAT is the state of my professionalism.

See, I should have clarified with my CT whether he was returning to the classroom or not (he ended up doing so, although the gods of communication decided to cross our signals so that I took it completely opposite). Even if he wasn't returning, I should have just dropped my bag somewhere out of sight rather than have it strapped over my shoulder like some banner for defeatist laziness. Many things I should have done. Many things I didn't.

And of course, the one time I slack off had to be the first day of school with the principal watching. Swell.

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