You’ve all missed me a little this week, haven’t you? I have been a little distant as my work at Sunnybrook College (not its real name!) becomes more demanding.
An interesting week; lots of meetings; before school, after school, and any time they can be squeezed in between. I had to break up a fight between two large senior students on Friday, outside the front doors to the library. I yelled at them to stop and to follow me to my office, where I issued them with forms to go the responsible thinking room.
Senior students are often mountain men. We have a number of South Pacific Islander and Maori students, and by the time they reach the age of 16 and 17 they are HUGE! Lots of hormones and lots of aggression. A female teacher, even when a goddess such as I, has to pray for some good luck when taking on some of those big guys – remember, the government won’t let me have my stick!
It was the first time I have sent anyone off to the Responsible Thinking Classroom, and I had to send two at once, so I was a little worried about bluffing my way through, but though they protested that I was being unfair and they were grossly mistreated, they went off as instructed. It is not a part of the job that ever gets easier, but at least at this school the admin backs up the teachers, which is not always the case in a lot of schools, especially private schools.
I have decided to shelve some of our library books by genre first and dewey second. Literacy is our main aim, and I am less worried about the correct dewey classification number, than getting the kids reading. I have read reports that shelving books by genre increases circulation figures, and it is always my experience that students ask ‘do you have any mystery books?” or “ …fantasy books?” more than any other question. So, I want to get that book into their hand as fast as possible, and so I am shelving by genre. Melville Dewey might roll over in his grave, but then libraries today bare less and less resemblance to the libraries he knew! Get with the times, Melville!
To do so means moving all the books around. I started with bays of fantasy books today. It meant moving the entire fiction collection just to enable space for relocation, so by the end of the day my arms and back were pretty tired.
Madonna and I are the same age, and at the rate I am going I shall have more toned arms that dear Madge before she knows it. (I am already more beautiful, naturally, without the help of surgery or air brushing, or body stockings. Poor Madonna, she just can’t compete, why does she continue to try? Why does anyone try? Mere mortals!)
I had my first study skills classes with year 10 this week too. I read them a short story to start with, then made them do individual silent reading, which made some of them act as though their lives were coming to an end. I allow them to read anything in the library – magazines, newspaper, fiction, non-fiction, even picture books, and yet some still grumble and groan. “I don’t like reading!” they say, and I reply ‘That’s only because you haven’t found what you like to read yet!” and off they trudge as though going to the gallows.
It was interesting to see how some of the students acted when I said that I was going to read to them. Their looks of surprise were memorable to say the least! Most of the girls settled in quickly, as did the Asian boys, but the indigenous students and a group of Maori kids, found it hard to sit still, even though they were sitting on bean bags, couches and even on the floor as they chose! By the end of the story, they were mostly paying attention, though.
I suspect some of those present may not have had a lot of books read to them. Others have English as their second language. I like to model reading aloud to them, stumbles and all, so that they see that it is okay to make mistakes when reading. It is weird though to look up from the page and see all these big bodies lying around you as you read. One or two closest to me, lying full length of the floor were six foot men-children.
It certainly is a change from Fanny and Maude’s School for fine Young Ladies!
Daughter2 has been on holiday in Thailand at some swanky spa resort all week. As of today she has not purchased anything for me. She may not be allowed back across the border again if she doesn’t rectify that issue pretty damn quick. An eight hour stop over in Singapore might alleviate her possible refugee statues however. No gift for Mama, no home. Simple.