Saturday, June 23, 2012

Practice Lesson at Madrona Middle School -- Part I

It was my first practice lesson before student-teaching.

The first semester, we were assigned to look for our favorite teacher from when we were in school. For me, I knew exactly who: Mr. B, by U.S. History teacher. Eighth grade was a pretty good time for me, not the best year for my K-12 experience, but a time of my life when I started standing up the bullies in my life, when I got a 4.0 grade-point average for all four quarters. I worked really hard that year, and it really paid off.

Mr. B. was a nice guy, but he could get mean in a hurry if the class got out of control. Rarely did he raise his voice, although on some days it would get a little loud. "It's too noisy", was all that he had to say, and we would keep our voices down. Of course I never forgot the one afternoon, about two months before the end of the school year, when kids were shouting at each other from across the room. "It's too noisy" he shared with the class two times while we were supposed to be working on a final project on the Civil War. Still, the class refused to let up, "If the class will not be quiet, I am going to keep everyone in during lunch tomorrow." Still too loud, one of the students, a loud gang-banger who was usually starting trouble, shouted out: "You guys, shut up!"

"That's it, everyone is serving detention!" Mr. B. made a note on the blackboard.

"Stupid A---!" one of the other students shouted. "Now you got us all in trouble!"

Mr. B. went from quiet to quaking. "That's it! I've had it with this class. I'm giving everyone a U!" He then hurled his chalk at the board, ripped out a paper, scribbled some notes, then tossed it in the air. He was red, visibly upset, refusing to put up with any more foolishness in the classroom. None of us had ever expected Mr. B. to lose his temper, but he sure did that day. The one time he had ever yelled at the class like that, and to this day I never forgot it. What can I say? Mr. B. was a pro, a guy who knew how to manage a class without raising his voice, without yelling to make a point. When he did, though, everybody listened, not a word was spoken, all was quiet!

He was great! And I wanted to see him again!

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