Thursday, October 01, 2009

My, How Things Have Changed!

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," as we kick off October! For about one million reasons, this is my favorite month of the year. Autumn is such a grand season, isn't it? I admit I miss the mountains more this time of year. But some day I'll go home for good. Bet on it.

Yesterday I had my third class in what looks to be a long, dreary series of useless exercises in educating educators. At least I have a name for my "professor." From here on out, he will be known as Mr. Bigwand. (Buttroy was a close second, but that one more or less can only be used by my dear Yellowdog Granny.)

Mr. Bigwand has a big boat and a big, impressive teaching resume that he likes to reminisce about constantly. He tells very amusing stories about his days in the classroom. Some of the stories are so amusing that he tells them every week.

He does rather ramble, but what else do I have to do on a Wednesday afternoon except sit and listen to him?

Inevitably at conflabs such as this night school class, the predominant question is that of student discipline. How do we get the attention of these fine young minds, and keep the attention long enough to impart some wisdom?

When pressed for an answer to this widely-held conundrum, Mr. Bigwand told yet another story. He is proud (quite proud) to say that he taught at-risk students at an inner city school in Philly. He had 20 kids in a room the size of a two-seater privvy (or some such). One day he got a new pupil, the toughest kid in the school.

Pinky swear, this is what Mr. Bigwand told us.

When the kid began to act up in class, Mr. Bigwand invited the kid out into the corridor. Mr. Bigwand shoved the kid into a locker, closed the locker door, and had a conversation with the kid while the kid was stuck inside the locker. Needless to say, Bigwand concluded, the kid never gave him any more trouble.

I'm trying to picture myself following this edifying advice.

Maybe in some places.... no, wait. I can't even insult the citizens of the usual states that I'm fond of insulting! I'll bet they don't even shove bad kids into lockers in such bastions of brilliance as Idaho and Utah!

If Mr. Bigwand is giving us his true age (and he looks about the age he gives), he must have pulled this stunt when I was still a college stripling. And even then, the 1980s, I can't imagine how he got away with it.

This charming anecdote -- plus the suggestion that one should hover over misbehaving students and pat them nicely on the shoulder -- has been the sum total of Mr. Bigwand's advice on how to deal with discipline problems in the classroom.

I would ask him how to handle a situation where 20 out of 25 students are giddy simultaneously, and school rules prohibit my touching any of them, even in the most kindly way, but why set him off on another long-winded diatribe?

Let's see how this motif unfolds, friends. Bigwand has me in his thrall for ten months. I'm not sure I'll be able to bite my tongue that long without sticking my teeth right through it.


Debra She Who Seeks said...

"Bigwand" sounds like a porn movie name. Was that deliberate, LOL?


buttroy bigwand...fits..

I would have been tempted to take him outside and toss him into the nearest locker and ask him thru the door, 'is this how you did it?'..

Lori F-MN said...


I sugguest you take a tape recorder so if any of your teaching methods fall short of standard you can say this is what you were taught. or maybe those who think you need a piece of paper will realize the teacher they've chosen is is a windbag.

Yvonne Rathbone said...

I had a Mr. Bigwand once. The local world class university hereabouts dragged him off the street to teach a Human Resources class. At one point he told a rather lengthy tale (with Powerpoint no less) about a priest, a nun and a donkey. Although, he didn't always call it a donkey. The HR people in the audience (his class) passed the time reviewing our companies' sexual harassment training programs.

wv: subtle - Mr. Bigwand was not.

Good luck!!!

Maebius said...

If you hear some actual good advice on unruly students, please let me know. I'll happily pass it on to the adults I think are supposed to be the ones in charge of my own son's classroom activities.

*takes deep breath, avoids offtopic nerdrage*

Sorry you are suffering through your classes with ineptitude and aplomb. :)
So, yeah, I'd be interested in info to pass along at the next PTO meeting. :)

Maebius said...

(prior comment does not imply Anne is inept... I just re-read that again and it looked odd. oops))