Tuesday, July 29, 2008

"I will be your preacher teacher

anything you have in mind."

Just what the fuck is George Michael talking about? Yes, the George Michael pictured stage left, who, by any reasonable guess, appears to be smelling himself on the cover of the album which this song can be found.

Let's break this down just a little: so the first half of the sentence is an offer of mentoring, while the second half is thick with pervish innuendo. Was this George Michael's way of posting for a sexual intern, like they used to have in the olden days? Was he hoping to find an orphan to teach everything he knows about arm pits, namely his arm pit? Who knows. Oldest mystery ever told. Moving on to the real posting...

location: dublin
statistics: 2:1 (ratio)
2 (completely superfluous references to screwing in this chapter from a book of advice for new teachers)
about 15 (chapters left to write)

Soooo me and my friend All-Star, who I've been close with since we worked and lived together in Yosemite National Park some ten years ago, are working on a book of practical advice for new teachers. We're calling it 'So You Wanna Be An F'in Teacher?' (As you might have guessed, All-Star is also a teacher, him in rough and tumbling Oakland).

The nexus of the project was a conversation we had with our buddy Mose (also a Yosemite alum, by the way), who was on the eve of his first year teaching. Over pints we told him all the things they should have taught him in teacher school. I was taking notes on napkins, and by the end of 3 rounds I had a list of about 75 chapters. It was one of the most satisfying and organic artistic/writing moments of my life.

As the title of the collection suggests, the advice leans toward the raw, the stuff no professor with dignity would say out loud. Completed chapters include 'Teach Hungover,' 'Don't Be Afraid to Threaten to Knock a Student Out,' and 'Quit and Go to Law School, You Jerk.' So we're not exactly playing by the rules. And that's a good thing.

Anyway, I just wrote a new chapter. It's not the best one by a long shot, just the most recent. Thought I'd share with the group.


It is (I hope) as close as you will get to hearing the sound of one of your student's parents having an orgasm.
The sound?
When you make a 'call home,' and the parent realizes you called for no other reason than to praise their child.
The noise is like a mix between a dove's coo, a kitten's prrr, and the audio to this month's top rated youporn.com clip (the one with the Asian kid and the ladyboy).
In a word, it is inspiring.
On the night when I do my parent calls I make sure to keep a 2:1 positive to negative call ratio. The benefits of a call home are generally self-evident, but a few anyhow:
- Works toward getting both the parents and the students on your side.
- Shows that you care.
- Wins redeemable points with the students. (i.e., 'Billy, remember that nice call I made to your dad, the one that got him to forget about your crystal meth addiction for an hour? Yeah. Now shut up and do your work.')
- Opens a channel of communication should you need to make a critical call later in the term.
- These conversatioins tend to turn into a gush-fest of sorts. You praise the child, the parent praises you, and we're all in love again. Quite simply, these conversations are rays of light. I've had positive calls home that practically ended with the teenagers-in-love tango of 'You hang up...' 'No, you hang up...' 'We'll do it together...' 'You didn't hang up!' 'Neither did you!'

So use that parent contact list you made on the first day of school for good rather than the typical evil. The self-esteem of your students, their parents, and yourself will be better for it.
- 30-

1 comment:

ALR said...

is the first chapter "don't be a teacher because it will suck your soul"? that was the most practical advice you gave me.