I got an assignment at Rushmore elementary yesterday. Rushmore is far and away the best school in Redstone. The test scores say as much, but even before I saw them I singled out that school as having an absurdly positively atmosphere. I was glad to get the assignment because I had feared that I had been blackballed there after this whole incident (which, by the way, actually worked out in my favor: I got paid for one 1.5 days because of a mistake on their part).

It was my third straight assignment for the third grade, oddly enough.

One of the girls was 4’8″. In the third grade. I wonder if the high school girl’s basketball coach already knows her name. Speaking of which, last year I had a middle school student whose gender I was uncomfortably unsure of until I saw that she was on the girl’s basketball team. She was approaching 6’0″. As for Miss 54″, she commented that her father and brothers were “very tall” so I doubt that it’s just an odd growth spurt. She also didn’t seem like the kind of kid to be held back unless she was close to the borderline.

With the exception of a couple, every time I teach below the 5th grade, I am informed that I am a very tall individual and/or I have very large feet. This time I was informed that I was a very tall individual. One of the boys was bragging to another of the boys that at least they came up to my beltline.

I finally met Mrs. Truman. For those of you who do not recall, my actual last name is less common than “Truman” and so it’s odd to have someone with my same last name. And any time I teach at the middle school, I am asked if there is any relation. This time I made a point of stopping by to introduce myself. I know that she knew of my existence because she accidentally got my Valentine’s Day bag when I left it behind. I was… kind of disappointed in her, actually. She had very dyed and very dried hair. She was very friendly to me and we had a laugh about the event of the previous year, but given all of the raves I’d heard about her, I figured she would remind me of a third grade teacher I liked rather than the one that I hated.

I commented that any time I am asked about her among middle school kids I am told that she is/was “totally awesome” and that I might have benefited from the association. She appreciated the compliment and said that it would probably be different in high school, though, because her husband is a parole officer and “a lot of kids at Redstone High School have to deal with him.”

With the exception of the last name and the Valentine’s Day incident, I wouldn’t have expected her to know anything about me, but she actually knew that I am that guy that drives out all the way from Callie. The principal stopped by and said hello and asked if I was still making that drive. That seems to be my role. The guy who makes that really long drive. It also makes me wonder if, while I haven’t been blacklisted, they still think of me as iffy because of the whole incident over six months ago. He was nice, though.

The principal is very popular. Which is not surprising, since he either has the plum job or is actually so good that Rushmore’s impressiveness is attributable to him. I guess I have been watching too many crime shows, because when I think of a popular male principal, a part of my mind thinks that we’re going to discover that he’s kept a 15 year old girl chained up in his basement for five years or something equally harrowing.

The day was largely uneventful. Getting third graders to be quiet is a challenge. At the bad schools, it’s to get them to stop talking to one another. The only blow-up we had today was actually over academics. They all swore that the answer key was wrong about something and just blew up about it, requiring the other third grade teacher to come over.

The thing I’ve learned about elementary school kids is that they love routine – at least in school. They are very good at pointing out if you are doing anything that is not according to the routine and The Way Things Are Supposed To Be. No matter how minor.

Teachers have cooler gadgets than I was in school. We had blackboards and later overhead projectors. They have “smartboards.”

Rushmore used to be an “open classroom” environment. This was a hippie venture where they didn’t have separate rooms for everybody but instead taught everything in a wide open area with different sections. This adventure did not last long. But you can see the layout is not that of a typical school. The big open area in the middle still exists and the classrooms shuffled off to the side. They added new classrooms over the summer, though, so it almost looks traditional, though the layout still looks odd. It feels like somebody emptied out a department store and put in a school.

For all of the praises I sing to the school, it’s actually most known for a student-on-student shooting that happened there a long time back.

I really, really meant to take some pictures of the anti-bullying and positive mental attitude posters in the classroom. One of them had a picture of Alice (from the Brady Bunch) and ALF, saying that you want to be like the former but not like the latter. Putting aside that these kids probably don’t know who Alice and ALF are, who wouldn’t rather be ALF? Almost all of the anti-bullying stuff puts the onus on the bullied to extricate himself from the situation or “talk it out.” No surprise there, but one of the posters involving frogs managed to sum up the attitude very neatly.


Category: School

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6 Responses to 3rd Grade: Mr. & Mrs. Truman

  1. Logtar says:

    I think you watch too much TV

  2. web says:

    Almost all of the anti-bullying stuff puts the onus on the bullied to extricate himself from the situation or “talk it out.”

    Which is part of the problem, as bullies generally won’t let the bullied “extricate himself” and are not interested in “talking it out.”

    As near as I can tell, most of the anti-bullying stuff that comes out of education professionals is not geared at actually stopping bullying or dealing with the bullies in a way that gets them away from their victims, but rather in figuring out ways that the administrators don’t have to hear about and/or deal with the bullying any more.

  3. trumwill says:

    Logtar,

    I don’t think I watch enough TV. I’m behind on almost all of my shows. More than a season behind, in some cases.

  4. trumwill says:

    Web,

    If I recall, I don’t even think “tell a grown-up” was one of the recommended courses of action.

  5. Scarlet Knight says:

    I had feared that I had been blackballed there

    When I reread that post, I laughed at my comment. You never responded to it.

    One of the girls was 4’8″ … As for Miss 54″

    Did you blow the conversion, or are these two different girls?

    he’s kept a 15 year old girl chained up in his basement for five years

    Are you picturing a 10 year old who is now 15, or is the girl now 20?

    Almost all of the anti-bullying stuff puts the onus on the bullied to extricate himself from the situation or “talk it out.”

    NJ has done a complete 180 on the issue and is taking bullying very seriously. School administrators are complaining about the increased paperwork that must be completed. I think the pendulum has gone too far the other way.

    Logtar: I think [Trumwill] watch[es] too much TV

    Bite your tongue, sir.

  6. trumwill says:

    When I reread that post, I laughed at my comment. You never responded to it.

    I chuckled, but I guess I didn’t have anything to add.

    Did you blow the conversion, or are these two different girls?

    Blew the conversion.

    Are you picturing a 10 year old who is now 15, or is the girl now 20?

    The former. It was based on a story they told us in elementary school about how evil adults can be if you are too trusting of them. Thanks, John Walsh.

    NJ has done a complete 180 on the issue and is taking bullying very seriously.

    They’re taking it as seriously as signs everywhere will allow. They even included it in the (kind of creepy) Rushmore school chant.

    But really, they don’t have the “everybody in a fight is suspended” policy. At least not formally, though it does seem to work out that way at some schools.

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