Monday, June 11, 2007

33 Monkeys Jumping On My Head

Last week I found myself in front of a 7th grade class. I feared it would be a nightmare but it really wasn’t that bad. Don’t get me wrong, I now know why some species eat their young, but all in all, it was a fun day.

I have a new found respect for my dad, all teachers in fact. I once toyed with the idea of becoming a teacher, but the final nail is now in the coffin lid on that idea.

It was through Junior Achievement that I found myself standing in front of a class at Greenbriar Senior Public School. It is a program that has people from the ‘real world’ come in and talk about various topics. I was there to discuss diversity and acceptance. The subjects du jour were gender, age, disabilities, ethnicity and sexual orientation. There were giggles a plenty at the mention of that last one.

The reality of my day was quite different from my preparation. The guide had tips like ‘use the kids names, they like it’ and ‘tell them why you are participating in the program.

Use their name? I wanted to give them all a number. Get used to it kiddies! Between your student number at University, bank account number, passport number, drivers license number and SIN, you’re a number from here on out, so suck it up. We did have tent cards for all of them and they dutifully put their X on them and placed them on their desks. I saw one smarty pants that had put ‘Lucky’ on his. I asked him to put his real name. Well, my bad, apparently his parents either really wanted a kid and finally got one or are compulsive gamblers. Oh that reminds me, prison number. That is another one!

As for telling them why I was there, life lesson #2 two my puberty challenge friends. When your boss is asked to do something they don’t want to do, they will tell you what a great opportunity it is for you! It is called being ‘voluntold’.

I have to say I was surprised by a few things. First, how much fun I had once I realized their energy (for the most part) was because this was fun for them. A break from their routine.

Also, I expected them to be, well, 12 and 13 years old. And as such, a bit, how shall I say this? Dim witted. In fact, they are very perceptive. Our first gender activity compared ‘male jobs’ (i.e. firefighter) and ‘female jobs’ (i.e. perfume sales). There was a discussion around if both men and women could do the jobs and why or why not.

When we got to the perform jockey, it was mentioned that men shouldn’t sell perfume because they “don’t care about how they look or how they smell” (that was a boy’s comment by-the-by). One of the girls said “well Robert looks like he knows how to dress”. One of the boys said “yes, but he is very feminine”. God, so much for my fooling anyone. Ever!

The day was exhausting (my voice is still strained) but rewarding. I learned, candy is king when it comes to control. Not yelling.


Blogger Blair said...

Great story! How brave are you to get up in front of a group of 12 year olds?! Yikes!

6:27 AM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home