Monday, August 23, 2010

okay, that was adorable

The Prop 8 Trial Tracker folks got an actual lawyer to answer people's questions about the trial. I'm not entirely satisfied with his answer about Baker v. Nelson and other prior decisions--he dodged significantly--but the short version is "it was 38 years ago, it was a summary dismissal rather than an actual decision, and there have been a lot of decisions since then supporting gay rights and tearing down gender discrimination." We'll see, then.

Theoretically I had four classes today. Yesterday I sent Marcela a text message asking if we would split the classes like normal today, and she said "Yes"; but in fact, my latter two classes, 1-H and 1-G, were taking the test that somehow they didn't take with the other Monday classes last week. This happens a lot, where it doesn't seem to occur to her that it makes a difference to my level of preparation whether I have to actually teach the class or not. From talking to her and other teachers, I think that Chilean teachers do not do "lesson planning" as I have been taught to recognize it. My sense is that they teach by explaining things, so they just have the material they're going to explain, and how they're going to explain it. Students, for their part, are not in the habit of thinking "Oh, the teacher is talking, this might be something I should pay attention to," so an ordinary class would consist of teachers talking and students ignoring them.

One of my kids from 1-J, pregnant until a couple of days ago, brought her newborn in to visit her friends and teachers. SO TINY. She gave him to me to hold and I carried him around the classroom, eyes wide open. He was convulsing periodically, which Anna tells me is what newborns do before they get the hang of pooping: they try clenching everything, not yet used to having to clench some muscles and relax others. Did I mention SO TINY?

Because I found out 5 minutes beforehand that 1-H was testing instead of having a class, my room was still arranged in a U, so I told them to move the seats into the testing configuration (sort of grid-like, with lots of space in between chairs). Then I told them again, that they could move the seats while I wrote their vocabulary words on the board. I started writing, and heard chairs dutifully moving behind me.

I turned around, and they had moved all of their seats into a single clump in the middle of the room, with just an inch in between them. They sat there, smiling, as though I might actually start handing out the tests.

They were checking for a reaction, so I milked it a bit, with half-smiles and pauses. Finally I said, "I don't tell you guys this often enough, but...I love all of you."

Then it took 10 minutes to get them moved, but sucking up test time was their problem, not mine.

They're a sweet-tempered bunch. I like them.

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