Substitute Teaching: Science (PGJHS 1)

(Sharpie & PS)

I have to compliment Ms. Brush, the teacher I subbed for, for writing the best lesson plan I’ve ever had. It was thorough, detailed and paced appropriately. Lesson plans should always be like this. I’ve actually been lucky with lesson plans for the last week or so. I hope tomorrow will also be like today.

We studied Erosion. The teacher had us focus on two types: weathering and simple erosion. The students had no problems at all with this. We watched a Bill Nye the Science Guy video that was shot almost completely here in Utah. The kids had been to many of the places in the video. We also briefly discussed the houses sliding off the mountain in Draper and the upcoming demise of Delicate Arch because of hikers who climb it instead of simply photographing it. Bill Nye did a great job of explaining weathering and erosion. By the time the vid was over, there was little confusion. After that we went into two observation based experiments regarding dirt. The kids did great write ups. They told me they liked me because I don’t cuss as much as Ms. Brush (I haven’t yet cussed at a student . . . yet). I thought that was funny considering the profanity in the classroom nonsense down in Arizona.

The disturbing part of the day came ten minutes before flex. An administrator came in and gave me a photocopy of the Alpine School District Sexual Harassment policies. The note on it said to go over it carefully focusing on verbal sexual harassment and touching.

I’ve given seminars on this at AMEX and Convergys. I did not want to give the same blunt lesson to Junior High kids. But I did. I was as plain and humorless as I had been when I worked in the corporate world (no suit though). I did simplify the language and gave examples the kids could understand. There was a lot the kids didn’t get (mostly quid pro quo issues . . . I hope a few got it). However, the stuff about PDAs, touching, speech and interpretation they did understand. They didn’t like it that if one of the dingle-berry boys did a staring contest with a girl, his action could be interpreted by some other student as sexual harassment. Most of the protestations came from the boys. When I noticed, I branched into uncovered policy territory: reporting. I made it clear who the students should go to and who not to go to.

I wonder what happened to have this kind of discussion. I’m sure it will come out in the news. I do know that high schools have problems with sexting and sending self-taken photos of genitalia. I covered this and the multiple problems with FaceBook. I am sure, as I sub more often, I’ll be teaching more ad-hoc lessons like this.

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