Dixon Middle School: English

Finally, a class I can blog about. For the last six months or so, I’ve been subbing almost entirely with intellectually disabled students and it is quite illegal to blog about them. Middle school students? No one cares.

Dixon Middle School is where all my kids went to school as well as my brothers and sisters. When we moved from Oklahoma to Utah, I was already in high school, so I was the only person in my family who did not go to school at Dixon. Dixon is very old, but is in fairly good condition. It looks a lot like the school in Back to the Future. There is a little modernization, but it is easy to tell where that was added in with occasionally poorly placed wires, drill holes, sprinklers and computer cables. The class I was teaching in was originally a storage room for the neighboring biology class room and so was smaller than most of the English classes I’ve subbed in in newer buildings. Dixon is a Title I school where most students are minorities. This is the exception in very white-bread Utah County. Many of my students today asked if I could explain the lesson in Spanish. I answered in Korean and from that point on everyone spoke English.

We were learning how to do compare and contrast using Venn Diagrams. The text was Johnny Tremain comparing what Johnny was like before his accident and afterwards (when the forge cracked and spilled molten silver on his hand). The kids understood most of the physical problems, but many of the psychological/personality changes Johnny went through were lost on them. Fortunately, the teacher left a nicely designed, self-guided, fill in the black questionnaire to help them figure things out. The challenge came during the last fifteen minutes when I was required to spring a five paragraph essay on them that was due at the end of class. Ninety percent of the kids got it done with the remaining ten percent loudly complaining or saying they weren’t gonna do anything a sub told them they had to do. I taught seven periods and had the exact same reaction to the writing assignment.

Middle school! Loads of fun as always.

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6 thoughts on “Dixon Middle School: English

  1. Aaron I admire you. I taught high school (years 8 thru 12, kids 12 to 17 years of age) for 25 years and there’s no way I’d consider going back and doing subbing or relief teaching as we call it here in Australia given the way i saw relief teachers treated here.

    • Yeah, its a harsh biz here, too. I still like it though. I’m thinking about getting my teaching certificate and doing it as a full time job, so eventually I might have a better time of it and then just have to hide from the parents.

    • My brother the lawyer, when I asked that exact question, he asked how I felt about law suits and possible criminal charges. So, since I like posting . . .

      Thanks tho, Mary. I do like the manual you’ve been posting. It has been great to read them.

      • ok, well, a lawyer would know!
        thx regarding my workbook – i’ve been pleasantly surprised you’ve been following these particular posts, wouldn’t have thought it would be of interest. you and i mostly communicated about illustrating, at least at first.

        i had a thought – it is probably too hard for me – about something like a graphic novel. it would be atypical, since it would be me illustrating it and my drawings are so quirky. any books you recommend about technique/paper/required layout/i don’t know what else? i’m already overwhelmed just asking the question!

      • um, let me change my question. would you want to illustrate a graphic novel that i would write? it is not YOUR typical thing. it’s a true story about jane austen that i find fascinating and every time i try writing it as a regular novel i get stuck and i think it would be cool illustrated.

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