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Once upon a time,
in a Kansas City Public School,
There was a teacher named Builda.
We are all given the same rules.
Every year, the principal says,
"The first two weeks of school are
not for teaching any academics.
The first two weeks are for teaching
character traits, building trust,
and bonding with your class, and
letting them bond with each other.
Oh, yes, and for giving them your rules."
Builda LOVES the first two weeks. Because
she does not hear any of the speech of the principal
except the part she wants to hear, which is "give them the
rules." Builda is one hundred percent happy about this as
she has rules for getting a drink of water at the fountain,
rules for which side of the lettering of your pencil should
be face up, which foot to step first with while walking in line.
You can hear Builda barking her rules those first two weeks of
school with absolutism, and pride. In case you missed this, the
weeks that are for bonding, are not used for bonding or community building, because Builda cannot have any of that because that might mean the children would be allowed a voice. Children are not to talk in Buildaland. What could they possibly have to say? They haven't been to college, right?
One day I was counseling one of Builda's students, when Builda peeked through the 2 inch window in my door, which is 9 foot up, promptly ran in screaming, grabbed the child by the neck and trotted him back to class because we were just "playing" and that made her extremely angry, never being a child who got to play. Builda's mother had died when she was 3, and since that time, Builda had been extremely encouraged to be a foot soldier or prison guard. I am sure she would have been great at both, and wished she would have taken this advice rather than be a teacher.
Why do I think there was little bonding? Because in May, after three years in Builda's class, as it was a Montessori classroom, so children are held hostage by the same directress for three whole miserable years, two of Builda's third year students asked me if Builda was married. "Why don't you ask her?" I suggested. They shrieked with the silliness of that. Oh, boy. Here is my dilema, do I dare tell them that Mrs. Key is married? I dared not tell them which is exactly what I did actually. They were shocked that someone with that can-do-and-better-do-exactly-what-I-want-you-to-do-now had actually caught a man. The news went through the building like wildfire. I was expecting to have a shout-at-you with Builda, but it never came. Perhaps she was loosening up a bit?
I learned the ordinary way that Builda was a little competitive. When she discovered that all of the children in every class wanted to eat lunch with me every day even the Monday holidays when we were not at school, Builda decided to have little competitiive "lunch with the teacher" luncheons on Friday. The first Friday was a huge success for her as she had 5 children signed up. I did not tell her there were 22 eating with me, because I understood her ways, and did not think it wise. Especially since ten of them were from her classroom.
Her luncheons went from bad to worse: 5 children, 2 children, 1 child in three weeks. She asked me for pointers. I said, "Can I come to lunch with you, so I can see how things are?" Yes, she said. "That will be great." I walked in and said, "Hi, everybody! I'm here for lunch with you today!
"That is one demerit for Mrs. K," Builda said.
It seems I was "off topic," and Mrs. Key's luncheons are all about staying on topic, which was multiplication today. I swiftly began rattling off all of the multiplication facts I know, which pretty much is the multiplication table.
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