acappellagirl (acappellagirl) wrote in tellmeastory,
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Student Teaching Experiences: Adventures in masking tape

I Started out at Newman with Mrs. MacIntyre. I was sooo excited to be there. It was a great school, Mrs.MacIntyre was an excellent teacher, it was the perfect place to work. I was sooo excited to be a pseudo-"real" teacher and to be in the real world. I was going to be the best teacher ever. Really. I couldn't wait to be done with school and be in the real world finally. Well, I started out going to Newman the week before school started to organize our brand new classroom. I loved going to all the meetings and meeting the other teachers. Finally, we got some free time to decorate our classrooms. Mrs.MacIntyre asked me to put up all the posters and things she had bought for the room. We had about fifteen different musical mice to use as a border for one end of the classroom and about fifteen different penguins in a band to use at the back of the classroom as a border. We also had a million posters and things to put up. I found a ladder and got to work. I put tape all over the mice, penguins and other posters and proceded to hang them where Mrs.MacIntyre had asked me to. I hung all thirty or forty of the posters that morning and then we went to lunch. Lunch was great. It was catered in and very very good. We came back to the room and Mrs.MacIntyre inspected my work. She took one of the posters off of the wall and looked at the back of it. I looked too. There were about five or six pieces of the School Approved Masking Tape For Wall Hangings on the back. "This poster does not have enough tape on it. It's going to fall down. Is this how much tape you put on all of these posters?" "More or less", I answered, "Depending on the size of the hanging". "Well, its not enough. You need to redo all of this". She began pulling off every poster I had hung. Then I went and fetched us back the ladder so I could take down all of the borders on the wall. She told me I needed to cover the entire back of the poster with tape. So, I began making long vertical strips that covered the back. Coming back into the room, Mrs.MacIntyre remarked, "No, you need to put small pieces dotting the entire back. Long strips will not work either". So much for creativity. So, I took the tape off of the posters and began yet again with very small ohs of tape dotting the entire backside. An hour or so later, the tape had been installed. Next, I stood on the ladder as Mrs.MacIntyre helped direct me to where exactly each penguin and musical mouse should go. They had to be perfectly symmetrical and in line with each other. By two or three in the afternoon, we had finally finished hanging the posters and I was able to move on to organizing the music and the closets. The next day when I came in, I found Mrs.MacIntyre staring at the band of penguins bordering the ceiling in the back of the room. "Do the penguins look uneven to you?" I stared at the wall and observed that the room was not really a square and that the back wall met the right wall at a 45 degree inside angle. Since the wall wasn't really even, it looked like the penguins moved down from the ceiling in a straight line. We spent a few minutes discussing whether the penguins were parallel to the ceiling and it was an optical illusion of perspective that they looked like they were going down or if they actually were going down. Mrs.MacIntyre called two other teachers and a janitor into the room and asked them if they thought the penguins looked even. The five of us spent a few more minutes discussing the evenness of the penguin band. It was decided that the penguins were indeed uneven and I went to fetch the ladder once again to take them down. With Mrs.MacIntyre standing near me and the janitor standing near the front of the room, we deliberated the exact spot to hang each penguin so that they would be exactly parallel to the ceiling.
Our next task was to hang five picture frames on the side wall. Mrs.MacIntyre fretted that the maintenance man was not available to come and hang the pictures for us because the new school building had just opened and he was still busy caulking windows and things like that. "I could hang them for you", I replied. "Do you know how to hang pictures? Have you hung a picture before?" "Well, no, but I know how to do it. I think it'd be pretty easy to figure out." "Really? I don't know how to hang pictures. Isn't that something you get a professional to do?" "Well, a lot of people do it themselves." So, we began the task of hanging pictures. It was not an easy task. First, we had to decide the exact pattern the five pictures should hang in: Two on each side, one in the middle? In a straight line? Alternating top and bottom? The young and hip art teacher was called in to give her opinion on the most aesthetically pleasing design. She wasn't much help to Mrs.MacIntyre as she said, "Whatever you like best will probably look fine." So, the graphic designer was called in to give his opinion. Another discussion evolved that had me arranging the pictures in different formats on the floor as we discussed the pros and cons of each arrangement. It was finally decided that two on each side, one in the middle looked best for five pictures. Next, I held them up to the wall and made little marks as we decided how far apart they should be spaced, where on the wall they should be and how far up or down. We then got a yardstick and made sure it was super straight. We held the pictures up to it and made all these marks about where to put the hammer in. Finally hammering the nail and hanging the pictures was the easy part. When it was all done, Mrs.MacIntyre looked dissatisfied. She thought the pictures looked uneven. But, there was nothing we could do about it because we couldn't hammer any more holes into the wall or we would get in trouble with administration. Although I thought the pictures looked even, I felt guilty because I had not advised Mrs.MacIntyre to hire a Professional Picture Hanger. So much for being the productive and helpful student teacher.
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