I know what you’re thinking. Alright, this guy is about to talk about the hot mess that the video game Watch Dogs was. The controversy over the graphics, the awkward recreation of Chicago, the constant push backs. Unfortunately no, I am still not about to review video games. Especially ones that came out almost half a year ago.
No, Watch DOGS is a program at a local elementary school that Abel attends. They have a huge shortage of male teachers, as in they only have one. And he teaches PE. So they have set out to get adult father figures to come and volunteer for the entire day, spread them around the classes, to give a nice male influence on these young minds.
So I said sure. One day, with my nice day off, I will do it. Well it happened, much to Abel’s surprise (until I walked into school with him). I was given a schedule, signed a form, had a picture taken, and was set off to get my volunteer on.
Before they let me loose, I had to listen in to the morning announcements. That is because during them, they want the Watch DOG to introduce themself, give their child a shout out, and make people feel good inside. What I am glad I didn’t have to do was anything else.
The second half of the announcements were standard, and by that, I mean mostly just birthday announcements. However the fist half? Pledge after Pledge after Pledge. Well, just three pledges technically. The Pledge of Allegiance, the Texas Pledge, and the elementary school specific pledge, that all of them are supposed to say along with them. AND after that, a moment of silence, that lasted at least 60 seconds.
Now, I am a proud American, but I realized by middle school that the pledge was super awkward. I am of course against the use of references to God in both these instances, given that it is a public school, but that is a debate for another day. I hope in elementary school they are given the ability to stand and not say it if they want.
After the pledges, I was sent off to my first class, a 4th Grade math and science class with Ms. 4thGradeClass.
Apparently on Friday’s they don’t do a lot. They grade their science homework, which I was happy to see the questions of. Nice things involving measurements and even some algebra based properties.
Math wise, they had some warm ups. This is the first year they are doing multiplication involving four digit numbers as part of 4th grade curriculum and they just learned it the day before. Now, I am going to mention Common Core.
Listen people. There is absolutely nothing wrong with Common Core. A guiding set of principals is a good thing. Having alternative teaching method is also good. They solved these multiplication problems the traditional way, an area way, and some other expanded way. Two of those people would complain as taking too much time and is new and awkward and bad. Well it isn’t. It merely allows for a deeper mathematical understanding, will make future math not seem so bad, and make us smarter in the long run.
Change can be good. And yes, of course I will talk about this sort of things in these articles.
Finally, they had to do their multiplication quiz. It was a 26 question quiz, practicing their “times tables”. They are going at their own pace, so some people had 26 questions involving 3s, some 4s, some 5s. They only had 2.5 minutes to do it, and if anyone beat the teacher in time they got a cookie at lunch. To move on, they had to get over 85% correct.
Well, they let me do it too. And I beat the teacher, finishing in 22 seconds, so guess who was promised lunch time cookies? This guy. And now random kids think I am smart, which I am, but also boo yah.
My second class was Kindergarten with Ms. Kindergarten. More notably, Abel’s class, because of course they should get a benefit of having a male figure visit.
I had already visited this class before to observe, and you can read about that here.
I was there in the same time frame again, so I was there for a lot of reading based things, and it was reading chaos. My basic task was vague, but the teacher was helping groups of 3 or 4 read from very basic books, so the rest were supposed to be practicing. Some were on cool computer games, some with partners. I just wandered, sat in tiny chairs, and talked to them about the books and answered their questions.
This is where a lot of the hero worship came in. They recognized me before and all just wanted to talk to me. Outside of “quiet reading time”, the teacher enforced their good behavior, went over an alphabet song from the youtubes, and I knew I would see them soon at lunch time. Abel read a book out loud to me, very basic, but hey, reading is reading is cool.
After another patrol (which I will talk about in Part 2), I headed to lunch because Kindergarten eats super early at 10:45 am. Since Abel brings his lunch, I didn’t have to wait long before figuring out the right tables and sitting down to eat, knowing other kids would want to sit by us to talk.
Well, everything was going fine. It was a pizza day, but they didn’t have shitty rectangle slices with the pepperoni cubes, they had real pizza. After about ten minutes, some skanky teacher told me I couldn’t sit and eat there, if I wanted to eat with him we’d have to eat alone on these side tables far away.
“But I’m a Watch Dog, not just a parent visitor? This is what I am supposed to be doing?”
No they said and that was it. So we had to eat alone all awkwardly until they had recess. That was one of my biggest complaints, and it didn’t make sense, because during this time was an almost 3 hour block of recess/lunch duties, meant to interact with students. What? Did they want me to interact by standing over them while they eat all awkwardly?
There was one other Watch DOG there and he had the same experience. He was pretty sure the teacher was wrong (since no other teachers told us that, just the same one to both of us) but whatever. Fuckers.
But I digress. Again, after lunch was Recess. And Recess was a whole ‘nother ball game.
To Be Continued (Next Week!)
Nick “He Who Let The Watch DOG Out” Hamden