My Teacher Aide Tour, continued…..

Next week is Thanksgiving and I know that means that many of you will be taking the entire week off. So no Daily Dawg next week. After today, the next Daily Dawg will be Monday, November 28.

As for today I continue my memories of my adventures of 25 years ago when I took some time off from the law firm and volunteered to work as a teacher’s aide in various districts. Today we travel to Keller ISD, and then to Hallsville ISD

I had looked forward to my time in Keller because I had asked the superintendent, Charles Bradberry, to let me work with a coach. Enough of these classrooms—let me hang out with the boys in the locker room! It was late October and the weather was glorious. Just right for outdoor activity in the fresh air and sunshine. I anticipated getting to know something about the football team as it prepared for next week’s game. I studied Texas Football magazine to be conversant on the competition in Keller’s UIL District.

So I was shocked when Charles assigned me to Phyllis Scott, the girls’ athletic coordinator. I’m embarrassed to let you know that it had never occurred to me that coaches came in two genders and I should have been more specific with my request. It’s not that I was unaware of girls’ sports This was 1997 after all, and Title IX was already 25 years old. It’s just that I assumed that Charles would know what I meant when I said “Can you put me with a coach?” I meant jockstraps and such. Memories of high school basketball.

I did not file a grievance over my assignment. I had advised many school employees of the superintendent’s authority to assign and reassign. Moreover I was embarrassed to reveal my prejudice about what kind of coach I got to work with.

Phyllis was great that week. I helped with basketball practice and softball. They had a fundraising event while I was there that involved the softball team. I got a chance to bat…which was yet another embarrassment. Most of you know that I’m a big baseball fan (HOW BOUT THOSE ASTROS!!) but I never could hit the ball. And I couldn’t hit those fast softballs that whizzed past me. Lawyering started to look OK again. This teacher aide thing was getting to be a problem.

The highlight of my week in Hallsville was when the history teacher allowed me to present a lesson. I had a blast doing this. I got the lyrics to “We Didn’t Start the Fire” printed out and had the kids read them as we listened to Billy Joel. Then we went through this Baby Boomer anthem and all of its historical references. Some of them they knew about. Many they did not. I pointed out how the song literally goes year by year starting in about 1949. Lots of pop culture in that song (Doris Day, Johnny Ray, Marilyn Monroe, Chubby Checker) but also lots of history (Dien Bien Phu, Suez Canal, thalidomide, and “JFK blown away, what else do I have to say”).

It was good to be a teacher for a short while. When the students are engaged, it can be fun. It’s a lot easier to keep them engaged while listening to an upbeat song with interesting lyrics. I realized this was not a true depiction of the daily life of a teacher.

Here’s hoping you have a restful and enjoyable Thanksgiving week, full of family, football, turkey and pumpkin pie. Or pecan for those of you so inclined. We make no judgments about this.


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