Monday, May 11, 2009

Substituting Videos

So I was out of town from Thursday until Saturday, helping out at a new teacher retreat. Our local union every year pays for 15-20 new teachers to spend 3 days at a secluded location and they learn techniques about classroom management, dealing with trouble parents, managing stress, planning for retirement, that sort of stuff. Along the way, they get to bond and talk about how they're feeling doing, etc. It's a great opportunity to shake off the stress of the year and realize that everyone else hates their job at this time of the year about as much as you do.

Since we left Thursday night, I needed a sub for Friday. I figured my social studies kids could watch a movie on something they were studying or had studied. Since I had a new mummy video and we had studied Egypt, I thought maybe I would show that.

But I'm no dummy. Remember the pornographic Pompeii video I mentioned in an earlier post? I never show any movie without previewing it first. In this case, I'm glad I did: the movie was waaaay not appropriate for 6th graders (there goes another 15 dollars down the drain, sigh). In the video, they mummify a corpse. Amongst other things, they show the doctors ramming a hook into the corpse's nose, scrambling the brains, and allowing the resulting mess to leak out the nose. I was grossed out, and I usually like gross things. Way over the top.

So I found a video online on the silk road, which we're studying now. I left careful directions for the sub on how and where to find the movie on my computer desktop, what video player to use, and anything else I thought could go wrong.

The one thing I forgot to do was take the mummy video out of the VCR.

You can probably see where I'm going from here. When I returned today, my instructional aide pulled me aside and asked, "Did you preview the movie you asked the sub to show?"

Of course I had previewed the silk road movie! Like I said, I'm no dummy. Then she explained that the substitute had not shown the movie on the computer like I'd asked, she showed the mummy video in the VCR. Aghast, I asked what the student reaction was.

"Traumatized," she responded.

This is why most teachers don't take days off. It's hard to predict what's going to happen when you let someone else in your classroom unsupervised. Hopefully I'll get off light: the movie was a bit graphic but very scientific in nature.