Marking, running, teaching

I had a few things on today. In the morning I went to the school for my volunteer face-to-face ethics class. We were finishing off a short two-week topic on Fatalism. Last week the kids were a bit rowdy, talking over each other a lot and requiring me to intervene to get them to speak one at a time. This week was better. But an amusing thing happened.

In my class there is a group of four girls who always sit together. Let’s call them April, May, June, and Julie (not their real names). April is the joker of the group, and tends to butt in and talk over other people a bit. She gives good answers, but is prone to just blurting out her thoughts rather than raising a hand to speak. May and June are more serious, but also get involved when April starts talking uncontrollably, and the three of them often devolve into discussing the topic amongst themselves, resulting in me having to quiet them down so that one student can speak at a time. Julie is super quiet. She never answers questions. I don’t think I’ve ever heard her speak at all. (This is perfectly fine, by the way. In our training we’re told that there are often students who never volunteer to speak during class, and we are not to call on them unless they express a want to speak. They can listen to the others and absorb the content and still get a lot out of the class.)

So anyway, today I asked a question and there were some answers by kids raising their hands and speaking in turn, and then April called out and started saying something, and May and June joined in, and soon the three of them were talking about the question among themselves. I had to get them to stop chatting so we could get on with the class. I called out their names individually: “April! May! June!” and while I was doing this I saw that Julie was saying something quietly to June, though I couldn’t hear it. So I also said, “Julie!”

The reaction was immediate. April said, accusingly, “What did Julie do?!?!” She clearly knows that Julie is quiet and inoffensive.

I said, “Well, she’s hanging out with you three.”

And April answered, “Oh, guilt by association. Fair enough.”

She genuinely got me laughing. These are actually pretty good kids – none of them are actively mischievous. They just get a bit carried away with the topic and discussion sometimes. Since the start of the year we’ve developed a bit of a rapport, and I think they enjoy the classes I teach, so this exchange was all done in a bit of a joking way. I suppose if I was their regular class teacher, I’d need to keep things a bit more formal, but I feel like since I’m only with them for 40 minutes every week, I’m allowed to be a bit more casual and friendly with them. Especially since the class is always done with us sitting in a small circle, on their classroom chairs, so I’m sitting at their level on the low children’s chairs, so it feels more intimate than a typical classroom setting.

So yeah, it was a fun class this morning.

Back at home I started work on marking the first assignment of the university image processing course. I have reports from 7 groups of students to read and mark. I read through and marked two of them, and will do more tomorrow.

I took a break to go for a run. Today I decided was the day for a longer one, so I ran 5k instead of 2.5. The weather was warmer, and humid, so it was a bit enervating. I took it a bit easier and ran slower than last month’s 5k, so my time was about 30 seconds slower. I’ve decided that I only really start to feel good about running after having a shower afterwards.

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