This past week, I spent every day substitute teaching at the school where I taught the Civil War class, and coach hockey at (the next league starts in a little more than a month, which guarantees more funny stories being posted here). My first day ever at this new job actually occurred in the week prior, when I was called in on a Wednesday morning. Because of this, I have not really had much time to write here on my blog, because of the change in my schedule that leaves me drained of energy when I get home, until my body can completely adjust to the new routine. Substituting did have its positives, though, as I now got my first taste of what being a full-time teacher is really like. Before this, all I had done was teach one class here and there, or, when I went into the local high school to do some field work for college, it was mainly just sitting and observing, save for the occasional lesson I was allowed to teach. But here it was, five days of classes and dealing with many different students (most of which I had coached already), and I must say, it did get better as the days went along, though there were a few bumps in the road, as every substitute must face.
This past week, I filled in for the same person every day, which was for 6th, 7th, and 8th grade science, one of my least favorite subjects. Still, it had its rewards, as we got to talk about animals and fish with the younger grade, something that is more interesting to me, then, let’s say, chemistry. The week before that, though, had me teaching some history to 4th and 5th graders, and ironically, the 4th graders just happened to be up to a lesson on New Jersey’s role in the American Revolution, which gave me my chance to tell these kids about where I work, and the importance of figures such as Royal Governor William Franklin and the man who arrested him in 1776, Colonel Nathaniel Heard. We are also trying to work out an after-school field trip of some kind to the Proprietary House, so these students can actually step foot in the place they learned about, in addition to me giving a more in-depth presentation before we take the trip over there.
Perhaps the two best quotes I have heard from students so far came from the 5th grade history class that happened right after that one. One kid said, “My mom says that every time there is something bad on the History Channel, you write about it on your Facebook.” This made me laugh, prompting someone to ask me if there was anything incorrect in their current text-book. Not wanting to go into one of my rants, I simply left it at, “No, they just exaggerate a little.” Had these students been in the older grades, I would have been chomping at the bit. At the end of the class, someone then told me, “Wow, you sound like you actually know what you’re talking about.” Right on, kiddo.
In getting to this blog, I will be trying for a more active February, as hopefully, there will be something to actually write about (movie news has been really slow of late). I must thank my friend Chris Hoeler who has stepped up to contribute some hockey articles for his column here called “On the Rink with Gootz”. He has done a great job recently (his New York Rangers first-half recap is coming this afternoon), and will hopefully be writing a lot more in the future. Given his involvement with actually taking part in the management of a professional hockey team, he has an eye for things on and off the ice that someone else might not see. Rest assured, I still watch every single Rangers game, but by the time they are over, I just do not feel like sitting down to write a recap. I will, however, write when something major occurs, such as the Andrew Ference suspension last week, and if a trade is made as we near closer to the deadline. For broader recaps and opinion, Gootz will step up to the plate.
Now for some history, if you read my article last week on those two World War II uniforms we found in a closet while working at the Proprietary House, I now know who they belong to, and have a little information about him. Many thanks to historian Ed Mantell for assisting me in the research, and look for an article to come on that in the next day or so. As for interviews, a few are in the works, the only one I can really mention being with filmmaker Justin Dombrowski, who will give us some insight into his Civil War film project titled 1863. Lastly, for “Musical Monday”, we will be having a belated birthday celebration for Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who celebrated his 256th yesterday. The only problem I have here is selecting which one of his pieces I want to feature, because so many of them are my favorites!