Raindrops Are Falling On My Head

Nobody likes indoor recess. Rainy recess on the first day of school is as bad as it gets. No opportunity for the kids to run around and let off steam. No chance for the teachers to use the washroom, grab a coffee, or run off a few more xerox copies. Even though a large cadre of teachers is always on a recess supervision cycle, those few minutes of downtime are precious to the others.

So let’s cheer up with a sing-along to Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head!  Burt Bacharach…and Paul Newman can boost my morale any time, even though there is not a single raindrop in this clip from the 1969 movie, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

Raindrops as a metaphor for bad luck, hard times, set-backs and troubles. Tell that to the farmers who are plowing under failed corn and wheat crops.

Muddy Puddles

Reviewing Metaphors We Live By, by Lakoff and Johnson,(see blogs from Aug 30 and Sept 1) has made me more conscious of the way metaphors both express and shape our thinking. My sister would storm out of the room, and Mother always tried to put something away for a rainy day. One of my teachers had an icy stare, and another had a sunny disposition. Sometimes there was a flood of tears. And  we were often treading on thin ice, or on a slippery slope, or snowed under with too much to do!

Fifty years ago to-day was my first day of teaching, at a secondary school in Scarborough, a suburb of Toronto. It remains indelible in my memory, along with many more opening days. The stories I could tell!

School reopening always had the challenge of NAMES! In a large high school, there may be a faculty of 80 teachers or so, perhaps 1200 – 1500 students. No one wears name tags, and the kids all dress alike. Class lists on the first day of school were often incomplete or inaccurate, but that was the least of the problems. They were, of course alphabetical, last name first, but NEVER phonetic. In our multicultural society, sometimes it is difficult to tell a first name from a last name, and there were always trendy and sometimes bizarre names. But names are incredibly important, and pronouncing them correctly and remembering them accurately was one of my biggest first week challenges. It was how I tried to show my students that I respected them as individuals, that I cared!

Which is why I particularly enjoy these two skits of Mr. Bean during roll call. Put your coffee mug down… you don’t want to choke laughing anywhere near your laptop… and don’t watch the second one with your kids in the room. You may end up having to explain far more than why you are laughing.

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