Saturday, December 17, 2005

The Vital Importance Of Us Magazine

Here at the Ramblin' Educat, we try to pass along handy teaching tips whenever possible. It's bread for the journey for my fellow educrats and gives the rest of you a teeney peek into this strange life I have chosen.

Here's the tip: Hoard trashy entertainment magazines.

My friend across the hall has subscriptions to Us and Entertainment Weekly and passes them on to me. I read through them, and somehow the stack of magazines kept growing and the issues never found their way to my house. I decided to play along and make them a classroom tool. So as kids finished with their EOI tests, I walked up and down the aisles like a flight attendant, offering trashy, fluffy goodness as reward for a job (hopefully) well done.

Turns out, the day after testing the antique who monitored my test raved about me and this practice to anyone who'd listen (although I wonder if he'd be as impressed if I'd done it while wearing dungarees). "She actually occupies those children! She's the only teacher I have ever seen who occupies those children!"

Can I be honest? Besides the fact that his praise seems somehow condescending, I just don't take compliments well. The fervor that surrounded my recent switch to contact lenses was quite nearly too much for me. At one time, I even put my hands over my face and kind of squealed "Stop looking at me, please!".

But enough about me, back to the magazines. I am quite sure they saved us all at points. It seems the rowdiest kids are always the ones to finish testing first and keeping them looking at pictures of Nick and Ashley buys us a few moments of peace while other kids finish.

Thursday, however, the peacemaking powers of Us were more fully realized. My darling little credit recovery kids are nothing if not chatty. Since their work is self-guided, they tend to space out and visit with each other about whatever shiny thing catches their eye. The other day, Babygirl espied the latest Us which promised all the dirt on Brittany's tearful decision to send her darling K-Fed packing (at least temporarily). "Oh!", cries Babygirl with all the seriousness of me wondering aloud about Supreme Court appointments, "Can I read that? I really need to know what's going on with Brittany and Kevin.".

I think a moment, deciding to hitch up that wonder for celebrity gossip to the wagon of her education.

"Let's make a deal. If you work silently for twenty minutes, I will read this article and summarize it for you. That way, you get your dose of news and some work done to passing English."

She did, and I found my wings as a celebrity gossip commentator. I have this new method of delivery for news on trashy teen pop stars. I do the tried and true head wag, but accompany it with a raised finger, dropped consonants, and a smack for punctuation. Ahhh...that Theatre degree isn't wasted at all.

Thank you, thank you, Us magazine.

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