Thursday, May 1, 2014

Mr. Tram's Diary

With all the blogging over the last two years, it's funny that I haven't said much about how I got kicked out of my practicum at Gordon Bell. It turns out that story is pretty well documented. I started to tell you about it a couple of months ago when I described my first meeting with the Principal, Mrs. Skull. And then I got off on another tangent.

But sooner or later we were going to this, and I guess now is as good a time as any. It all started when I showed up on a Tuesday in November for my regular practicum day and Mr. Tram, the Grade 9 Science teacher, told me that he was going to start teaching Static Electricity that very morning...first period, in fact. This was a bit messed up because I was supposed to teach Static Electricity as my practicum unit, and it wasn't scheduled to begin until two weeks later. So I asked Mr. Tram if he couldn't teach two weeks of chemistry, and then let me start my unit on schedule.

He didn't want to do that. He said if he started chemistry and then switched to electricity, the students would have forgotten everything about chemistry when he came back to it in the new year, and he'd have to start over from scratch.

So I asked him if I could teach static electricity myself. I was already prepared for it, and I would be available for all but one of the classes over the next two weeks. So Mr. Tram said OK. I ran to the science room to collect all the props I could find...balloons, glass rods (for rubbing on fur), and those oil-filled glass slides with the iron filings for showing magnetic fields. And that's how I started teaching my unit.

It turned out Mr. Tram didn't think much of my teaching. I didn't know it at the time, but he kept a diary of my short stint as a teacher, covering the seven days I spent in front of his Grade 9 Science class. Here is how Mr. Tram describes my very first day.

* * * * * * *

Nov 8, 2011

Mr. Green expressed interest in starting a new unit. I gave him the change to teach the first class. The lesson is about electrostatic. Mr. Green spent most of the class talk about concepts that is not part of the curriculum such as magnetic (which is learned at grade 12 and this is a grade 9 class), geography and history (Columbus), as well as concepts that students will see in 3 weeks into the course. Many topics he talked about were random and did not related to electrostatics. He talked for the entire 65 minutes without stopping.

I met with Mr. Green and gave constructive criticism about the lesson. He got very angry at me and stated that he is not going to take the advices. He also stated that his teaching career would be over if he took any advice from me. I invited Mabini to chair our meeting during lunch. Mr. Green insisted that he continue to teach the way he likes. He is not willing to listen to any advice from me.

I also asked him to remind the grade 9 students to copy down notes. He said “no one tell me what to do. I will not tell them what to do” I have no more advice to give to Mr. Green.


  1. I am unsurprised with that account. It sounds like it fits you to a tee.

    And I know you'll likely deny/justify/downplay it, but really, you've always seen yourself with rose - coloured glasses rather than the way other people see you, so I don't think I'll take your rebuttal seriously.

    And years after the fact, I suspect your personal account of things with show that inflated self-image even more than it did at the time.

  2. Who's arguing with it? I'm just telling you what he said.

    And keep gets worse.

  3. Nothing wrong with posting a comment like that if you have the guts to stand behind it.
    Posting anonymously is chicken shit.

  4. Marty,
    In answer to your Jewish Post question - Fox News make fun of MSNBC all the time. They also constantly point out that FNC has been the top cable news channel, in terms of viewership, for about over a decade & MSNBC is at the bottom and sinking fast. Fox News is a little tedious and repetitious but at least the commentators, though partisan, are upbeat, have senses of humour, and don't take themselves so fucking seriously. I find everyone in the lame stream media nauseatingly self-righteous. And MSNBC is at the bottom of the partisanship barrel. Al Sharpton? Seriously?

    1. I've had the chance to watch a little FOX now and I find that they and MSNBC are like mirror images. I sure don't think MSNBC has any kind of monopoly on self-righteousness. But either way, the polarization of the US is an amazing phenomenon. There's nothing like it in Canada.

      The Oklahoma execution was a case in point. The MSNBC commentators were all on about how they botched the guys execution, and on FOX they were all about how this guy was a brutal killer who deserved what he got either way. There's an interesting sideline about the legal maneuvers that I've posted an article about. It's the next blogpost after this one.

  5. Is anyone else troubled by the clear lack of the grasp of the English language evident in the diary. Was it written by a 5 year old?

    1. Mr. Tram is a young man who immigrated from Vietnam when he was 17 and managed to get a teaching degree, and I find his criticisms of me a little over-the-top. But I wouldn't be too hard on his English.