Category Archives: goofball

So far…

so good…

It’s been a fairly smooth opening to the school year.  Watch, tomorrow will be a horrible meltdown now that I’ve put that out in the universe.

I have a lot of feisty munchkins, but so far, no major meltdowns.  Much to my relief, I actually like my homeroom quite a lot.  There are way more boys than girls, which changes the atmosphere considerably.  The boys are super “little boy”-ish this year – a welcome change from the “tough guy” crap of years past.  They are also bright and quick and actually have some skills.  Most of them seem to already realize that Texas is not a continent, and I’ll just call that a small miracle.

There’s a new favorite already…  He’s another tiny little boy, (remember Twitch? Goofball? Speedy G?) and he’s super naughty.  The Almighty Administration actually warned me about him and I believe they used the words “spawned from the devil”.  I’ve always been drawn to the bad boys, and this one is a squirrelly, slippery, sneaky little weasel who has already learned to charm people but has tantrums when it doesn’t work.  He is also a master-distracter in training.  In the middle of a writing mini-lesson he pipes up with “Miss!  What do you know about the Bermuda Triangle?” as if he expects me to drop my overhead marker and exclaim, “My! What an amazing question!  I know quite a bit about the Bermuda Triangle, let me tell you all about it!” thus rescuing him from having to actually write something. Much to his dismay I refused to skip a beat, and he did indeed produce some writing. 

These little attempts at distraction happen 15-20 times in a 90 minute class, and I’m sure he’s wondering when he’s going to wear me down.  The thing is, he’s a button pusher, and he knows it, but so do I.  He is trying to find my breaking point and I am simply going to remain as calm as possible until HE breaks. Ok, that and I am going to just be stranger than he is.  That’s the plan anyways in my current zen-like state.  That, and I am going to love the hell out of him (in totally appropriate ways obviously) because he seems to have no actual parents.  If he does, nobody can find them. If I have melted down completely by mid-October I’m going to need somebody to please remind me to re-read this post and stay strong. For now though, the strategy is working quite well.  He tried a different mode of attack today and told me I was an illegal alien and that I should be sent to prison.  I’m sure he was expecting a lecture of some sort about rudeness and accusation and not being judgemental but instead, again much to his dismay, I simply winked, held out my wrists and told him he was welcome to make a citizens arrest.  He was totally confused.

When he’s not attempting to be a pest, he’s actually really darling.  He came leaping into the room the other day after lunch, bounced right up to me, stretched out his armed and crowed “Honey! I’m hooooome!”.  Like I said, he’s my new favorite.  It gets better.  I truly wish I could tell you his real name because it’s HYSTERICAL.  It’s an adjective.  A fantastically amusing adjective because it is the antithesis of his personality.  From here on out I am going to call him…Glorious.

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Something in Your Eye?

It’s been one of those days. I had a good lesson, but it required a ton of stuff, including a whole set of copies I somehow left in the copy room. During my prep I was racing around trying to get everything together and as I was walking down the hall in the 8th grade wing I heard a ‘PPSSTT!!!’

I had just passed a classroom and so I backed up a few steps to see where the hissing came from.

Imagine my suprise when I see Goofball peering out the door at me. He simply grinned, winked, (yes, that’s right, I got winked at by a 13 year old) and went back to work.

That kid has some cahones! Good thing he’s too silly and miniature to be creepy.

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The Final Word

I never wrote about it, but all year long Goofball had a big problem with gas. When I say big, I mean the kid produced an ENORMOUS amount of gas, and it stunk – that whole ‘silent but deadly’ kind. For a while it was so bad that it was like being smoked out of a room. I have a plant in the classroom and back in March or April I had forgotten to water it for a while so it was looking very limp. One of the kids asked me what was wrong with it and right at that moment Goofball let another one rip and I calmly replied “THAT’s the problem…” The kids were in hysterics over that and I ended up having to tell him that if he needed to break wind during class he should just step out into the hall for a moment.

Today, during the party, I had the kids sign my yearbook and I got a whole slew of ‘Have a great summer!”, “I will miss you next year!” and “Don’t forget me!” comments. My favorite though came from (of course) Goofball. He simply drew a cloud, signed his name inside, and underneath it he wrote ‘fart’…so completely perfect! I’m seriously going to miss that kid.

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City Slickers

I don’t know why I am still a little surprised every time one of my students asks me something about the country (not the nation, the countryside, fresh air, etc). Most of my students have never left the island of Manhattan, some of them haven’t even been outside of the neighborhood more than a few times. This would explain their complete and total bewilderment when we talk about life on the prairie. We are smack in the middle of Westward Expansion, and we are spending a considerable amount of time looking at the journey west and the whole pioneer/forty-niner/wagon train stuff.

I grew up mere moments from one of the mid-points on the Oregon Trail, and I have some really cool pictures of the Rocky Mountains and a bunch of the grasslands. Some of them are totally amazed, and others promptly declared the mountains ‘mad boring’. In an attempt to help them get a better picture of what life was like at that time I gave them a little story about being on the wagon trail. I made a mini-glossary to go with it, but it didn’t occur to me to include the word ‘brook’. I added it to the list of new vocab after the 15th or 16th student asked me what that was. I also got a kid who didn’t know what a pine needle was. That was a little shocking.

In the afternoon Goofball asked the following question.

“Miss, if them people knew they was gonna be gone so long and needed foods, why they not just put a frozen animal in the wagon so they could eat for a long time?”

I found this to be a fascinating question, and had to remind him about the lack of electricity to run a freezer in this time period…let alone one that would be able to fit in a wagon. It also struck me that he said ‘animal’, not chicken, beef, meat etc. He told me that he envisioned a full animal, an ox perhaps (which I had to show him a few pictures of since he was just saying “them things that be pullin’ the wagons”) or maybe a few goats. He said he knew it wouldn’t be all packaged up, so he figured it would just be whole and they would cut bits off as they needed.

I can’t wait for our school trip to the mountains in Pennsylvania in a few weeks. These city kids need to see a bit of nature.

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Young Love…

It’s finally happened. The romance that has been brewing between Goofball and Attitude Girl for the last 9 months has blossomed into full-blown ‘boyfriend and girlfriend’ status. I caught them kissing in the stairwell by the nurse’s office this afternoon. I broke it up and threatened that if I ever again saw so much as the slightest puckering of lips on school property I would drag both of their grandmothers in and describe their naughty doings in explicit detail. They stayed away from each other for the rest of the day. I feel slightly hypocritical doing this since I was busted in the band stairwell making out with Blake M. (resident middle school bad-boy) when I was in 8th grade. Whatever. I’m obligated since I am, after all, a “responsible adult”.

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So Close To JUNE!!!!!!

Must survive until the end of May….

I swear, this is the hardest month. I am sleepy and have very little to write at the moment. The only entertainment from the students has come from (shocker) Goofball, who hid behind one of the classroom closet doors and made weird growling animal noises for 20 minutes this afternoon. I ignored it for as long as possible and finally squirted him with the water bottle that I use to clean my transparency sheets. He wasn’t nearly as amused by that as I was.

We have a science fair coming up soon and lets just say I am thanking the Education God that I am not a science teacher right now. There are all kinds of people from the region and different schools coming to be guest judges and this is causing a great deal of stress for the science staff. I’ve been trying to help the kids get the writing part of their projects done, we’ll see how it all turns out. Perhaps if I’m motivated I’ll post some pictures.

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Kings of Mischief

A lot of people can’t deal with middle school kids. I can see why…they are totally crazy. The thing is, the are also hilarious. The boys especially are a ridiculous mix of immaturity and machismo. Today, it was the immaturity that won out, but in a rather amusing manner.

We were mid-poetry lesson (using repetition in our poems) when Goofball started waving frantically at me. He has a hard time writing poems, so I assumed he just needed a boost.
I get to the table and he tells me is is super hot and may he go to the bathroom to get some paper towels. He looks like his face is covered in sweat, but it wasn’t that hot in the room. I have some boys that are profuse sweaters, but none of them seemed hot, so I asked him if he was feeling ok. He said he was, just that he was hot. The thing is, he had a little bit of a glint in his eye, which led me to believe he was up to something. I started looking at the other kids at his table, but all of them were doing their best to avoid eye contact. At this point I was convinced that he was up to something but I couldn’t figure out how he got the “sweat” on his face. Nobody had a water bottle near him, and it was little beads of water, so it wasn’t like he could have splashed himself with something. I gave him some tissue and my best “I’ll be watching you” look and went back to the lesson.

A few minutes later I hear a ‘FffppsshhtFffppshhhtt” coming from the back of the room. I whipped around in time to see Goofball slip something into his pocket. Sure enough, I get back there and he’s soaking wet again. I hold my hand out and he bursts into a fit of giggles and hands his secret over. It was a teeny-tiny little spray bottle that he had filled with water.

He came to me at lunch to ask for the bottle back and naturally I asked him what the heck he had it for in the first place. I should probably mention that he is trying to grow his hair out. He has a little mini-Afro thing going on at the moment. In any case, his response was,

“I need it fo my hair! I gots to spray it so it stays nice and moisturized so I can get the girls to be dubbin’ on it! I didn’t mean to be sprayin‘ my face at first, but I missed and they said it looked like sweat so I just thought…”

I cut him off and handed him back his sprayer after a little talk on appropriate times to spray his head. On his way out he turned to face me, spritzed some water in his mouth, and bounced off.

In the afternoon I have a student, Munchkin, who I am constantly amused by. I’m not sure why I haven’t written about him, but he cracks me up. He’s very small and has only been in the US for about 3 years, so he has a very thick accent. He talks CONSTANTLY in class, which gets him into a fair amount of trouble, but he has a funny little grin and takes his punishment without argument so he’s really more amusing than anything. Once the science teacher had him write “I will not talk in class” 50 times as a punishment for talking too much (obviously). I don’t use that kind of discipline, but this teacher is old school like that. In any case, I made some comment about it to him and he just grinned and said “Oh, it not that bad, in Honduras my teacha made me write it fife thousan time!” I hope he was exaggerating.

Today I was doing the same poetry lesson (about repetition) that I had done with Goofball’s class. I was reading a poem that repeats the word ‘two’ a whole bunch of times. When I was done reading Munchkin perked up a little and went “Choo Choo Choo!!! It sound like a train Ms. M!”

The class completely dissolved into laughter and about the only thing I could do was reply,”Yes Munchkin, that would be the sound a train makes.”

A little while later they were supposed to be working on revising some poems but he was fidgeting and had pulled his head all the way inside his shirt so only his hair and part of his forehead was sticking out. Keep in mind I was standing about 3 feet away from him. I turned and just stared at him for a moment until he figured out that the snickering coming from the rest of his table was aimed at him. His head slowly re-appeared. He just scrunched up his eyes, and said, “Oh! Sorry Miss!” and studiously picked up his pencil. Things like this happen three or 4 times per class with him, but he always finishes his work, he asks for help when he needs it, and he calls me at least 3 or 4 times a week for homework help. Unless he’s causing a huge disruption I just let it all slide.

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