Category Archives: students

Who. Are. You?

It’s crazy that we are in the FOURTH week of school, and no joke, not only do I not know all of my student’s names, but today I looked at a girl sitting in my class and literally thought, “Hm, I have never seen that child before.”

Turns out that she had colored her hair last night, so apparently I did know her, but still…

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Filed under students, Uncategorized

Honestly Unexpected

If you had to give a grade for your behavior and your effort in class yesterday with the sub, what would it be and why?

That was the last question I posed to my students on the pop quiz that followed their day with a substitute.  A day that resulted in 3 pages (yes, she bothered to write three pages)  in red pen detailing the debauchery of my darlings.

I expected a lot of ambitious grades.  I figured I’d get a good mix of “I deserve an A or B all around” with perhaps a few “C’s” thrown in just because some of them may have felt guilty for the apparent ridiculousness that was my day away.

Woah Nelly was I wrong!  These kids were brutally honest.  Many of them gave themselves an F for effort but a B for behavior, with the rational being that even though they did NOTHING, they didn’t bother anyone very much while they were avoiding all things academic.  Some, however, really owned up to their own mess and gave themselves an F for both categories.  I was more than a little surprised at their candor.

Another unexpected bit of fascination was the extensive amount of specificity in terms of their confessions.

“I will give myself a F for my behavior because I was bad because Loudmouth was asking and telling to give him my worksheet but then when I gave it to him the teacher was coming over so I told Loudmouth to give it back and he said no so the teacher told him ‘Give it back to her!’ and when the teacher left Loudmouth said ‘I will give you a dollar if you let me copy your worksheet’ and I said ok but then the teacher came back and Loudmouth gave me back my paper and I left and he screamed at me and I screamed back that I was keeping his money anyways and everyone started laughing and then Sweet Girl was saying that what I did was slime and I think it was a little and I am very sorry for my bad behavior. ”

Way to lay it all out there kiddo.

Clearly I need to have another lesson about the glory of punctuation.

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Filed under Kids say, students

Teachers Do The Strangest Things

Kids, especially middle school kids, are always making strange noises.  They suck their teeth, they hum, they make clicking and licking and slurping sounds just to be gross.  They tap things – their pens, pencils, knuckles, fingers, notebooks, backpack straps, you name it, it can make noise.  It’s a cacophony of sounds on any given day.  Today, I’d just about had it with all that rapping and banging and tapping and smacking, so I stood in the back of the classroom and brawcawed like a chicken (and I make a very realistic chicken if I do say so myself).  They didn’t even notice, which made it all the funnier for me.

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Filed under frustrations, secret lives of teachers, students, Why I heart middle school

Kids say…

“Sometimes I have no idea what teachers are talking about.  Sometimes I just don’t care.”

I asked a student of mine if she wanted to take over my afternoon class for me today since I am super tired, and she responded, “Ok Miss, but you should know that if I do, we are going to have a dance party!”

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YES PECAN!

I know, silly title, but it is in fact the newest Ben & Jerry’s flavor in honor of President Obama.  Check it out here.

We watched the inaguaration in class today and the kids had some really interesting questions like:

*What does the President do when he isn’t president anymore?

*Who moves all the stuff into the White House for the new First Family?

*How much money do you get to be President?

*What is the First Lady supposed to do when the President is working?

*Where do the President’s kids go to school?

I thought they were good questions, some of which I wasn’t sure about the answers to, but we had some good discussion as we waited for the events to begin.

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I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means…

You know how you think you’ve carefully previewed a film that you plan to show class and you are sure that you are aware of all the parts you might need to stop and clarify for them, or parts you might need to fast-forward through, etc?  Yeah, well, if you’re ever showing “7 Alone” (an older movie about a family on the Oregon Trail) you might want to skip the part where the father says to the rambunctious and disobedient son… “Take down your pants!  I’m gonna give you a lickin’ you won’t soon forget!”   The father threatens the kids with ‘a lickin’ on several occasions, and I had already talked to the class about how that just meant a spanking of sorts, but I somehow missed the scene where the pants came down… (just to clarify for those you who may be experiencing summer brain fry, the dad gave him a bare-ass whipping with a belt…)  The students just about lost it at that point and several of them made gross slurping noises until I turned on the lights and stared them down. 

One more week…

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“Biggest Waste Of Time”

Tuesday morning PD.  What a delight.  These are pre-dawn (ok, a slight exaggeration…) so I am still in my caffeine-not-yet-kicked-in-zombie state and don’t typically absorb much of anything that’s going on.  Today, however, one statement made it through loud and clear.

“Every student MUST receive an award at the end of the year celebratory assembly.”

Excuse me?  EVERY student?  Apparently so.  The Almighty Administration’s (AA) position is that every student should receive recognition for something positive that they have accomplished.  Now, I agree that positive reinforcement and praise can go a really long way in terms of motivating a student, but this is taking it way, way, way too far!  The AA claim that an award can be as simple as ‘Best Smile’ or ‘Perfect Hair’.  In my book, those are superlatives and should be left to places like MySpace, Facebook, or to casual ceremonies that can take place within the smaller classroom setting if the teacher so chooses to do so. 

Awards should be for an outstanding accomplishment, preferably something that is difficult to achieve.  The only things that should be recognized in front of the entire school should be the highest academic/artistic/athletic/improvement/attendance achievements.  Meeting high standards should be difficult, and the praise should be there, but how is it meaningful when everyone gets something?  When I got an A in classes where everyone else also got a high grade, it didn’t mean much to me because it didn’t seem like a big deal. I actually tended to think less of that experience since the A’s were just given away willy-nilly.  Yes, I said willy-nilly.  When I EARNED my A because I worked my ass off for it, I got a lot more pleasure and pride from the accomplishment.

Nevertheless, we were required to create lists of possible awards, match them with potential recipients, and turn them in at the end of the meeting.  There are still a large number of students who have not been matched.  I came up with a list of my own for those students, and while clearly I can’t match their names here, rest assured that I have a specific student in mind for each of the following:

“Most days spent in the suspension center – 78”

“Most days absent from 8th grade – 93 (!)”

“Most times urinating/defecating in places other than the toilet”  (I haven’t been able to bring myself to write about it, but it involves radiators and a book bin in the science lab…)

“Most times threatening a teacher without consequence”

“Most fights based on racial motivations”

“Most time spent on office couch complaining of stomach/head/leg/hand/ear/nose/throat ailment”

“Most times calling out with curse words in class”

“Most hours spent pretending to read”

I could do this forever…

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Filed under frustrations, stoopid adults, students