Sometimes it’s funny, sometimes not so funny, but it’s never a boring day. These are a few of the most memorable moments from my week.
Last Friday, I thought there was a gas leak in my class. The smell was overpowering, gagging, and I was genuinely worried there would be a problem for the other teachers in classes nearby. My classes were learning about types of narrator that day; basically, it was a note-taking day. I removed all of my students from the classroom, took them to a nearby sitting area outside, and tried (probably ineffectively) to teach them for the remainder of the period. Turns out, it was one of my student’s highlighters. They just smelled super bad.
On Monday, I tried partner reading for the first time: one partner reads while another takes notes. Practically speaking, what does this mean? A lot of voices, a lot of me staring around at kids to make sure they’re working, a lot of me trying to help kids correctly pronounce words like “utensils.” During this, one of my students stopped writing to tell me he wanted to tattoo peace, love, positivity on his arms. (His partner was still reading, of course.) He informed me that he’s a rapper and he wanted to be a different type of rapper and because so many rappers are negative, he wanted to be the positive rapper. He also happens to be the student that is causing problems in every teacher’s class, and is offering me personal information he has offered no other teacher, so I had to decide whether to encourage a conversation that might keep him invested in my class or encourage him to stay focused on the actual work within my class. The result: at some point, I’m going to read a rap he wrote.
On Tuesday, I reminded one of my classes that they were in the lead for the inter-class competition and that, if they kept the cleanest classroom, they would remain in the lead and may possibly one. One boy jumped up while everyone put away their materials, pointing his finger, and shouted, “PENCIL!” at another student. Casual comment to a classmate. So that the class would be clean, you know?
During one of my study halls, a former student came into my classroom to do some work. When I chided her for talking too much, she said she would work because she hated when I stared at her: “Miss, your eyes stare into my soul.”
In the same study hall, a very polite, quiet seventh grader (not my student) asked me if I had any water bottles. He told me he walks three miles to get home, and was so respectful, I walked him up to the front office to see if we had any water bottles. The assistant principal happened to be there, and I told her that the student walks home that long of a distance, to which she replied, “He probably shouldn’t have called the bus driver a ‘fucking cunt,’ then.”
On Thursday, one of my students arrived to class with his mom. She chose to follow him around from class to class, and sit in each class, to watch his behavior. Apparently he’s been disruptive in his other classes (he’s all right in mine). She pulled a chair up right next to his desk and followed along with the lesson, asking him questions and prodding him when he slacked a bit. BRUTAL.
I won a thumb-war competition with one of my students. It was the highlight of my day. I bragged to the class.
Today, I pulled a student aside while he walked into my classroom to ask him why “y’all like butts?” was written on his paper, and to remind him that unless he wants to have another butt-related conversation with his teacher, he should probably remember to use his eraser.