It seems to me that, if I have to look for examples of how teaching can be such an overload of information and human interactions, the clearest example is of how much I forget. There are so many tiny interactions between my students and I that are either hilarious, strained, bizarre, or otherwise noteworthy, that by the time I reach the end of the day, I’ve forgotten most of them; in another job, any one of those interactions would become the highlight of the day, but in teaching, it’s so common that it’s almost not worth remarking upon. These are some of my favorite student one-liners of the week.
On Monday, when I gave directions on an assignment, I specifically asked students to not answer the multiple-choice questions. I repeated it several times. Too many times, really. While walking around later in the lesson, I saw that a student had finished the multiple-choice questions. I asked him why they were finished. He flipped the paper upside down, wiggled his fingers at me, and said, “You didn’t see anythiiiinng. Your glasses need cleaniiiinnng.”
In one of my classes, an eighth grader teacher walked silently in my room as I was teaching my class, and she put a post-it note on my desk. When I went over to read the note, I saw that it was from two former students: We see you while we’re in our class! We miss you! Hope you’re doing okay with your new troublemakers!
On Wednesday, a kid asked me if my necklace – a stone with a carving in it from my travels to Chile – was a “pirate necklace.”
On Thursday, I hosted study hall. Every time one of my students goofed off or got a little rowdy, I’d turn to the nearest student and joke, “do you see what I’ve got to deal with here?” By the end, I let it fall apart, and allowed my former students to draw all over my white board. It was loud. It was rowdy. Nothing was productive. A nice, polite student turned to me, and very quietly says, “Miss, you do have a lot to deal with.”
Today, in my last class, I saw a former student doing work outside of another teacher’s classroom. I snuck over to her and gave her a lollipop, then returned to my class. Ten minutes later, I glanced over at the window of my classroom and saw a sign propped up to face me: “Can her teacher have a lollipop, too, please?”
It’s the little things, really.