Students who are loved

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This is TRUTH!  Teachers need to remember this and act on it every hour of every day.  To neglect to do so is one of the greater tragedies of education.  Schools are not factories, they are not meant to be impersonal or to foster a lack of relationships.  Quite the contrary, actually.  #BeTheChange

The Mirror Crack’d

Prompt from The Daily Post: The Mirror Crack’d
You wake up one morning to a world without mirrors. How does your life — from your everyday routines to your perception of yourself — change?

With a Miss Marple title used as prompt, how could I resist?!

Anyway.  Lately, I’ve given a great deal of thought to how perspectives change over time.  I used to look in the mirror and only see negative things: acne, red splotches, cowlicks, dry skin, fat rolls, boogers, squinty eyes, extra neck fat.  I never believed the compliments I received because the mirror don’t lie.

I’m not exactly sure what changed me — probably a combination of getting older, getting my heart broken, and learning to trust again — but now, I don’t trust the mirror.  I listen to what others say and try not to assume that everyone who thinks I’m pretty is a liar (it’s getting easier).

I imagine that if mirrors had disappeared when I was a child, I wouldn’t have had such awkward teenage years.  I probably wouldn’t have fallen for The Douchebag (or any other asshole for that matter) because I would have had a better idea of my own worth.

Without mirrors, I think people would be forced to see themselves through others’ eyes.  And this is not all together a bad thing.

10 books that have stayed with me…

Challenge Accepted! Thank you Laurie Notaro for the post: 

List 12 books that have stayed with you in some way. Don’t take more than a few minutes and don’t think too hard. They do not have to be the “right books” or great works of literature, just ones that have stuck with you in some way. 

Mrs. Crumpett’s List:
1. Mrs. Mike by Benedict and Nancy Freedman 
2. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova 
3. The Call of the Wild by Jack London 
4. Harry Potter and the Halfblood Prince by J.K. Rowling 
5. A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
6. Hamlet by William Shakespeare 
7. Persuasion by Jane Austen 
8. Daniel’s Story by Carol Matas
9. Let the Hurricane Roar/Young Pioneers by Rose Wilder Lane
10. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte 
11. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte
12. Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys

I also highly recommend any of Laurie’s books — my favorite is “I Love Everybody (and Other Atrocious Lies)”.  

Just Swim.

This is one of my favorite quotes. Obviously, it can be generalized to fit anything, but I’ve always thought that it fit education. So many lose the joy of learning too early — thanks to a crappy teacher or a crappy class — and so they’re just going through the motions, earning a “D” (because a D’s passing, Miss!”) but never actually engaging and moving through the difficult times in order to find those greener pastures again.

still goodness

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“Promise me you will not spend so much time treading water and trying to keep your head above the waves that you forget, truly forget, how much you have always loved to swim.”

Tyler Knott Gregson

photo cred: http://littlexfish.blogspot.com/

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Even more balls

I have two brothers and I teach high school.  If I don’t hear about private parts, then I’m not listening.  While I have perfected the art of selective hearing, it’s not as effective as you think.  Two of my favorite funny stories have to do with a group of freshmen I worked with eleven years ago.  

There were ten of them and I would regularly take them another room for reteaching and tests. The school had limited space, so we’d often have to meet in one of the LifeSkills Rooms.  This meant it was full of medicine balls, light switch panels, bean bags, and a collection of tennis and golf balls.  Obviously, the ideal learning environment for a large group of less than motivated high-energy teenage boys.

Fall 2003:
There were enough chairs, but the beanbags and medicine balls were clearly better choices.  We were trying to read “Of Mice and Men” together, but everyone was too distracted by Rusty who was trying to bounce around the room on the medicine ball. After a few requests to sit still, I finally moved him to the other end of the room.  

He was quiet for a few minutes, suspiciously so.  I turned to check on him and found him tossing the tennis balls up in the air.  

Exasperated and with little forethought, I said, “Rusty, if you can’t play with the big balls, what makes you think you can play with the little balls?!”  There was dead silence from the others and Rusty cocked his head to the side and responded, “So I can’t play with any balls at all?”

Winter 2004:
We’re back in the same room, all others are in use.  The tennis balls aren’t there, but someone had bought several more medicine balls for the LifeSkills class (and consequently got rid of a few chairs), so now I had five boys trying to bounce around the room.  

I finally had to banish the medicine balls to the corner of the room and the boys had to sit on the floor, but every time I turned around to write on the board, someone got a ball out and chaos ensued.  It got so bad that I shortened my command to “No Balls” which got a few snickers, but I was beyond pissed at how long it was taking to get the material, so the laughter didn’t last.  

Near the end of the class, after what felt like a million years of taking the balls away, I shouted at them, “I said, ‘No balls!’ What do I have to do, make a t-shirt?!”  There was stunned silence and then I hung my head in surrender and tried to stifle my smile as they roared with laughter.

More Balls

I used to carry fireballs with me at all times.  The kids LOVED them, I mean L-O-V-E-D them.  Every kid called them fireballs; every kid but one.

Student (walking into my room for tutoring): May I have a red ball?

Me: What are you talking about?

Student: You know, your red balls.  I want one of your red balls.

Me: I don’t have red balls. (I inwardly groaned)

Student (blushing, can’t manage a word)

Other student (most critical tone): They are called fireballs.  Mrs. Crumpett is a lady, she don’t got no other kinda balls.