No good, very bad day

In what world is it OK to skip math class to work on science class and then skip government to interrupt your math teacher’s other classes to get help on a concept you would’ve learned had you just stayed where you were supposed to?

In what world is it OK to be on your phone during a test, even if it’s “just to check the time” after the instructor has said repeatedly that being on your phone will result in a zero and then be shocked that your phone is taken and your test is thrown away?

In what world is it OK for you to walk into a room talking to someone you can’t see but once you do see, you see she’s clearly in an important meeting and yet you still continue talking as if you’re the most important person in the universe and then act all hurt when you’re politely asked to wait?

In what world is it OK to not label anything, pick random pages in a notebook to write notes and assignments, sometimes write upside down and backwards and yet still be shocked that your teacher refuses to grade it because you believe “there’s nothing wrong with my organizational skills?”

In what world does an entire class forget a procedure that they are asked to follow at the beginning of the hour E.V.E.R.Y. D.A.M.N. D.A.Y. only when said teacher has projected instructions but wasn’t physically in the room to verbally repeat them?

Asking for a friend. 

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PSA to all teenagers everywhere:

If you say something like “why’s everyone on their period?!” in reference to how peers (and self, if he was honest) were acting all crazy, please expect to have your ass handed to you by a woman.

If you say horribly disrespectful things to another person out of no where based solely on your jealousy of said person, please do not be surprised when others do not take your side at all.

If you say “bring it” or “bring it bitch” to anyone, please expect it to be “brought” with a vengeance. I mean, it’s not like you didn’t ask for it, right?

Definition of Frustration

After being in class every day, a senior turned in a blank test today because (and I quote) “You never told me to take notes, so I didn’t have notes, so I don’t know anything on the test.”

I asked him to leave… and then polled the rest of the class. I do indeed tell them everyday to (and I quote) “write this down.”

My Tangible Reminder

This morning as I was going through the (admittedly boring) class expectations, a young man interrupted me.

He said, “I got your card, Miss.” and then everyone started looking around and saying, “She sent me a card, too.” “Yeah, me, too.” (and so on).

The young man continued, “It meant a lot to me, that you’d think about me over break. I didn’t do anything. I just sat in my room and played video games. I thought that would be a lot of fun, but it really wasn’t. I was really bored! But I did think about you and wondered how you were doing.”

I was kind of stunned; the rest of the class was listening to this young man very intently. I saw a few nods out of my periphery.

You see, this particular young man had a particularly rough transition into high school last year. He and I worked very hard together so that he could be successful in some of his classes. He’d always thanked me and told me I was a “cool teacher,” but nothing like this and nothing this public.

Several in class broke the mood a little by shouting out that “I’m sorry, Miss, but I didn’t think of you at all!”

I laughed. I told them I was touched. I shared that it meant a lot to me that my cards meant something to them. That I do think about them a lot, wonder how they’re doing, and hope that they’re OK.

I then said something stupid: “Wow, usually I get choked up about stuff like this…”

Then I paused, tried to change the subject, and …. got real choked up. Class froze for a minute as I wiped tears from my eyes. No one got up, no one said anything to me, but as I joked about crying in class on the first day, everyone just kind of smiled and nodded quietly. It felt like a big, fat, group hug.

It was definitely the greatest moment of the day, but it is also one of the top greatest moments of my teaching career.

I’m sharing this with you because moments like these prove that it’s the little things that really count, in teaching and in life. Writing those cards cost me very little compared with the reward I experienced with the fifteen people that showed up in my class on the first day. I sent over a hundred cards, so I feel confident that they had similar effect on those kids, too.

It doesn’t take much to build relationships, they just need to know that you’re being real, and that you are personally invested in them. And yes, a handwritten note can help you accomplish this.

I’m also sharing this because, let’s be real, tomorrow or next week, or next month, these same kids will piss me off about something I need to let go of and I’ll need a tangible reminder of what this is really about!

Thinking of my Mom

In the middle of the Algebra 1 quiz this afternoon, a young man looked at me and asked, “Did your mom breastfeed you?”

Now, I’ve been asked weirder questions, but this one is up there! Plus, I wonder what in the hell is in multi-step equations that makes a kid think of my mother’s boobs?!