Teacher (teasing): You should try to lessen the stress in Mrs. Crumpett’s life.
Me: (Wild gesticulating, encouraging the student to agree)
Student (thinks about it for a minute): Nah. She irritates me, too!
Me (Laughing, to the teacher): See what I’m talking about?
Two kids have joined me for lunch. It was pretty noisy in the room, so I’m not sure I caught the whole conversation, but I think I captured the spirit of it:
Student 1: (belching softly, not into the face of Student 2) Excuse me.
Student 2 (angry): THAT’S DISGUSTING!
Student 1 (a little hurt): I’m sorry, I couldn’t help it.
Student 2 (angrier): GET AWAY FROM ME!
Student 1 (surprised): What? I said ‘excuse me!’
Student 2: IT’S REALLY JUST FARTING OUT OF YOUR MOUTH!
We finished Act 3 the other day. All the kids were disturbed by Hamlet’s turn on Ophelia, but they were not really prepared for his tirade against Gertrude.
We get to the point, after Polonius is dead, when Hamlet sees his father and does an abrupt switch from madness to docility (“How are you, mother?”) and then one student starts singing, “You look like an angel, walk like an angel, talk like an angel, but I got wise… you’re the devil in disguise…”
I think I said something like, “You know, Hamlet does need a little more Elvis.” She looked at me, bemused, “I didn’t even know I was singing it out loud…” I said, “That’s OK. I don’t know which is more exciting: that I know the songs my students sing in class or that there are still teenagers who like AC/DC and Elvis!”
And to end the night… the most boring part of teaching on the first day is giving the same speech to every class. “Be on time. Be respectful. Do your work” etc.
But what made the first day of school awesome was one of my juniors spiced up my monologue on attendance by firmly announcing (preaching, really) to the class “Don’t disrespect yourself by being late. We’re here to learn!”
My seniors finally figured out that I have tattoos (they’re not that well hidden)… it’s nice to know my faith in their observation skills are not misplaced. I really hope I never choke or have a seizure in their presence. I’ll probably just get yelled at for not hearing their demand for bathroom passes.
When one young lady found out that I planned to add to the ink until it becomes a sleeve, she gave me a solemn warning:
Student: You know it’s permanent, right?
Student: You know you’ll have it when you’re old, right?
Me: Mmm hmm.
Student: I mean, when you’re really old [she gestured to her arm and mimicked saggy skin] it will still be there.
Me: I know. I’ve thought this through, kiddo.
Student (relieved): I plan to get one as soon as I graduate (and then she described this elaborate design idea for her shoulder and back)
So this kid kept asking me to prom.
One day he asked me again and when I said no, but he was pretty persistent. His argument was “But there’s going to be food!”
To which I said, “Food’s in prison, too, and like prom with you, I have no desire to go.”
Yesterday, I told my students it was Teacher Appreciation Day and asked them what they got me. I then had to reject a bunch of half eaten lunches and mostly empty chip bags. Yep, I’m the ungrateful one!
I spoke at length with one of my sophomores who shared with me that he was almost arrested yesterday. He said he was going to fight another young man for calling him “short.” He said he needed the other boy to know he wasn’t weak. I asked him (understand that he is 5 foot 1 inch of pure machismo) if he planned to fight everyone who called him “short.” He adamantly assured me that he would because no one can “talk shit” and get away with it. I asked him if he knew how much energy it would take to fight all these people, but he didn’t care. They need to know he’s not weak.