Yesterday I got a new student. New students are common after breaks, and near semesters, but fairly uncommon this time of year.
I have been blessed in my two years of teaching, with the exception of one student who stayed for three days before he pulled a pocket knife, I've got great kids.
I've had a total 3 "new kids" in my two years. Two of them have been transfered from a difference 6th grade class, and one moved back from fifth grade. All of them have fit into my class seamlessly. I feel thankful for them being placed in my class, even though the day I get them is always hectic and stressful.
It's the small things. Really.
HL, HP, and CW -Welcome, glad you're here, you make our class whole.
That's what one of my students asked me yesterday.
---What makes you think I'm sick? Is it the fact that I can't speak more then 4 sentences without coughing, or I have to blow my nose during the spelling pre-test? Did I tip you off that I lost my voice during the read aloud? I can't talk loud enough to talk over you, so I sit by the clock and count seconds until you notice that I'm trying to get your attention. I guess you noticed because I have been squeezing my head, because of a headache, more than normal.
---So why don't we have a sub, you ask. Because dear 6th grader, If I were to get a sub, I would have to plan out many more lessons, make many more copies, grade many more papers then usual. I would also have to deal with more behavior and respect problems, other teachers giving me looks for skipping out on my duties, and a sub that leaves a report telling me you're all hyper, disrespectful, and can't stay on task. Does that sound like something you want to do when you're not feeling well?
--So I'm here at school today, don't worry you won't catch my cold. You probably gave it to me. I know how to cover my cough, wash my hands, and not share food. I can keep my germs to myself. So please talk a little less, listen a little more, and grab a tissue for me.
So I've always heard the phrase, real friends tell. Mostly when it comes to telling your friend something awkward or embarrassing. Like when my husband has a bugger in his nose, or when an 11 year old boy has his zipper open, or you can see panties through a skirt. Things like that. So today I walk into my class and take my coat off. (It was a cool morning, so I'd had my jacket on til around 9 am)
A few moments later, H walks up to me and says, Mrs. H is your shirt on inside out? It takes me a moment to realize that she is not trying to pull one over on me. I glance down, my shirt appears the same on the outside and on the inside with the exception the seams show. There is no tag, to other give-aways. Sure enough, my shirt is on inside out.
I quickly take the moment to teach my students things that only weird situations can bring on. I show them how to handle embarrassment. I tell H that I planned that to see how observant they are, and begin a contest of how many people mention to me that my shirt is on inside out. She, and all my other students thought this was a great idea.
But on a serious note, in their lives embarrassing things happen, they and if they can learn to laugh at themselves, other will laugh with them, instead of at them.
P.S. H was the only person who told me today, that my shirt was on backwards...thanks Mrs. M and Mrs. W!
With V-day coming up, I've been surrounded by people who either love or hate this holiday.
Valentine's Day in the 6th grade:
Today I had 12 year olds receive flowers, candy, and valentines from their significant others. Today I had 12 year olds wear anti-Valentine's Day shirts.
Today I had 12 year olds tell me they loved electronics.
Today I had 12 year olds tell me they loved other 12 year olds.
It amazes me how much love changes as we do. I remember my first little "boyfriend". His name is Nick, and we were 6. I'm pretty sure I told my mom I loved him. And -gasp- I kissed him!
* I am happy to report that Nick is happily married to an awesome girl, and has a sweet little boy.*
As I grew up, there were boys that I was interested in, but I'm positive I never told anyone that I loved a boy from the age of 7 to probably about 15. When I was 15 I would have told you I loved around six boys...but only as friends. I truly did.
Then there is Trevor. My love for Trev changed over the years. It went from a figment of my imagination, to an interest in friendship, to a love of friendship, to a young romance, and now we share a two year of marriage, you're my other half love.
So two days before the big V, I can tell you this: I LOVE teaching, expanding, investing, and frustrating my 25 amazing 11 year olds, who are experiencing their own level of love.
And I Love my husband, the most sincere, honest, humble, forgiving, even-keel, funny man I know.
Fifty six = more then me and Michael's ages added together
Fifty six = the year my aunt was born
Fifty six = the age I am going to be when I'm eligible to retire from teaching.
I came to this realization today. Years taught + real age = 90.
Fifty six is older then either of my parents. Fifty six is over thirty years away. Fifty six seems so far away. Fifty six.... I don't know how much energy I'm going to have then. Fifty six seems like a grandma age. Fifty six...
Our new counselor, Mrs. 'Old-School' was in my room yesterday. Now, understand I don't have anything against her, well not much anyways. I know a lot about teaching has changed in the last say...40 years...
Anyway, she is very tough, and likes to make sure the students are doing exactly what she says, and writing exactly what she's written....word. for. word.
Besides that, she sometimes interrupts then before they are done speaking, and she discourages their individualism, and it's her way or the high way.
That being said, I'm thankful that she comes once every two weeks, to share a life skill lesson so that I don't have to write a lesson plan, deliver the lesson, answer questions, grade the papers, enter the grades. Okay, okay back to the story.
Mrs. O-S is in my room lecturing about different ways to handle conflict. She is instructing the students to fill in pages in the work book, keep their head up, pay attention, and on and on. Meanwhile, she is walking around the room. As she walks past my desk I hear a psh psh psh psh sound every time she walks.
Student playing in their desk?
Student making noise with their mouth?
What IS that noise? I look up to see if my students are playing around, and I notice them covering their mouths, with red faces. Then I realize what is going on....
This story is about one of my all time favorite students, if I had favorite students. But being a completely perfect teacher, I don't. :)
Anyway, I remember meeting Shelby when she walked into my room with her mom for meet the teacher. She was dressed in boy-length sport shorts, a tee-shirt, and flip flops. Her hair was straight down, and about shoulder length. She looked tough and strong, and I listened as her mom told me of a fight she was in last year, where she took a punch. If you are getting the idea of a tough kid, you are seeing this correctly. If you are thinking bully, you're completely off.
Towards the end of the year, my class each made quilt pieces, and I sewed them together to make a class quilt. So when we were finished with our project we had extra embroidery thread. Being a camp girl at heart, I showed my students how to make a variety of string bracelets and necklaces. I made an example and eventually let Shelby have it. Little did I know the impact it would have on me, later.
So the year ends, Shelby moves to Jr. High, and I see her when I go to Jr. High sporting events. The first time I saw her she runs up, yells my name and gives me a hug. The first thing she shows me is how she is still wearing her necklace. (It had been on for a total of 5 months at this point)
The next time I see Shelby is at a basketball game, having hurt her knee she couldn't play in the game, so she sat by me on the bleachers. It amazes me the changes in this kid in a year. She dons dress pants, and a pink shirt, dress shoes, a little make-up, and a nice hair-do. Then she recalls a story that happened at the last basketball game. The refs wouldn't let her play with the necklace on. She fought it a little, since it's just string, but in the end they made her cut it off. It occurs to me, I hadn't really remembered that she still had it. (now 11 months) So I didn't notice when she wasn't wearing it. She quickly brought me back to reality by lifting up her pant leg and showing me her ankle where the necklace had been tied. I'm pretty sure it choked me up a little.
Being a teacher is sometimes and thank-less job. But there are students sometimes who are wise beyond their years and appreciate the hard work that goes into their education. Shelby will always be a bright spot in my teaching career.
Shelby- I am so proud of the person you are, keep fighting for what you believe. Continue to make good choices and grades...you are going to soar Shelb! Thanks for helping me remember what is important.
Hi 12 year old. YEah, you I see you playing in your desk while i'm teaching. Even though I see you messing around, I will still answer your question when you come and ask it. I will try not to mention I just covered that exact thing.
I want you to know that you are not always a joy to be around. Sometimes you leave papers on the ground, sometimes you lie to me about turning in your work, and sometimes you tease your classmates and make my life more difficult. I want you to know despite all that, I still show up every day to try to expand your mind.
I know you are tired some mornings, I am too. I know that sometimes things go on at home that affect your day at school. I understand, I have a life outside of school too. If you give me a break sometimes, I'll give you one in return.
I really do want you to succeed. That's why sometimes I have to give you consequences when you don't do an assignment well, or when you don't treat your classmates with respect. It's not because I don't like you, or are picking on you. It's hard on me when you get mad and refuse to answer or participate. I know that you will get over it, even if it takes you posting on your Myspace that I'm a witch!
I hope someday when you interact with 12 year olds, you will remember how I treated you. That I treated you fairly, began each day with you new, and cared for you even though you might roll your eyes, or shrug your shoulders at me. I know 12 is a tough age. So is 24. I'm not so far away from when I was 12 and you aren't so far away from being 24, and adult with responsibilities, So I will try to prepare you the best I can.
A boy walked through my door last year, first day of school. He had showed up to meet the teacher day, with his older brother. Nothing about him stood out to me, as a first year teacher, I was just taking it all in stride. For some reason, maybe some higher power, I picked this student to be my first "helper of the day." This included running errands, leading the pledge, other small things.
Okay, fast forward to first parent teacher conference. I met mom. Within moments the mother sat there before me crying about how her son loved school, and how she was so happy.
Great, I thought, that's what any teacher loves to hear. But she went on, this student was heavily medicated last year for anxiety, bi-polor, and social disorders. He literally spent hours a day in the counselors office. WHAT?!!? (that would have been good information to know at the beginning of the year)
So all in all my year with J was overall a joy-filled, learning, stretching, growing, year. There were some days when he would feel alone, if his friends were leaving him out, but nothing major.
Tonight I went and watched him play 7th grade basketball. He rushed up to me before the game, (I was standing by his coach) When his coach asked what he needed, he said he just came to see his best teacher. As I watched him own that court later in the evening, I couldn't help but swell up with pride at the young man he became.
J, I can't wait to see you go to high school, and beyond. Keep following your heart, it's a good one.
I know it's wet, cold, slippery and intimidating... however it's just snow
Snow is not a good reason to keep your child at home.
Did you know I have a mere two months to prepare your child for their state testing? I have exactly 47 days until the state of OK is going to judge my ability as a teacher on their scores. The state doesn't care if you want to drive on snow, or not. I do care about their safety, and yours of course. With that being said, please send your student to school.