I want to start out by saying that a student actually gave me an apple today. I’m not kidding. Am I suddenly teaching in an elementary school in Mayberry in the 50s? Not quite, but 9th grade has been a pleasant surprise.
Several factors have made this year a little slice of heaven. The first, 9th graders are kind of precious. They are old enough to be funny, young enough to still have a little baby in them. I dig it. Second, we have a largely new Admin team this year and everyone has come together to crack down on these little darlings big time. We are sequestered on the second floor—it is very peaceful up here. Also, the minute the little rascals hit the top of the steps with their hats, inappropriate t-shirts, crop tops, and sagging pants, they are unceremoniously yanked into the office and dealt with. This usually involves making them wear a really long, ugly t-shirt that leaves them moaning in horror. It is a beautiful thing. Finally, unlike any other grade, the entire 9th grade staff meets as a team twice a week. This is so helpful. In particular, I love how we discuss the kids facing challenges (academically or behaviorally) and then strategize. We have a great group upstairs, including my buddy Mr. B next door, who always fixes my computer, carries heavy things for me, and fills the void that Mr. I left by discussing Howard Stern with me. I also love Mr. J and his endless supply of "Deez Nutz" jokes, which to paraphrase Ferris Bueller, is childish and ridiculous, but then so is high school. Soooo…yes, I apologized to both my department chair and administrator for being a huge whiner about being moved because I really do love it.
I am getting to know my students and for the most part, I was totally in love by the end of week one. I had them fill out a short getting to know you survey and their answers made me laugh, as well as gave me great insight. A few of my favorite answers:
What is the one thing I should know about you in order to be the best teacher I can be for you?
Don’t yell a lot, just when needed. (I really try to never yell. However, it is nice to know that when needed, I have the thumbs up.)
I struggle with school sometimes. (Stuff like this kills me.)
I don’t like to be called on. (Many say this, along with ‘I don’t like to read out loud.’ I honor it for a bit, but typically once they feel comfortable and realize I give out candy for participation, it becomes a non-issue.)
I like to be outside. (Me, too! Let’s start a beach school!)
Inspire me! (No pressure, right?)
What language is spoken at home? (Amazingly, I have learned enough Spanish to make it work when I call home, but I do need a translator for some things.)
Spanglish. (All righty, then.)
Do you have a preferred place to sit in the classroom?
In the middle, so I can have a good vibe with the front and back of the classroom. (I’m not sure what this means, but that’s cool, man.)
I like to sit alone, in a corner. (Awesome.)
X and X don’t like me, please don’t put me near them and let this be our secret. (This is the exact reason I put this question on the survey. Can you imagine being seated next to someone who had tortured you in the past?)
What was the last book you read?
Some book about a rat. (I don’t know why this amuses me so much, but I have been laughing about it for 2 weeks.)
Describe yourself in four words?
Weird. (That’s not four words.)
Learnable, Teachable, Respect, Athletic. (Heavy sigh…)
I need more words. (Well, that is four words.)
Quiet, Outspoken, Mean, Outgoing (This young lady is the one mentioned above that the poor girl doesn’t want to sit next to. I guess she wasn’t being paranoid.)
If you were in a terrible accident, had to have your arm amputated, and the doctor gave you the option of having your arm replaced with a baby-sized arm or a lobster claw, which would you pick and why? (This may seem silly, but it shows me how creative they are. Also, I did not come up with the question. If you are a teacher and you don’t read the blog called Love, Teach, you absolutely must).
Lobster claw. So I can pinch mean people. (If ever there was a good reason to have a lobster claw….)
Lobster claw, so people could be all, “Oh, he’s half lobster!” (I mean, technically, you’d only be like 1/8th at most, but I get your drift.)
I don’t feel comfortable answering this. (This answer made me laugh the hardest. This is an uptight, little, white kid. I’m sure he thinks I’m insane.)
Baby arm, because a lobster claw is weird. (Oh, but a baby arm is perfectly normal.)
Lobster claw, because I can pick up heavy objects and crack peanuts. (Good point. Very practical.)
Baby sized arm, so I can still use it when I dance. (True, but how awesome would it be to have the lobster claw at weddings when they play Rock Lobster?)