how teachers get through their days.

As you all know, I'm a teacher. Most days this means being slapped in the face by my own impatience,or my lack of compassion. Some days this means being inspired by 13 to 14 year olds. Some days this means metaphorically grasping each others hands and bravely attempting to fix comma splices and figure out the difference between adverbs and adjectives. Other days this means gritting my teeth, holding back my honest "how-in-the-world-can-you-not-know-this-by-now-you're-an-eighth-grader-AND-I've-gone-over-this-at-least-2,483-times-this-year" and teaching them the difference between there, their, and they're ONE more ever-loving time.

But EVERY day being a teacher means laughing. I don't
think I have ever walked into my school building [even when it was "one-of-those-days"] and by 3:30 not laughed out loud, or at least suppressed a laugh or two. Which is a definite perk.

Well, whether we teachers like this or not, a lot of times our laughter is brought on by our students. Sometimes this is "i'm-laughing-with-the-class-at-our-little-joke-we-just-made" laugh. Other times it is an "oh-fred-you're-such-a-class-clown-but-that-is-why-we-love-you-la
ugh." I love the times when it is a "holy-smokes-you're-reading-your-writing-and-it-is-creative-and-HILARIOUS-and-well-done" laugh. Sometimes it is because, like yesterday, a student has decided to use his writer's notebook time and write a rap, and then wants to share it with the class. I of course make him stand up and "lay down a mad beat" while he raps, and we all enjoy a good laugh and as he raps, "My rhymes are like chips, they leave you with ripples..." I live in the moment and throw back my head in a "see-how-much-fun-school-can-really-be" laugh.

But other times...oh those other times... we have to laugh at our students to make it through our day. Of course, we would never laugh in their face. Oh no. Never. Because we teachers have firm resolve and the toughest of wills. Yes, one of my dirty little secrets is
that I almost prefer the "i-will-grit-my-teeth-and-clinch-my-fists-and-think-of-dead-kittens-right-now-so-i-don't-laugh-out-loud-only-to-know-that-i-will-indulge-greatly-in-a-fit-of-laughter-by-myself-or-with-my-beloved-colleagues-later" laugh. Okay. It's out. I'm an awful person. But I don't know how else I would survive when students say the things they do. I see it almost as a loving parent, who truly and deeply cares for their child, but has to laugh at his or her weaker moments sometimes. [Please stop judging me. I'm a good teacher. And person. And I'm a Christian.]

That being said, here is how I got through today.

[To understand this story you must know I have one block of students that are my "collaborative" students. Which means, they have special learning plans and our special ed/collab teacher is in the room with me and we teach cooperatively] First, I noticed the w
riter's notebooks in their crates in the back of my classroom. I had to chuckle under my breath and then I called our co-lab/special ed teacher to come look. She walked in the door, I pointed to the notebooks, and she burst into laughter. [Can you pick out the class for which she joins me?]

Second: Here were some of the responses I got when I asked these particular students, [who, may I wholeheartedly remind you, I love deeply] to look at their writer's notebook and "reflect" about their writing. There were 3 activities: Activity 1 they were asked to look through their notebooks and reflect on their growth as a writer this year.;Activity 2 they were asked to picture themselves reading their writing to a crowd of people they don't know, and to reflect on how that crowd would view them as a writer; and Activity 3 they were asked to write a note to me explaining how they felt they had grown as a writer, or why they felt they hadn't grown as a writer and why.

Here are some of the best responses. And please note,
all of their spelling is included [my helpful hints in brackets where needed]:

--People would know that I writt about how I fell in love, And finding true love, so I am a love or ramance writter. I feel at home when I writ or read about love, romance, And I like to tell people that one day they will find there true love just like I have. But for them it may not be at such an erley age like me.

--In response to Activty 2, which I'm fairly certain reveals this girl did not completely understand the activity: "I would probably be really nervose."

--I read my very furist [first] story and to be ewist [honest] it was realy bad I read it and most of it didnt make much sence. My story that I creat are all made by me they arnt stolen work. I have grown as a writer sinfactacly [significantly]. My writeing in the past realy even didnt make any sence...now I dont see alsomst my mustacks [ironically, mistakes].

--I have improve in my writings in many was [ways]. There are times that none of it made any sence at all. I write a lot about romans [yes folks, that is romance], and about stuff happness in real life.

--They would think like he knows alot of stuff about sports. They would also say i am humors to.

--[Yesterday we talked about psuedonyms] He signed his name and then in parenthesis wrote "Homer J. Simpson"

--I have got better at vocabulay and grammar. What impress me is how I write.

--I think that my writing has improved alot since the beggining of the year. In the beggining it was really sloppy and now its still sloppy but in a professional way. I think that it isent so much sloppy. My spelling is good compared to average. I don't think [I] just write and hope it is good enough.

--What specifically impresses me about my right is the vocab words that I use in them writing pieces.

And last, but my favorites:

--I have seen my self grow by my gramer is getting alot better, and I am also writeing alot more. My writing is getting longer by a lot. As a writer my strongest points are my spelling and writeing. [I can't make this stuff up!]

--I am the writer who says what most be said. The writer who shows there not allways a happy ending, but also say there is (some) light in the dark. I will show every posiblaty [possibility]. I am going to write many books when I am older so this is helping.

--In the beginning, I was writing alot in my journal [clarification: he topped out averaging about 3 sentences a day], but now, on recent journals, I have not have a lot of ideas to write down. [And the next two activities were blank].

Like I said, if I don't laugh, I will cry. One thing though, for the most part, they weren't lying when they said they were improving [believe it or not...]. It is frustrating, but I will take cues from the soon to be author and agree that there is some light in the dark.


Aunt Linda said...

Both funny and sad at the same time. You middle school teachers all deserve "the gold!"

*carrie* said...

Laughed out loud when the student said his or her strongest points were speling and writeing. Hilarious!

Kali said...

I personally would love to hear Homer J. Simpson's take on romance at such an early age.

Oh. my. gosh. HILARIOUS! And that picture is priceless.

Anonymous said...

This is a great reminder of why I teach. I loved teaching some of those same students...you dont even have to tell me the names. Ahh, Kulcey. You truley are the gooder teacher and makes me smile alot.