Yesterday I was at the grocery store and saw one of the high school students I worked with earlier this year. He gave me a warm hello and asked how I was doing, at which point I asked him why he wasn’t in school (it was mid-morning). He stammered that he had good grades and ran away. He is a good kid, and it was fun to see him, even if he was supposed to be somewhere else. This encounter got me thinking about some funny things that happened while teaching:
A seventh grade boy who is notorious for not being on task came up to me and asked if he could use the bathroom. He really shouldn’t leave the classroom, but I asked, “On a scale of 1-10, how badly do you need to go?” He was very thoughtful and replied with how many minutes he would need to spend IN the bathrooms, even changing the number to be the most accurate. I did not want all of the details he was relating to me, so I let him go and then had to run into another room to laugh for awhile.
There was a ninth grade boy that brought in a package of oreos one day to class, which isn’t allowed. I had a lot going on and didn’t have time to address the issue, but the rest of the day I was finding oreo pieces all over the classroom. The next day he brought the oreos back and another boy brought a bag of chips. When I went to take them away the boy with the oreos started complaining and I told him about the mess I found all over the classroom the day before. He said he didn’t do it, and his friend next to him became a bit sheepish and admitted to taking handfuls of oreos when he wasn’t looking, crushing them up, and throwing them around the floor. I have NO IDEA what possessed a 15 year old boy to do such a thing, but his friend took care of the rebuking.
This is funny looking back on it, but most certainly wasn’t funny at the time. I had morning sickness the whole time I was student teaching. It was particularly bad while I was at the high school. The computers were in four rows all facing the front of the classroom and each had a large mac monitor. The students were each building their own website and had lots of one on one questions. When a hand would go up I would go to that student and sit or lie on the floor behind them and answer their questions (I knew the problems without looking and had them go through steps to figure it out on their own). They had no idea that I wasn’t intently looking at their screen because they were so focused. I would then crawl to the next student. Those were awesome days!
Best for last: The seventh graders made geodesic domes on their last day of the quarter. After spring break I had new seventh grade students, and the dome was to be a cool decoration. Well in my 7th period class there were a group of ninth grade boys that turned the dome into their fort. They loved sitting in it and made up a password, which they told me so I could be part of their club. It was kind of fun for a couple of days, but one afternoon things got out of hand and when 7th period had left, the dome was in shambles.
The next day after getting the class started on their assignment I asked for the “dome crushers” to remain in the classroom and told the students if they didn’t know what I was talking about, they can get to work. Two boys remained. I told them about how crushed the 7th graders were when they saw the dome and how there were tears and lots of sadness (all a lie since there were new 7th graders, but this plan was cleared with my mentor teacher). I asked them what they thought should be done. They came up with all sorts of creative plans like having me kick them until they cry and then take a picture of them crying to show the 7th graders. We settled on an apology letter to write and I left them to their work. They handed me the following letter (with the same capitalization and spelling errors):
Dear sweet innocent seventh graders
as you are still seventh graders I will not use big words. my friends and I are Deeply sorry for ruining your wonderful Dome. but the thing was the shiz (editors note: that means cool, not swearing). I mean I used it as a secret base. the Password Was hotrod, because that movie is the shiz. as I am writing this I am trying to figure out how to make that [up to you?]. you have our sincerest apologys and I deeply hope that you could find it in your hearts to forgive us. I hope you enjoy my embarassment
They had this great idea to bring donuts for the 7th graders, at which point I begged them not to because I can’t handle 12 year olds on sugar; really I was just covering my tracks :) My mentor teacher and I had great fun with this one!