School is Back in Session

Hello everybody. Did you miss me? It’s 3 weeks into the school year, and I am just now getting around to posting.

To kick of Classroom Confessions, for the 2011-2012 school year, I have decided to do a reflective post; give you all some background information.

10 years.  That’s how many years of teaching I have under my belt. Looking back, I am overwhelmed by what I have experienced since the 1st day I stepped into the classroom. Keep in mind, I am not a math teacher, but here are a few rough guesstimates:

  • I have been a full-time teacher in the same middle school for my entire teaching career. This is pretty rare these days. Including myself, there are only 6 teachers in my building who have been there my full ten years.
  • I have taught classes ranging from 13 students to 35 students for a grand total of 1,100 students. (The number may be a little off due to the fact that I had some students as 6th graders, then again as 8th graders.)
  • I have had years where I taught one subject all day.
  • I have had years where I taught 6 subjects a day: Homeroom (it met every day for 30 minutes so I HAD to plan something to prevent utter chaos so I count it as a “subject”), 8th grade Enrichment (this was a literacy based class that was taught in addition to the standard Reading and Language Arts classes and, as an added bonus, came with no curriculum or teaching materials), 6th grade Writer’s Workshop (which again was a made up class taught in addition to Reading and Language Arts that also came with no curriculum or teaching materials), 8th Grade Reading, 8th Grade Language Arts, and 6th Grade Enrichment (another made up class). My favorite thing about that year, which, in case I forgot to mention, was my 1st year of teaching and I had been hired just two days before school started, was the fact that I could not repeat activities or lessons because some kids I had 3 times a day for different classes.
  • I have moved classrooms 5 times. (The last move occurred 3 days into the school year when the neighboring math teacher offered to trade rooms with me when we discovered that I had class sizes in the mid 30’s compared to his mid 20’s, and I was in a room half the size of his. All of my desks were full, and I had 5 kids who sat on the floor in the corner while I stationed myself in one corner, while my co-teacher stationed himself in the opposite corner.
  • I’ve taught in a classroom where we could tell it was raining because we could hear it on the roof.
  • I’ve taught in a classroom where we could tell it was raining because we could see it out the window.
  • I’ve taught in a classroom where we could tell it was raining because it rained inside the classroom. This is the room I am in now.  Sadly, it is also one of the best rooms in the building.
  • I have taught in a room with one piece of technology: an overhead projector.
  • I have taught in a room with an Elmo, an Infocus projector, and five student computers.
  • I have taught with power.
  • I have taught without power.  Those days were my favorites. I would make my class take their books to the front lobby, because my room had no windows and who knows what middle school kids would do to each other in the dark, and we would sit on the floor by a window and read. Surprisingly, the kids actually liked it and rarely complained. These were also the days when our principal would run around with a flashlight relaying important messages such as, “The power is out. It looks like the whole block is out. You’ll know when the power comes back on because I’ll send out an email.” (Or we could just use our magic eyeballs…)
  • I have farted in front of my students once.
  • I have walked through a student’s fart cloud a heck of a lot more times than that.
  • I have taken roughly 7 sick days. I HATE making sub plans. I’d rather show up wearing a puke bucket around my neck than make sub plans.
  • I have missed one day due to sleeping through my alarm. (That was when I worked a second job at Barnes & Noble and the store stayed open until 11.)
  • I have broken up 9 fights.
  • I have taught under a principal that doesn’t “do crazy”. Seriously. That’s how she kicked off a staff meeting one year. “My name is —-and I don’t do crazy.” Which was a relief because…
  • I have taught under a principal that WAS crazy. Those stories will come at a later date.
  • I have hosted 4 Talent Shows.
  • I have hidden from a staff member by crawling under my desk once.
  • I have had 7 students bring me baked goods for Christmas. (My garbage can loved them. I don’t eat baked goods from students. One year a girl handed me a plate of holiday cookies then told me she was getting a new bed for Christmas. For the last week she had been putting her mattress on top of the dressers so the mice wouldn’t bother her feet while she slept.)
  • I have made 10 yearbooks.
  • I have had 3 parents show up drunk to parent teacher conferences.
  • I have supervised 30 middle school dances.
  • I have witnessed 3 dogs, 2 snakes, 1 hamster, 1 deer, 2 ferrets, and 1 horse on the loose in the school or on school grounds. (Really the horse was the only one that was nice enough to stay outside.)
  • I have fallen off of my chair in the middle of the class twice.
  • I have eaten Friday Cheesy Bread 4 times, and regretted it all 4 times.
  • I have made 4 students cry.
  • I have had 2 students make me cry.
  • I have taken 40 students to the bookstore; 25 of them had never been to a bookstore before.
  • I have written 300 handwritten cards to students, thanking them for letting me be a part of their middle school experience.

Now in my eleventh year, I am optimistic about the next nine months. My students seem to grasp the concept that they are in school to work hard and learn. Heck, some of them actually embrace it. They greet me at the beginning of each class with “Hello Miss Lewis” and “How are you today Miss Lewis?” And when they leave it’s “Have a good day Miss Lewis” and “I really like this class Miss Lewis. See you tomorrow.”  That’s quite a step up from, “Miss Lewis, why does your class have to suck so much?”

I know some of you were wishing me a nice batch of hellions to make for some highly entertaining blog posts; to that I say, SHAME ON YOU! No hard feelings though and no worries. As you will see in up coming posts, things are never dull in a middle school.

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