Former Students, New Students, & A Couple of Ducks Just Passing Through

On Monday, I arrived back from spring break to find an email in my inbox from a student I had last year. I do keep in touch with a handful of former students via Twitter, or when they pop in for a random flyby, but letters and emails are very rare. The email read:

Hey Ms. Lewis,

          A______ just gave me your email this morning, she’s slow. So how have you been? Do you like your students this year? I mean they can’t be as great as we were, we did set the bar pretty hight.  I’ve missed you so much. My new English teacher is like 60 and talks in a monotone. She never smiles or jokes around, the complete opposite of you.  I guess I need to accept that not all teachers are as great as you are. We’ve been learning about Shakespeare and we are currently reading Romeo & Juliet. I honestly don’t understand it. I like the modern version that we read with you last year; it was funny and made sense.

* A couple of years ago my students really wanted to read Romeo & Juliet but it’s part of the 9th grade curriculum so I couldn’t teach it. They didn’t care and were very persistent and who am I to deny a bunch of 8th graders exposure to such a great work. So due to the fact that I love to write and never really sleep, I stayed up one night and wrote a 36 page modernized version of the play. Not gonna lie, it was pretty amazing. We’ve read it every spring since then. And I don’t feel bad about it.

A______ , some friends, and I are going to watch The Hunger Games tonight. I’m excited but kind of worried that the movie will be too different from the book. Hopefully it won’t be, but I don’t understand how they could make it PG-13 and can keep all the violence that was in the book. A______ said that you were really excited for it to come out so that you could watch it. I’m sure that you were probably one of the first people in line to see it when they first showed it yesterday.

Well, I hope that you had a good spring break and enjoyed the movie.

G___________ 🙂

I know that teachers are not supposed to have favorite students, but she is still totally one of my favorites.

Another student, who happens to be getting a lot of attention these days, is the New Girl. She showed up in my 4th Block yesterday, and quickly developed a swarm of admirers. Today, she was the first one to arrive in class and I had to intervene when I noticed a gaggle of 8th grade girls, none of whom were even my students,  crammed in my doorway mean muggin’ her across the room. I shooed the girls away by shouting at them, “Don’t even think about bringing all your drama in here.” They stomped away glaring at me. The boys then moved in, crowded around her and got their “flirt” on. It was ridiculous. I think I’ll greet my boys at the door tomorrow with bibs they can wear to catch their drool. Also, the ITBS practice test scores for this class dropped 14% today- the boys were a little preoccupied. (Thank God she already took her state tests at her old school. I’ll have to make sure she’s out of the room when we test next week, otherwise, those poor fellas are going to tank big time.)

Also, I’ll need to make sure these guys are nowhere in sight next week. These ducks showed up outside my window 2nd Block Monday. I’m not sure where they came from, and I’m not sure why they chose to hang out by my window. I am sure, however, that not a lot was accomplished in that class that period. The custodian later informed me that he was pretty sure they’ve laid eggs. Great. It’s going to be a long 9 1/2 weeks.  

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4 responses to “Former Students, New Students, & A Couple of Ducks Just Passing Through

  1. I’ve done digital films with mddile schoolers for a few years and they love it! And they learn! I always get nervous each time we film though, because I almost always have a teacher or two complain about us making too much noise, which we aren’t, I film 3 or 4 kids at a time and the classroom doors are shut. They think we’re “playing around” and not actually learning anything. So frustrating!!! Hope you didn’t run into too much of that. Your kids did an awesome job and they should be proud. You made lit meaningful to them, ask any one of those kids what is the general message of Romeo and Juliet and they will nail it. Do that with a class that just read it and answered questions on it, and they will not have such a good handle on it. In addition, you taught them essential job skills such as working with others and problem solving. Bravo!

    • Anyeiber,
      I just rescued your comment from the spam trap. 😦 I love making videos with my kids but I rarely do partly due to the issues you mentioned, but also because my kids are crazy and they can’t handle too much that is unstructured. They tend to get a little overly excited.

      Thanks for reading.

  2. This sounds like an amwsoee undertaking for which, I am sure, your students will never forget. I am ELA teacher, and I have had students in the past rewrite acts from Shakespearean plays and Ancient Greek dramas into modern languages using a theme that they choose themselves. For example, students have done a rap version, punk rock version, a musical, a comedy routine, etc. They either perform them in class or record them. They will often create props as well. However, you are taking it much further than me. I am curious as to how you will organize the process as well as find the time to get all of the work completed. I don’t think, in my schedule, I would be able to pull it off, but maybe you have some strategies of which I am not aware. Good luck, it sounds like an incredible project!

    • Madhu,

      It sounds like you do quite a few fun activities with your kids. That’s one thing I love about teaching Language Arts- the flexibility is amazing.

      As for the play. I’ve only written a full play once. We were working on independent novel projects and I would write while the kids read. I would pull them up to my desk, one at a time. We would talk about their book, then I would tell them a bit about the scene I was on, and the character they were going to play. Then together we would come up with a few personalized lines of dialog. The rest I wrote at home.

      Thanks for reading.

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