It’s Valentine’s Day

I know! I know! It’s been way too long since I’ve last posted, so let me just jump right in.

Question? Who scheduled a middle school orchestra/band concert on Valentine’s Day? We did! And of course I was assigned supervision duty. Truth be told, the musical “entertainment” was just the icing on the cake. Let me break down a couple of highlights that made up the treat that was my  “Valentine’s Day in a middle school.”

I arrived to school for morning duty to find a cafeteria full of kids bouncing off the walls with their giant teddy bears- I’m talking 2ft. tall stuffed gems holding little hearts between their paws with phrases like “I wuv U” and “UR Beary Sweet” on them, and gallon sized Zip-Loc bags full of candy- most of which would be consumed before 1st Block even started. The theme for today instantly became “crowd control.”

I started each class with my standard “holiday that involves the consumption of candy” speech:

Me: “I don’t want students peddling candy in my class. I don’t want to see wrappers on the floor. When you throw your wrappers and sucker sticks away, they need to go in the trash can- not near it, not stuck to the side of it, but IN the trash can because I do not want ants.”

Students: All look at me like I’m a moron.

3rd Block, I received this email from our Success worker:

The sales are almost over, following 8th grade lunch, you will get a bag of grams delivered to your room. Please pass out the candy grams to the students during the last few minutes of class. Hopefully this will not be too distracting. If you have any students that are not present today, please put those in my box and I’ll get them delivered tomorrow…

Also check your mailboxes for your own candy grams, I know several of you have gotten them too. Thanks so much for the help on this project.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

This was my response:

I like how you are worried about candy grams being distracting. I had a student show up to 3rd Block with a giant teddy bear and a target bag full of candy. Did I also mention that she was wearing a pair of giant red wings?

 Happy Valentine’s Day everybody!

By the time 4th Block filed out for lunch, I had two ant colonies snacking away on candy hearts and, what I assumed to be a blob of peanut butter, that had not quite made it into the trash can. When the kids returned from lunch, I made them stop one at  time and examine the ant hills on their way back to their desks while I made comments like, “I’m not so crazy now, am I!” and “This is exactly what I was talking about. The trash cans are right here people.”

My two stragglers, who always take their sweet time coming back from lunch, were assigned “ant clean up.” They put down a bunch of Kleenex and stomped the life out of those ants before laying them to rest in the trash can. Then they wiped the floor up with Clorox wipes to get rid of any left behind sugar residue.

Aside from the assortment of candy hearts, that students tried to give me out their grubby hands, I had one student who had a special treat for me. He marched up to my desk and said, “I brought this for you because you’re my favorite teacher.” The then reached into the front pocket of his skinny jeans and pulled out a giant smashed Russell Stover’s strawberry-marshmallow filled chocolate heart. As soon as class was over, that tasty treat, joined the ants in the trash can.

Skip ahead to 6:00pm.  Students began to arrive for the musical delight that was the orchestra/band concert which was scheduled to start at 6:30. It was my job to stand guard at the door of the band room to 1.)keep kids from escaping, and 2.) keep kids from bludgeoning each other with their band instruments, while waiting to take the stage 20ft away in the auditorium. First up was the orchestra, followed by the 6th grade band, followed by the 7th/8th grade band.

The orchestra took forever! During that time, the kids stood around talking, and, when they thought I wasn’t looking, occasionally smacked each other or practiced dive rolling around on the floor. Every so often, I opened the door to the hallway to supervise trips to the drinking fountain. It was when I reentered the room after one of those supervised that I first noticed the smell. I stepped into the band room and my eyes instantly began to water. I noticed the kids, who had been milling around the door, were now all huddled in the corner behind the piano. Several of them had their shirts covering their noses and mouths, and a few were trying to stifle giggles, while others, like myself, were trying not to barf. I’m not going to lie. It was foul. As I stood by the door one student, who happened to also be in my 4th Block, decided to strike up a conversation with me. My first thought was, “How are your eyes NOT watering?” My second thought was, “Oh my god. You totally farted and don’t think anyone can smell it.” My solution,  “Let’s walk and talk.” That way I could still be the kind teacher who “cared about what he had to say” while still getting some fresh air into my lungs. And wouldn’t you know it? During our traveling conversation, he farted at least 3 more times. I thought the night would never end.

The orchestra kids finally returned from the stage, and the 6th grade band quickly blew through their numbers. At last I ushered the 7th and 8th graders in for the final portion of the show. The kids all got situated on the stage and I stood in the back to watch the show. Another teacher, who had been in the auditorium all night, informed me that the concert would have been over a long time ago, but the band director couldn’t find his music and spent FOREVER running around the stage like a weirdo looking for it.

At this point, he addressed the audience to introduce the 7th/8th grade band. He held his hands up and said, “Attention! Can I have your attention? I’ll just do what I do with the kids. (Holding up his hand and counting down on his fingers) 5, 4, 3, 2,

Random Parent: (yells out) “We’re not children!”

Awesome.

Happy (belated) Valentine’s Day folks.

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Random Stuff With a Side of Porn

Here are some random conversations that have taken place over the past couple of days:

Sometimes when I have my classroom windows and door open at the same time, it causes a wind tunnel in my room. On really windy days, like yesterday, my ceiling tiles will catch the breeze, lift up an inch or so, then slam back down into place.

Student: “Miss Lewis, what was that?”

Me: “Oh, you know. Sometimes when I have a really naughty student, I hogtie them then shove them up into the ceiling so they can think about the bad choices they’ve made.”

Student: “Oh. You mean like B–?”  (B—is a student who is currently suspended for fighting last week.)

Me: “Yes. Like B—he’s going to be up there for a while because he has some serious thinking to do.”

After that, every time the tiles slammed, the students would look up at the ceiling and yell, “Cut it out B—!”

Today, there was less wind so the ceiling was quiet.

Student: “Miss Lewis, B—is really quiet today.”

Me: “That’s because he’s doing some serious thinking. He’s seen the error of his way.”

Student: “Good. No offense, but he was kind of a turd.”

Continue reading

>Random acts of… randomness

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I was listening to the librarian read a book to some 1st graders the other day while I was waiting for my students to finish checking out their books. Miss S. Would start reading a page such as, “Once upon a time, there was brown fluffy cat-” at which point students would randomly yell out any “connection” that popped into their heads. “My grandma had a cat.” “There was a cat on the news last night that was stuck in a bird house.” “I want a bird, but my mom says they poop too much.” “My little brother hasn’t pooped for four days and he had to go to the hospital.” “I went to the hospital when I broke my arm.” At the time, this sharing of random thoughts was pretty amusing, or dare I say, “cute.”

When I got back to my classroom, I realized that when my 8th graders do the exact same thing… and they do… that it is anything but cute. Amusing sometimes? Yes, but generally just plain annoying. I now teach with two posters in my hand. One poster is a giant thought bubble with the word “relevant” and the other poster is a thought bubble with the word “appropriate” written in it. Now when I catch a student blurting out, I put on my “pondering face” while holding the “appropriate” poster next to my head. I say things like, “now is it appropriate to blurt out my thoughts when someone else is talking?” Other times when kids interrupt me, I put on my “pondering face” and hold up the “relevant” poster and say, “now that I’ve heard my thought outloud, I realize it doesn’t have anything to do with the topic. I should keep that thought to myself and let Miss L teach.”

I know this sounds ridiculous, but it works really well. I can also guarantee that all of my students know the meaning of “relevant” and “appropriate.”