Some Teaching Truths

In honor of Back to School, I decided to drop some fun teaching truth bombs (Also, I’m swamped this week and list posts are the easiest #sorrynotsorry). Even if you’re not a teacher, you’ll likely relate. If your job is high stress, but also high reward, you’ll for sure relate. Because I really should be labeling all the things instead of writing a blog post, let’s just begin:

1. Unless you’re crazily devoted to a fitness plan or you have a superhero’s will and control, you will eat every carb in your house after a bad day. 

2. Forget about the college “Freshmen Fifteen”. There’s such as a thing as the “Teacher Twenty”. Or, sometimes, the “Educator Eighty”. Also, this can happen during year one or year ten. 

3. You will eat your weight in mini-size chocolate candy. Sometimes in one day. 

#goals

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4. If the day after Valentine’s/Christmas/Easter clearance candy has been cleaned out, you can thank a teacher. 

5. You will get fat. So fat.

6. If food isn’t your happy place (congratulations on not being “pregnant” every year), you will drink copious amounts of wine and at some point in your career, consider rehab, but only the facilities that are more like spas and only because it would be the best sanity-saving vacation ever. 

7. If it comes down to toilet paper or a shiny new pack of Expo markers at the end of the month, markers win-hands down. 


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8. You save straws, bits of fabric, tissue boxes, and one 3 inch piece of string, because it all just may come in handy at some point. 

9. They never come in handy. 

10. Your teacher cabinet/closet/cupboard is a portal to Narnia or another dimension, because it’s where all of your supplies go to never be found again. 

I Googled “messy teacher cabinet” and this popped up. Two things: 1. Ya’ll lyin’ and 2. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Maybe someday I’ll be brave and share my Closet o’ Shame.

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11. No matter how poor you are, you always find a way to buy $80 worth of crap from the Target Dollar Spot. 

12. No matter how frustrating your students can be sometimes, you’re fiercely protective of them when they’re criticized by another teacher who doesn’t know them as well as you. 

13. Your students are your family. Your tribe. You love them. Every year, your heart opens up to allow for 20 more spaces. 

14. You crop dust. It’s only fair. 

15. If you weren’t an emotional person or crier before becoming an educator, you can kiss your shyness/pride goodbye. 

16. You will cry over everything.

17. You will have to kindly remind your students that, “Maybe someone needs to go to the restroom” after toxic waste lunch bombs are dropped all afternoon. 

18. If your student’s book order money is short, you pay what they’re missing without a second thought. 

19. You only go to the bathroom during the day once a week, but during that exact time, admin will walk in. It’s basically a scientific fact. 

20. Your teacher look is such a work of art that an eyebrow raise, lip purse, and nose wrinkle can mean 875 different things and no matter the day, the kid, or the teacher friend, the message is always received loud and clear. 

Trainer at inservice day says, “Pick a partner”-Teacher Bestie and I look at each other like…

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Tell me, who was your favorite teacher and why? Or, make me laugh and tell me an hilarious school or teacher story. 

The Cupcake Incident: Flasback Friday

For Flashback Friday, I thought I’d share one of the first posts I wrote when I first started this blog. I think it got a measly two likes. It’s pretty much terrible, but it’s so incredibly accurate when it comes to my best friend, Cupcake and I. 

The back story behind this little exchange is that I was attempting to diet, and I was in the I’m-so-starving-I’d-lick-the-remnants-from-a-chocolate-wrapper-found-in-the-garbage-yeah-I’m-serious-so-fuck-you-and-your-judgy-eyes stage. 

I’d asked my teacher friend and classroom neighbor to help me resist the myriad treat situations that occur constantly at our school (really, any school, anywhere)

She was also “dieting”. 

Two weakling, enablers trying to help each other diet. 

It was comical. 

Also, she had no idea the extent of my gluttony, or that I could sniff out a cupcake from three miles away. 

Without further ado: The Cupcake Incident

Sitting at desk. The whiff of cupcake starts wafting in from room next door.

Phone call is urgent, sweaty palms.

Child: “This is Ms. S’s room. How may I help you?”

Me: “Well, aren’t you just the most professional-sounding 3rd grader I’ve ever heard. May I speak with Ms. S?”

No response. Phone is dropped on table. 

Ms. S: “This is Ms. S…”

Me: (whisper voice, barely audible) “Cupcake? I smell.”

Ms. Silver: “Uh, this is Ms. S. Hello?”

Me: (slightly more audible) “Birthday cupcake? Cupcake?”

Ms. S: “I don’t know who this is. I don’t have cupcakes. You are mistaken. Good day.”

Me: (yelling voice) “You know who this is, and I want CUPCAKE!”

Click 

Running for the door just as a darling child delivers very roughed-up cupcake. 

Cupcake nonetheless. 

Drool is now escaping. 

Ms. S appears at door, tries to intercept, unsuccessfully. 

Cupcake frosting already entering mouth. 

Ms. S (the bitch) tries to swat frosting out of mouth. 

Instead of cupcake, the smell of revenge is now pungent. 

Ms. S is more elderly, thus, escape successful. 

Entire cupcake is lodged in mouth.

Delicious. 

Exchange ends with both Ms. S and culprit crouching over frosting remnants on tray, greedily licking fingers. Animals. 
*It is necessary to note that no child was injured in cupcake incident. Nor were children present during bloody exchange. They were outside getting exercise, like civilized human beings.

5 Reasons Why I’m Failing at Adulting


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1.When my students do or say something turdly, really, just once, want to say, “I know you are, but what am I?” I know… but it would be so awesome to give them a little dose of the ridiculous excuses/responses/attitudes they give me every.single.day.


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2. Every year when I renew my car registration, I don’t put the new sticker on my license plate until I get pulled over. It’s like tradition. It is just so hard and takes too much effort to wipe the dust and grime off of my license plate and place the new sticker over the 10 that are already there, about to fall off. Pure unadulterated laziness.


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3. Every month, since I was 11 (why, God?) Aunt Flo has visited. One would think that after three decades of this ridiculousness, I would know to be prepared. Yet, every month, I ruin a pair of panties and I have to waddle into the store, with an entire roll of toilet paper wrapped around the crotch of my underwear.


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4. I love to wait until the bitter end before a credit card payment is due. That way, the extra money I was planning on using to pay down some of the debt can be used to buy new shoes or way too many Salted Caramel Mocha Frappuccinos far before I have to make the payment. Winning.


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5. I buy bananas for one sole purpose: I like to watch things slowly wither and die. For what other purpose do bananas serve? I sure as hell never eat them.


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5 Reasons Teaching Made (Is Making) Me (More) Fat

There’s a reason I’m fat, and it isn’t just because I eat Oreos smothered with peanut butter for breakfast.

It’s because I’m a teacher. This profession is rife with situations in which I’m faced with deciding between a few sad, old grapes or Krispy Kreme. Some days my big decision of the day is whether or not to eat the sweaty, homemade, hand delivered cookie. Sadly, the questionable cookie always wins. Mostly, being a teacher means you either drink or you check yourself into the mental hospital. Drinking excessively is more socially acceptable. Also, being clinically insane isn’t usually seen as a desired quality in the teaching world.

Continue reading “5 Reasons Teaching Made (Is Making) Me (More) Fat”

“Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death”

We (as in my students and I) have been learning about the 13 British colonies and the road to revolution. Yesterday, we read about the Stamp, Tea, Sugar, and Quartering Acts. “No taxation without representation”, yo.

A colleague suggested playing a game that would entail taxing our students for certain things, like using a piece of paper, eating an apple, borrowing a pencil, etc. Each tax would fall under the acts they learned about: Stamp: “Pay me for that paper and the holes on the LEFT for the umpteenth time!”; Tea: “You want a drink of water? Pay up!”; Sugar: “Do you really think you need to eat graham crackers right after lunch? Well, then you are gonna pay.”; Quartering: “You wanna move to see the process grid? Well, it’s gonna cost.”

Can you already tell that this was way too much fun for me? Oh, it gets way better.

*evil laugh*

Continue reading ““Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death””

5 Ways I’m Killin’ It As A Grad Student Teacher

I’m losing it, dudes. I don’t know if “doing it all” is quite my speed. I’m usually more sloth-like motivated when it comes to being busy. The idea of being highly occupied with more than one really important thing sounds like something that might come with rewards, but I usually regard those kinds of notions with a wary-eye-sneaking-around-my-bag-of-Cheetos-caution/disdain. What was I thinking believing I could do this. I don’t know if I can teacher AND student.

Following is how awesome I’m playing the part of Grad Student Teacher.

Continue reading “5 Ways I’m Killin’ It As A Grad Student Teacher”

Definitely

Well, today marked the end of my social life and any semblance of free time. Today, my first online course went live. My first assignments are due tomorrow, but like the smarty pants I am, I decided to get a head start (actually, tomorrow is my birthday, so I plan on doing nothing unpleasant all day long).

I am a huge proponent of working smarter not harder. Some examples of working smarter and not harder would be:

  1. Not reading all of your emails. You may miss a crucial email from your principal, but that is the risk you take when you receive 3,456,782 emails a day.
  2. Calling, “spraying down your shower with the detachable shower head every day when showering” cleaning your shower. It’s really genius multi-tasking, methinks.
  3. Choosing to only correct quizzes, class work, and exit tickets, but not homework, because you are not Super Can Do Everything Teacher, and ain’t nobody got time for that.
  4. Getting fast food all week, for dinner, because then you don’t need to wash dishes. Blam! Lots o’ time saved.
  5. Grading papers at red lights. AT LEAST I AM NOT TEXTING.

This is obviously an abridged list, and not complete. There are many ways in which you can save time by doing things the “smarter” way.

Today, I went about my usual “smarter not harder’ routine, and things were going swimmingly. I had skimmed through the course introduction page. I purchased books for the course on Amazon while listening to the tutorial on how to send a message to classmates. I typed up my first assignment in a record 3 minutes. I was on a real roll.

Then, immediately after turning my assignment in to the instructor, I turned in that same assignment on the discussion page, per the directions, and I noticed…

definetely. 

Yes, this college graduate-self-professed-spelling-stickler-teacher, spelled ‘definitely’ incorrectly on her very first assignment for her masters in education. 

I am killing it, guys.

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My “I make killer impressions” face. 

 

When You Know You Need a Vacation

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Yesterday, I got a new student. He’s a spunky, sweet kid from the south. I am sure he will be a wonderful addition to our classroom. As for his opinion of me? I am going to have to be extra awesome-teacher for the next few days, let’s just put it that way.

When you get a new student, it behooves any good teacher to make a great first impression. I made sure we got all of our dedicated brain breaks throughout the day-“Hey, this is a really fun classroom-we get to do a YMCA kids Just Dance video between math and reading?!”. I made sure to emphasize the positive reward system and incentives-“If I make good decisions, I get to eat lunch with the teacher? Baller status!” I made sure my students really showed what they have been learning about ancient Rome-“Wow! They know so much about an ancient civilization. I want to be like these kids!”

After that, it all went downhill. Clark Griswold-sledding-like-a-fool-downhill-like.

Every day, I do a read-aloud about our social studies topic. In the middle of reading about Julius Caesar’s ultimate demise, someone farted.

I know, I know. What the hell is it with farts? I know.

I have always been excellent at ignoring fluffs. If you don’t, you lose instruction time, there is the potential for embarrassing the culprit, and it is just not good role model behavior. This year, however, farts have become exponentially funnier. I don’t know why.

But, I am a freaking human, alright?

I could feel it building inside. I tried to ignore it. I tried to focus on Brutus killing Caesar, “Et tu, Brute” and all that.

There wasn’t a single laugh or even any acknowledgement that it had happened.

But…it went “Bloop”.

Bloop

I couldn’t hold it in. I started laughing. I didn’t dare look at anyone. Maybe it would stop. I kept my face behind the book.

Reading…long pause…expectant re-positioning. Silent laughing. More reading. Longer pause. Not-so-silent laughing. 

Fuck. I cannot believe this is happening to me. AGAIN.

OK. STOP.

I can’t.

Because, it went “bloop”.

Bloop.

At this point, I am too far gone. You know when you are not supposed to laugh? During funerals? When someone is telling you something sad? When you are getting bad news of some sort? But, someone told you a joke before the bad news and you are still laughing, or the person talking to you has a crusty booger and you just can’t even?

It was like that. I knew I shouldn’t laugh and so, that is precisely when I can’t control laughing. 

My best friend in high school will relate, because we were the most hated students in Ms. Gibb’s class. We had laughing fits, on a daily basis, over stupid shit, like Ms. Gibb’s flock of seagulls hair. Once we started, we could.not.stop.

It was like that as my poor students sat, wide-eyed, watching their demented teacher lose her shit.

A few brave souls attempted apprehensive, “hehe’s”.

One student said, monotone, teacherly, “Are you OK, Ms. P?”

No. I was not OK.

Eventually, I did collect myself and we carried on, but not until we discussed why I was laughing. I was not laughing at the person who farted. We went over that it is a natural bodily function that is funny. Right?

The same student who asked if I was done losing my shit said, “Ms. P, that wasn’t even a fart, that was my shoe…”

It.wasn’t.even.a.fart.

What an excellent first impression for my new student. Teacher of the year right here.

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Image courtesy of wm-n.glb.shawcable.net
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Image courtesy of housetalkn.com

He’s Made of Ceramic, Guys

My students have really taken to our class “pet”, Messy. So much so, that I’m wondering now if they even know he’s not a real dog. I sincerely hope they aren’t waiting for him to finally “wake” up and start kissing their faces. 

One of my top achieving students came up to me, quietly, and asked, “Ms. P., does Messy just sleep all day?” 

I didn’t want to kill the magic so, I said, “Maybe he is the first ever nocturnal Bull Dog? No, not really. Also, puppies are like babies, they need a lot of sleep.” She has a baby sister, so she seemed satisfied with the answer. 

Then, then, I overheard one of my students lament to another student, “Messy is way lazier than my dog at home. I wonder when he will want to play?” 

WHAT THE? 

One more…one of the teacher’s students next door came up to her yesterday, and said, “Ms. S., did you know Ms. P has a dog in her room?! Do you think I should go remind her to feed it?” 

Someone please tell me my students know that an immobile-stuck-in-the-same-position-CERAMIC dog is fake. 

Please tell me they are just consciously participating in the make believe that innocent children’s lives revolve around, because if I have to have the tough conversation that Messy is not alive, it will be the first of its kind. 

They absolutely adore him. They race each other to get to the carpet first, so they can sit by him. They sit with him in their laps, happily stroking his “fur”. They asked me what he was going to be for Halloween. 

I am confident that my students are playing make believe. This makes me so happy, because in a world where children grow up too fast, where 1st graders are dropping the “F” bomb, and where 8 year-olds have cellphones, Messy makes me believe there is hope. For now, my students are still children, with innocent imaginations, and that makes me so happy. 

This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

I’ve had my new-to-me car for less than a month and it’s already been been violated in a most horrific way. 

The other morning, after a stress-filled drive to school, whereby I agonized over where best to park, I sat trying to calm my nerves. Actually every morning that I get to school, I just sit for awhile, pondering life (ie: checking all of my social media, promising myself I’ll get out after just one more song, and savoring my coffee-my life blood). 

I feel, before I go on, I should explain why I spent my entire drive agonizing over where to park. Simply put, I work in da hood. It’s not all bad. Just like nice neighborhoods aren’t all good. However, I’ve heard one too many stories about teacher’s cars being keyed, shootings, and our school has already been vandalized and broken into-numerous times. 

I love my school, my students, and our community, but it’s not exactly Mayberry. Not even close. 

Well, there I sat, watching a video on how to make hash brown egg cups on Facebook, and my car starts shaking. Like serious, “don’t come a’knocking shaking”. It’s not every day that you get your own personal earthquake or theme park ride, so it took a minute to get my bearings. When I realize my new car, with me in it, isn’t about to be swallowed by a sink hole, I look into my rearview mirror to see a head-barely visible over my back end. 

I get out and see some kid shaking my car. He’s literally bumping up against it like a remote control car stuck in a corner. I’m so pissed, all I say is, “GET OUTTA HERE” *insert Brooklyn accent*. This hoodlum didn’t realize the car was inhabited, so I’m sure he was shitting his pants as he ran out of sight. 

After telling this story to numerous people-fellow colleagues, my boyfriend, my family-they all had the same questions for me, “Why didn’t you question him, demand his name, drag him to the office?”

Let me just list the reasons why: 

  1. It was 7:00 AM-our office was empty
  2. He was a middle school kid-not under my/our particular authority
  3. I am scared of retaliation 

This misguided young man was likely trying to make my car alarm go off, to what end-it could be various reasons. Maybe he just thought it would be fun. Maybe he looks for cars that aren’t alarmed for someone who steals them. Maybe he simply has no regard or respect for others and their belongings. Actually, that last hypothesis would apply to all possible reasons he felt the need to molest my car. 

I would be laughing about this (the look on his face was pretty awesome), but I’m actually fearful that my new car will be damaged while parked at my place of employment. That’s a pretty shitty feeling.

In fact, everyday I notice possible new scratches and dings. I can’t blame them all on immoral creeps, as its definitely possible they were there before I bought the car. I didn’t inspect every inch of it with a magnifying glass, but I did look for noticeable imperfections. I’m 99% sure this was not present upon buying my car 

  
We live in a world where so few people have respect for others. It’s my fear that good, moral, thoughtful people will soon be extinct. 

Kids can be shits, I get it. I once stuck a thumbtack in my preschool teacher’s bum, simply because it was right in my face as she bent over, I was rolling a tack between my thumb and pointer finger, and I was a scientist-I wanted to know what would happen (BIG trouble, is what happened). 

While I’ve been guilty of my fair share of wrong-doing, I can confidently say I’ve never had the urge to damage someone else’s property. Never. Not once. 

Instead of be pissed/upset/stressed about this disgusting lack of regard for MY property, I am going to simply regard my car as a useful mode of transportation that gets me from point A to point B. Instead of daydreaming about how pretty she is, I’ll instead remember what is really important in life: my family, my friends, my health, and my strong morals and values. Also, a car is simply a material object that I am lucky to have. Some people don’t even own shoes. First world problems, and all that. 

While I suffer the results of lack of guidance and respect, I will continue to guide and teach respect to my students, because what else can I do? I am honored to be in the position where I have the possibility to change someone’s life for the better, every single day. Key my car, go for it. I’ll just be over here continuing to teach your children to do better, be better. Win.