Thursday, May 3, 2012

Balls of Steel

I have been waiting all year long for a blog-worthy moment.

Of course I enjoy my new assignment, but teaching at the honors level, while much less stressful, is not nearly as conducive to story-telling. The kids are bright, and witty, but they are also very earnest and much less ridiculous than my previous clientele. Thus, the dormancy of this blog.

Today, though, my dreams came true, and I learned a lot about myself in the process. Ok, that's not really true, but I did figure out why the kids unconsciously call me "sir" and "Mr."  several times a week.

As usual, I must let the dialogue speak for itself, so I'll just set the scene for you. Twice a semester we have to administer district writing assessments, which usually consist of really mundane and under-stimulating prompts. The kids have two class periods to work on them, but since about half of them (justifiably) fall into a coma somewhere between drafting and editing, they have to come in after school to publish the final version of their essays. This is why I had a dozen squirrely freshmen in my room after school. When I say squirrely, I mean it's May, it's a Thursday, their lunchtime blood sugar surge is at it's peak, QT is calling to them, and there's a lot of temptation in the halls. SQUIRRELY.

After I dispersed materials, dealt with whining, and focused them enough to feel comfortable turning my eyes from them, I sat down at my desk to grade AP essays. And that's when I overhead the following:

Dick: "Am I the only dude in here?"
Spot: "Yes."
Dick: "Aw, man, that's WHACK."
Filterless Jane: "Well, ACTUALLY, Ms. Goldie's in here too, so you're not the only guy."
Dick: (offended on my behalf) "Ms. Goldie's not a she?"
Filterless Jane: "Well, she's like a hot guy with balls of steel."
Dick (and Eavesdroppers): "Awww, no YOU DIDN'T! That's messed up! That's WHACK! BURN!"
Filterless Jane: "WHAT?! It's TRUE!"
Dick: "You just said Ms. G has BALLS!"
Filterless Jane: "Not LITERALLY! (tossing her hair, obviously annoyed by Dick's misinterpretation of her analysis) I just mean that she's not afraid of anything, and she can kick your ASS!"

                    DISCLAIMER: I have NEVER kicked a kid's ass. EVER. Not with

Dick: (comtemplating) "Yeaaaahhhh...Yeah. You're right! ...........(contemplation)..............(more contemplation)........................................I think my sister has balls of aluminum."

Balls. Of. Aluminum. Genius.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

What's a dewbiee? IDK.

I've been sitting on this one for awhile, but I discovered this little gem sitting on my desk at the end of a particularly tough day last month. I was a bit testy with seventh hour, and I wrote a few preemptive referrals to make a point with some hard-headed children. Apparently, someone felt entitled to return the favor.

Friday, May 6, 2011

If it's not Kool Aid and grapes, what the hell is it?

This week I gave my students their final essay exam. Several of them didn't finish within the allotted time period, so on Wednesday they stayed after to complete it. One particularly adorable young man was hard at work when some admirers came to call. These two young ladies hovered around the door, giggling and tripping over themselves to get a glimpse of their Romeo. The boy, looking a bit sheepish, squirmed in his seat.

My co-teacher quickly shooed them away so they would not distract our little scholars from their academic endeavors.

I tried (quite unsuccessfully) to refocus my attention on the monolithic stacks of ungraded papers on my desk. I was interrupted by more whispering in the hallway. It was the neighboring teacher. She was whispering and motioning my co-teacher to the door.

I looked up and noticed both of them hovering in the alcove just outside our classroom doors, pointing to something at their feet. Then I heard the word "blood."

Whenever one hears the word "blood" uttered outside the context of a health or science classroom, it's a good idea to investigate. I decided to check things out.

Lying just beyond the threshold of my door was a haphazardly scrawled note which read, "Payback for being a dumb fart. Karma's a bitch. P.S. It's not Kool Aid and grapes." Lying just beneath the note was a rubber glove. It was filled with a red-tinged liquid. A blackish mass had settled into the ring finger of the glove. Smudges of bluish glitter graced the contours of this latex mystery.

I immediately drew the conclusion that those twittering female visitors must have been responsible.

The neighbor teacher had other ideas. She looked at me knowingly. "You know...some of my students are very angry at me too..." she began.

"Oh, I don't think this was meant for me," I replied. "I think some young ladies left it for one of my students."

I gestured to the young man, who was now pacing nervously inside the classroom, mumbling, "Don't touch it, Miss. What is it? Don't touch it!."

She looked at me somewhat apologetically. After an awkward pause, she offered, "Well, it DOES say bitch..."


"It's know, some of my students are REALLY mad at me too. I hope that's not what I think it is." She hurried off down the hall, and left me to deal with a glove filled with something other than Kool-Aid and grapes.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


My students are convinced that I have killed people.

Last year's group was the first to clue me in. I was shocked. I am, after all, one of the most patient people I know. I don't have many management problems, I hardly ever raise my voice to them, and I rarely have to write referrals.

I was slightly hurt. I said, "But I'm so PATIENT and CALM."

They said, "Exactly."

They went on to explain that I seemed like one of those people who is calm and patient for years on end...and then snaps one day and hacks someone to bits.

This year's group echoed the same sentiment, only they added that the scar on my arm made them think I had been shanked during a murder spree. I appreciated their attention to detail and their rich imaginations.

I was more offended when I found out they think I'm a Republican. I do my best to avoid talking politics with them, save for the occasional current event topics. Still, I think it's pretty clear from my politically correct, live-and-let-live attitude that I'm no social conservative. Yet, I was accused of voting for McCain in '08, supporting Joe Arpaio, and attending pro-SB1070 rallies.

"Why do you accuse me so?" I asked.

"You're white," they said.

So it wasn't too surprising when, just this past week, I was accused of being a member of Al-Quaeda.

It was the day after news broke that the US special forces had killed Osama Bin Laden. A student (who most recently accused my beloved Coyotes of being human traffickers) approached my desk after I dismissed the class to lunch. He had a rather smug look on his face, and he was wearing celebratory Army fatigues. He said, "So they finally caught your leader."

"My leader?"

"Yes, your leader. Osama Bin Laden."

"Oh. He wasn't MY leader."

"Yes he was. You are a member of Al Quaeda. You've been posing as a teacher while planning terror attacks against U.S. Citizens."His left hand sort of hovered in the air, as though he were performing the Jedi Mind Trick.

" this about last night's homework?"

"Yes. Homework is a form of torture."


So there it is. Murderer, Republican, Terrorist, Master Mutilator of Human Rights.

I wonder what they would think if I were actually strict.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Need to get the point across?

 Draw a picture. Sometimes asking is just too subtle.

Love, or food gone wrong?

Actually, it's the poetry.

There are several reasons why I hate the yearly poetry unit. The biggest reason is because I invariably have to read my students poems, which range from boring to inappropriate to plagiarized. It's my own fault. Each year I succumb to this foolish notion that the best way to assess my student's knowledge of poetic elements is to have them create a poetry portfolio.  The results are astonishingly mediocre. The only thing that blows me away is how many students actually try to pass off 2Pac or Dr. Dre lyrics as their own original work...and then try to pull the Jedi mind trick on me when I confront them about it - "Seriously miss! Dre got that from ME! FROM ME!"

But every now and then, someone puts forth a valiant effort that makes me smile. This is from a collection about (what else?) the perils of teenage love. It's not exactly romantic, but it's charmingly sweet. Sort of like Pepto Bismol.

Love or Food Gone Wrong?
What is love
Just words of lies.
Does it really excite?
I think it does not
But then I have my doubts
'Cause what is this I feel inside?
Is it love or food gone wrong?
It has to be the food
There is no such thing as love
I can't help thinking it can be love
Oh please! Let it be the food gone wrong!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Quotes of the Week

No narrative required. These quotes speak for themselves.

"Did you just poop out a sweater?!"

"Once I stole a cell phone from the cafeteria lady at (insert name of local middle school), and they be sending some nasty @$$ sh*t to each other."

"Did you realize the members of the Phoenix Coyotes are human traffickers? Actual human traffickers!" (No, he wasn't joking)

"Hey Ms. G, you guys look alike!" (Referring to a 5'2" African American man)

"No offense, but you kinda look like a hobo." (Yes, they were talking to me...and what is the obsession with hobos?)