I never intended for my teaching blog to be all gloom and doom. So for a little balance, here are some stories that prove that, no matter how infuriating my students are, they're still delightful:
Funny story #1:
It's the Wednesday before our two days off for the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah. The population of students at my school is more than 80% Hispanic, and the teachers seem to be largely Italian and Irish, so I'd bet a pound of gefilte fish that there weren't more than five people who knew why we were off. As we walk to the schoolyard for dismissal, I have this conversation with a first grader:
Phillip: "Tomorrow is birthday?"
Miss Brave: "No, tomorrow is a holiday for some people."
Phillip: "Tomorrow is Monday?"
Miss Brave: "No, tomorrow is Thursday."
Phillip: "I have gym tomorrow?"
Miss Brave: "No, there is no school tomorrow. What day do you have gym?"
Phillip: "Mondays. I like Mondays because I have gym."
Miss Brave: "When you come back to school, it will be Monday and you'll have gym."
Funny story #2:
After the regular school day ends, a lot of the kiddos at my school stay for an extra 50 minutes of small-group instruction for "at risk" students. In my 50-minute session, we usually get the kiddos packed up before the 50 minutes rather than after, so we'll be all ready to go at 3:10. Some of them stay in the room and some leave, which of course confuses them all to no end: "Are we going home? Do I go to computer?" Eduardo, in particular, is a total space cadet; every day I give him the same weary instructions: "No, Eduardo, you stay here with me, remember? Get your backpack...and your lunchbox...and your take-home folder...and your mail...now put those things inside your backpack...now put your backpack on the back of your chair and come to the rug -- why are you lined up at the door? You stay here with me, remember?" "Oh yeah!" he'll say brightly, and then set about the task of pushing in everyone else's chairs and chastising them for leaving them out in the aisle.
Last week, we're walking down the stairs for dismissal, Eduardo and his Spider-Man backpack merrily bouncing down the steps no matter how many times I remind him that (a) we put one foot on each step and (b) we have marshmallow feet when we take the stairs -- when he suddenly looks up, alarmed. "Miss Brave!" he calls out. "I didn't pack nothing!"
It took 10 minutes for all my first graders to pack up their things. I'm not sure what sweet, aimless Eduardo was doing during that time, but I can bet it was more interesting than getting his homework folder.