28 November 2014

a small-town teacher's social life

Parent-teacher conferences are coming up, and it reminds me of the funniest/most awkward conference night I've experienced.  It was my fifth year of teaching, and a parent came in with a magazine, very excited, and saying she had a surprise for me.  When it was this parent's turn, she presented me with the magazine, which happened to be a newspaper-like local social life magazine for the city of Reynosa.  She turned to a double-page spread of photographs that had been taken one night at some clubs in McAllen, TX.  And I happened to be in two or three of the photographs.  I wasn't doing anything scandalous, just sitting with friends, but it was certainly awkward to have a parent bring me photographs of myself going out with friends.  After she left, another parent who was waiting said, "I wasn't sure whether to tell you, Miss, but I've seen you out at [a local club] before.  Now, you're probably thinking that you need to get new places to hang out!"  Yes, in fact, that is exactly what I'm thinking.  Oh well...at least they were both excited and amused, rather than offended, by seeing their children's teacher out on the town! 

26 November 2014

bling bling

For my school's annual "International Parade," my students researched and did projects about Israel.  One group of boys wanted to make a poster about famous people from Israel.  They asked if they could include Jesus on their poster, and I said yes.  When I walked by to check on their work, I saw one boy drawing a picture of a guy with saggy pants and thick chain necklaces with big dollar signs hanging from them.  The other person he had drawn was popping a wheelie in a wheelchair.  I scolded him for being off task, and reminded him he was supposed to be making a poster of Jesus and other famous people from Israelis.  Here's an approximate transcript of our conversation:

Me:  You're supposed to be making a poster for our class project!
Student:  But I am, Miss!  This is Jesus and his friend.
Me:  ???  What do you mean?  They don't look like people from Jesus's time at all.
Student:  ???  But I read in the Bible that Jesus healed people who were sick and hurt.  And Jesus talked about faith making you rich.  That's why he's wearing sick chains and his friend is cruising in his chair.
Me:  Hmmm, I can see what you're saying.  But I really don't think Jesus dressed like that.
Student:  So no bling bling Jesus?
Me:  No bling bling Jesus.

Ok, so it may not be historically accurate, but he was so earnest, and who am I to judge?  I've never seen Jesus or his friends in person, so maybe they did look like that.  My student did change his poster for the parade...but I kept the original drawings!

24 November 2014

doin' the army crawl

One Sunday I went to school to get some work done.  Another teacher had the keys to the building and also wanted to do some work, so we met up after lunch.  Unfortunately, she forgot that I was there when she left for the day, and she ended up locking me inside the security gates.  Yikes!  What to do?  I realized that there was a sizable gap under the fence that blocked off the bus driveway, so I decided to push my school bag through the gap and then crawl underneath it.   As I was slithering through, I head a call:  "Hi, Miss!"  I looked up to see a student walking by with her mother, sister, and grandmother, as they were out on a family stroll to Dollar General.  Awkward.  

22 November 2014

kids say the darndest things

More old quotes discovered while going through computer files

Clutching my hand excitedly after my birthday was announced during the morning run-down at school:

Felicidades en su cumplanos, Miss! [Happy birthday, Miss!]

Some students were looking through a human body book and laughing at the pictures of naked babies: 

Other student:  MISS!  They’re mocking the human body!

Talking with a student about after school tutorials assignments:

Mith, I talked to Jethuth and athked him to put me in your tutorialth group.   [Miss, I talked to Jesus and asked him to put me in your tutorials group....This student had a strong lisp.]

Talking about a previous student:

Student:  Do you know Jathon, mith?
Me:  Yes, he was in my class last year.
Student:  Oh, well he’th my couthin mith.
Me:  Really?!  You’re nothing like him!
Student:  I know…he’th alwayth getting into fighth over at [the middle school].  But nextht year, when I go to middle thchool, maybe I’ll be like him, getting into fighth.
Me:  No!  You can’t do that!  Make the right choices for yourself!
Student:  Ok, mith, I’m going to be a thmartie.

During a lesson on glaciers: 

Student:  So a glacier is like an ice cube floating in the water?
Me:  No, it’s much, much bigger than an ice cube…it’s like a big hunk of ice sliding down a mountain.  It’s a big hunk!
Student:  Just like me, Miss!

During my school's annual "Know Texas, Love Texas" parade, a student wandered out of the classroom across the hall:

Me:  Why are you out here?  What's your job for the parade?
Student:  I don't know.  
Me:  Ok.  You can welcome people and say things that will make them excited to go to your class to see your projects.
Student:  TRRRRRRRRRICKI TICKI!!!!!!!!!!

My co-teacher sent a student to my class to get me to sign some papers for an upcoming field trip.  I was in the middle of a guided reading lesson or something and it took me a few minutes to sign the papers.  After I signed them:

Student:  Five hours later!!

Two boys were arguing in the computer lab:

Boy 1 :  Miss, boy 2 is saying that I’m the ugliest person in the world, but I’m cuter than he is, right?
Me:  I think you’re both cute.
Boy 2:  Miss, did you know we have the same sister, but we’re not related?
Me:  ??? How does that work?
Boy 2:  Back then, my mom was with his dad, and they had a baby together.  My mom has lived with like four men.  But then she left his dad for my dad.  She got mad at his dad and just grabbed him by the hair and threw him outside.
Boy 1:  Nuh-uh.  If some woman tried to do that, my dad would just flex his muscles and be all, ‘No way.  I’m out of here.’  My dad has lived with lots of womans.  He’s had lots of babies with lots of womans.
Boy 3:  [out of nowhere] Miss, one time my dog had 48 puppies!
All of us:  hahahahahahahaha

Talking about a student who had moved to another school.

Me:  I saw [former student] at the grocery store the other day.
Student:  Uh?
Me:  You know, your friend from Spanish reading class.
Student:  Ah, si!  El gordito!  [puffing out cheeks and making motion of holding a big belly]
Me:  That’s not very nice!
Student:  Pos, yo tambien Mis! [Well, I'm chubby too!]

Talking with a student about how he needed to stop "cutting up" in class with two of his classmates.
Student:  She [classmate 1] has four debils [devils].  He [classmate 2] has one debil.  I have two debils.

My student was playing with an acorn during class, so I confiscated it.  After class:

Student:  Mees, can I have it back?
Me:  Why?
Student:  Because I love it.

Student:  Miss, how’s your life? 
Me:  It’s good.
Student:  [gasp] Mine’s not [gasp]
Me: [gasp]
Student:  Just kidding.
Another student:  Mine’s better
Student:  She’s rich, Miss, that’s why.  I can’t even afford a ranch.

18 November 2014

out of the mouths of babes, part 2

More student quotes discovered from past years:

Miss, Juseth’s favorite color is jello. [yellow]

Debating different colors of apples:

Oh, I love green apples.  They’re so yuicy.  They’re SO yuicy.

Talking about what might be in the snack bags that our buddy class made for our class during state testing week:
There’s a yuice for chure. [There's a juice for sure.]

Running back at the end of the day during bus dismissal:

Miss, just one more hug!

A student was upset that she dropped her backpack:

Aw, Miss, it’s my supa bad day!

Student running up to me as a I was struggling to carry science supplies into my classroom:

Let me help yooooouuuuu!  

One of my students who initially had a lot of trouble cooperating and sharing with other students during another student's school birthday celebration:

Don’t forget, we need to save a piece of cake for the kids who are at reading intervention!

One student was sitting by himself on the wall near the concrete ball court.

Me:  Don’t you want to play with the other kids?
Boy 1:  I never played sports.
Boy 2:  [holds out basketball to boy 1] Do you want to share the ball with me?

Talking about Saturday school:

Me:  So are you coming to tutorials on Saturday?
Student:  Nah, nah!
Me:  Why not?
Student:  Because I gotta go to the March par Christ, March par Christ!  Jeah!  Jeah! [chanted while doing a little dance]

Miss, my dad got [flu] shots the other day.  But it didn’t hurt him.  Because he has a lot of lard.

At the end of  a phone call with a student:

Tell your mama I love her!

Meeting with  a student's mother before school one day.  
Mother:  I need you to move my daughter's seat, because [another student] has been molesting her.
Me: [thinking:  Oh my God, this is terrible.  How could this happen in my class?!]  Of course, I will definitely move her seat.  Can you tell me more about this situation?  I want to make sure this never happens again.  
Mother:  Yes, he was talking to her during class...

Then I remembered that molestar/molest is a false cognate.  The other student was bothering  this woman's daughter.  

Male student walking along singing “Dontcha wish your girlfriend was hot like me?”

Student dancing to "1, 2 Step." He began moving his shoulder at first, then his arm, then his head, then his whole upper body, then the rest of his body.  He then proceeded to "call" me using my camera case as a cell phone.

17 November 2014

out of the mouths of babes, part 1

While going through old files on my computer, I came across a document with a bunch of old student quotes.  I wanted to include them here so I could remember them.  

5 or 6 months after the One Republic song "Too Late to Apologize" came out:

(One student bumps into another, clearly on purpose)
Ismael:  Hey!  You push-id me!
Leo:  I'm sorry!  I'm sorry!
Ismael:  No!  It's too late...to apologize!
Both:  laugh hysterically

While learning about sound waves:

Kenia:  Miss, did you know that they play music for cows to hear, so they will think it's their babies crying and make more milk?

Edgar:  (while dancing and making "milking" motions)  Oh yeah, hace leche!  Hace leche!

"Miss, my hypothesis is that science class will rule today."  -Saul

"Miss, your earrings are so lustrous."  -Ismael

"Misth...itth time."  -Eduardo (Said while peering in at me from the hallway, urging me to finish class so the students could switch back to homerooms.  I had some trouble with pacing my first semester teaching.)

My students were selling discount cards for $20 each to raise money for a school trip.  One girl asked a boy, Rudy G., to buy one for her.  Afterwards:

Rudy:  "Aw miss...these girls know me too well...they know that I got the money...that I got the STRENGTH [making bicep flexing motions]."

Edgar (student who struggled with making good choices):  Miss, I don’t like Mondays.
Me:  I know, it can be really hard to come back and get to work after having fun all weekend…but I’m always happy to come back and see you guys.
Edgar:  No, I mean I don’t like Mondays because we have to go to computers and we don’t get to do experiments!

Student:  Miss, if I’m an orphan, you adopt me?
Me:  Yes, of course! 
Student:  How about my twin? [this student did not have a twin]

While checking homework, I noticed that one student’s paper began, “So Hitler was a shermy little man.”

Me:  Shermy?  What does that mean?
Student:  Schemey!  He made up a lot of schemes.   

…Yeah, I bet spell check didn’t even catch that one.

Love you, Miss!

Just before Winter break:

It’s better to give than to receive, Miss!

While discussing what causes earthquakes:

Eddie:  Maybe it’s not really the plates moving around that causes earthquakes…maybe there are alien scientists who study us like little germs, and when they move the slide, that’s what moves us all around.
Me:  Oh yeah...maybe...
Eddie:  Yes, and then when the scientists look at me on the slide, they’re like, “Hey!  Who is that hot kid?!”  And then all the ladies run in the street, and they’re like, “Hey!  Get out of my way!  We want to get that hot guy!”

While looking at an angel ornament that another student gave me:  

Wow!  This is so beautiful!

Miss, can’t we just stay here?  I’m feeling so lethargic!