Sunday, March 31, 2013

Students! Can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em

Q: How can you tell when your students have found your blog?

A: When they start referring to themselves as peeps and leaving notes on your desk signed LY!

Oh, and when they ask you to tell the class about the time you went to the Jr. High to pick up your twins . . .

So, yeah, cat's out of the bag, which, unfortunately means I'll be cracking less jokes around here, and giving more assignments.

In fact, please take out your text book right now and turn to page 323. Read the first section and then write an analysis, beginning with a thesis on the dangers of reading your teacher's private diary, and ending with a list of the first 16 presidents--names, dates and noteworthy accomplishments, please. 

And no, you can't go to your locker and get your book, because SERIOUSLY? 



BRING YOUR BOOK TO CLASS, peeps! Unless you enjoy watching my head spin around and my eyeballs pop out of my head.


One of my students suggested I write about my classes on this blog. 

"Oh, good idea," I said. "Super idea. Best idea ever."

Dear Diary,

There are no students named Wolfgang in my classes, and none of them sparkle like vampires or think we should push Jean Val Jean down the stairs, but we are not completely devoid of excitement in Happy Valley. Just this week we went through two boxes of Kleenex instead of one. And in a single day 16 students came unprepared to read their Huck Finn journals, and I caught five students studying calculus during class, nine students on their cell phones, and one student simultaneously playing his Gameboy and reading The Top 700 Things You Can Do to Annoy Your Teacher.

Not to mention the German exchange students with their heads on their desks, or the student making tangelo peel art in the corner.

You might think I would be discouraged by this, but think again. I get it. My own son has told me how much more he learns at school if he is playing Tetrus, so, except for the student who wrote on my teacher evaluations, "This class is boring!" I'm pretty sure I will be nominated for best teacher on the face of the earth.

(For the record, that student was probably absent on the day I did my famous people power point presentation.)

And this is the bathroom that Obama used at Turtle Bay. 

And this is the top of Fergie's head in the viewfinder in front of me.

And this is Jim Halpert from The Office as I race toward him entering Regis and Kelly.

And this is Nick Jonas checking me out.

And this is me in NYC with the Double Decker Brochure guy. 

My class, boring? Come again?  

Say that to my face!  

I think the biggest difference between high school students and college students is in the amount of Kleenex used and questions asked. Teenagers, as you know, are full of questions, particularly rhetorical questions where no answer is expected, because the question itself is asked to make a point. 

Sometimes the questions begin even before I finish my instruction. 

"Teacher, can I go to the bathroom?" 

"Can I go fill up my water bottle?" 
"Can I go get another box of Kleenex from the office?" 
"Will this be on the test?"
"Can I text my mom to check me out?"
"Can I write my whole paper in hashtags?" 
"Should I get my hair cut?" 
"Have you seen the gallon smashing video on YouTube?"
"Can we watch Duck Dynasty now?"

By this time the kid making tangelo peel art is usually taking "selfies" with my cell phone, or drawing stop motion animation on my sticky note pads. 

What can I say, I'm inspiring. 

But now it's Spring Break, which means I am down south on vacation, which means the only rhetorical questions I am not expected to answer are the ones from my twins about when  we are going shopping for a new pair of basketball shoes, and my MIL about when we are going to eat Chuck-a-Rama. 

In some warped and twisted place deep inside, this almost makes me miss my . . .

Ah students! Can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em. 


Saturday, March 9, 2013

Anything's Possible

Four months without writing a single blog post. Have I lost my mind, or found it? That is the question.

Alls I can say for myself is that it's super hard to be dumb when you're trying to be smart.

Wait, I take that back. Just last week I facilitated a brilliant discussion on Emerson and then drove straight to my twin's junior high to pick them up early from school. I signed them out, and even excused an absence from the previous day, while the attendance office called them down over the PA system. When my twins didn't come, they made another announcement. I thanked her kindly, then stepped into the hallway to wait. After a moment of staring at a Caveman sweat shirt hanging on the wall, a disturbing thought slowly dawned on me.

My twins don't go to this school anymore.

Maybe it's not that hard to be dumb when you're trying to be smart, after all.

I would say that I haven't written because my life is too predictable--that day in and day out all I do is stand at the front of a classroom, pouring knowledge and wisdom into the heads of a bunch of sassy-pants teenagers--but my life has actually taken some unexpected turns lately. For example, we bought our dream house, my son's high school basketball team won the national championship, and I quit watching American Idol.

I didn't see any of that coming.

Oh, and I'm a primary teacher now.

I didn't see that coming either.

It happened so fast. A member of our new bishopric stood in my foyer (my dream house has a foyer) and said "We want you to teach the five-year-olds."

"But . . . but . . . I . . . I . . . just moved in," I said. "How will I make friends if . . . "

"I know what you're thinking," he said. "And it goes against everything I believe in to call a new move-in into the primary. Believe me, I would never do this to anyone else, but we feel really, really strongly that you need to teach the five-year-olds."

There was a pause while I blinked and stared.

"In other words," he continued. "God NEEDS you to teach the five-year-olds."

So anyways, I'm teaching the five-year-olds.

I suspect I came into my new ward with a warning label. My old bishop probably called my new bishop and told him to keep me as far away as possible from all the sassy-pants teenagers, unless of course he wanted combined activities that included kissing tag and spin the bottle.

So anyways, Forrest Gump was right when he said life is like a box of chocolates. If you had sat me down last March and said, hey, at this time next year you'll be teaching high school AND primary, and you'll no longer be watching American Idol, I'd have poked my eyes out.

If you had also told me I'd be living in a house with a foyer and my son would be playing on the best basketball team in the nation, I'd have poked your eyes out.

Guess it's good we can't see what's coming, else we'd all be blind.

There's a moral here. There's a definite moral here. Dr. Seussical knew what he was talking about when he said anything's possible (especially if you have Nick Emery, T.J. Haws, and Eric Mika on your team). I'm in a whole new realm of possibility. And who needs friends when you've got five-year-olds? And who needs American Idol when you've got Duck Dynasty and Downton Abbey. And a foyer. And a garage. Our dream house has a garage too. And a shed. It also has baby blue carpet and wallpaper, and my boys bedrooms are pink, which just goes to show that even dreams need to be updated, if you get my drift.

Some people get to live a dream they never thought possible, and the rest of us get to live a dream they never thought desirable--someone else's dream, for instance. But hey, just because one man's dream is another man's nightmare, doesn't make it any less valuable to society as a whole. I mean, as long as you're living the dream you're handed to the best of your ability. I mean, my son never thought he'd be a national champion, and I never thought I'd be a high school teacher, and . . .

What was my point, again?

Oh yeah, my life is goooooood. My life is fantastic. I get to wake up every morning at 5:00 a.m. and make lesson plans. It is theee bessssst. I love it.

I am a dummy who is changing the world, one sassy-pants teenager at a time.

That being said, there was one time I thought I might be in the wrong profession. It was the day the yearbook survey came out and my students nominated me for class clown.