I have said a few things to my kiddoes over the course of my career. Here is a small sampling.
1. “You will never have another person in your life exactly like me, baby, and that is a shame.” I hear from kids all of them time that they miss me and my classroom. I told them this already.
2. “I will haunt you in your nightmares, and you will not get away. I always outrun you in your nightmares. I’ll be wearing my red dress and heels, baby, and you cannot get away. I have scheduled you for 3:15 A.M.” I tell them I’ll be carrying my pitchfork. Some have reportedly seen me in their nightmares. I told them this would happen. Why they didn’t believe me, I don’t know.
3. “I’m bigger than you!” [Even if they can look me in the eye, I am bigger than them.] They don’t know exactly how I am measuring myself, so they tend to give me a querying look and accept the fact. I never tell them the ruler I use. I’m not telling you either.
4. “I am the equally fabulous/equally notorious Mrs. Johnson.” In my classroom, I am the fabulous Mrs. Johnson. In the hallway when you mess up, I am the notorious Mrs. Johnson. I have kids who want to be in my class with me as their teacher, and their schedule won’t permit it.
5. “Is your arm broken?” I say this when they forget to raise their hands for my attention. Sometimes, I will raise the student’s arm to demonstrate the soundness of the limb.
6. “As long as you live, when you speak to me, you will say, ‘Yes, ma’am.’ or ‘No, ma’am.'” This is said as a reminder that our relationship is not one of equals. There is a hierarchy, and I am the boss in case you have forgotten. I am also a naturalized Texan, so I practice the politeness I was taught when I moved here as a soon-to-be sixth grader. It was expected that when you addressed an adult, you used “sir” or “ma’am” if you wanted to demonstrate good manners. I have even put on a horrible thick drawl to help new arrivals learn that even though we may sound a little differnt here in Texas, we have been “raised right.”
7. “Who do you think you are?” I have said this when a student suffers an dreaded bout of “mouth-before-brain” syndrome and says something really out of line and/or offensive. I tell them that they didn’t hurt my feelings, but someone else might not be so forgiving and that they should be careful about what they say.
8. “Step outside into the hallway.” No one wants to talk to me one on one in the hallway, especially when they have done something wrong. Sometimes I ask students to step in the hallway to discuss a private issue (medical, emotional, academic progress, etc.) that is no one else’s business but their guardian’s or mine as teacher of record.
9. “You really seem to want my attention. Let’s go outside in the hallway. Now you have my attention.” No explanation required.
10. “This is not your home. Put your shoes on.” I said this when a student took his shoes off and was in sockfeet walking about. I showed him my rocking chair, microwave, and refrigerator. These items are proof that I actually live there.
11. “You love me, baby. I already know it.” I have been known to just tell students that I know they really love me even if they don’t say it. I tell them I don’t even need to hear the words to know that they love me. I can tell by their actions.
12. “I love you more.” When some of my former students shout, “Mrs. Johnson! I love you!” I find this to be the best response.