Monthly Archives: October 2014

Mean?

I’ve gotten inches from doing a word study on the word “mean” to snap open some minds that need to grasp multiple-meaning words.  Mean is average.  I am not average.  Mean implies a sociopathic viciousness that plans and seeks ways to do harm. I struggle to sleep more than five hours each night as it is.  I don’t need more sleep robbed from me because your student has decided that I am “mean.” My love language is discipline and structure. I maintain order and demand a quiet atmosphere for writing because too much stimulus can stunt the thought process.  I find intriguing journal prompts that foster thinking and creativity. I ask for a minimum of fifteen to twenty minutes of absolute quiet in my class each week. I don’t let you bark at me rudely, and this is “mean.” I insist that you look me in the eye and answer my questions clearly.  I require that you tell me the truth every time. I expect you to do your best and to listen when given directions. I object when a student makes a bad decision to bother someone else’s person or property.  I correct disrespectful behavior and suggest a better choice for your actions while speaking in my one-inch voice. I discourage running down the hall with a sign that reads “walk” in order to preserve my voice. I make you wait until I finish speaking with an adult to show you how to take turns. I remind you that I am an adult and not a child. I am one of the bosses in your life right now. I encourage you to read aloud to help your fluency rate. I defend anyone who I see being hurt. I snatch you out of the classroom when you are about to become ill. I line you up to enter my classroom in an orderly manner. I straighten my desks at the end of the day to provide a tidy classroom for learning. I remain at work hours after school ends to grade papers, respond to emails, make copies, and pray that I have done my absolute best for the day. I pick up trash when my feet are tired and my back aches. I hoard pencils for a rainy day when they are needed.  I rise energized nearly every morning of the school year except when I am sick. I arrive in a punctual manner each morning and meet my obligations.   I live in hope each day for a light bulb to flash and for the look of “I”ve got it!” to cross your face. I read faces and body language to decide how to approach an angry, agitated student. I embrace hurting students with bear hugs.  I escort you to the clinic when you don’t look as if you’ll make it there under your own power. I crack open lockers like a female Heracles, and I make jokes with former students who understand my humor and miss me. I nag you about wearing protective clothing during the winter months to preserve your health.  I tell you to be kind and do good.  I quote Shakespeare at the end of each class period and Lewis Carroll on test days.  I startle you with singing when my tongue and brain get out of sync.  I laugh when you catch me with a great turn of phrase. I dare you to do your best in life. I challenge you to live and not merely exist.  I allow you to nurse your own opinions about who I really am, but I will give you one piece of advice. I will not permit you to talk back to me. And I will not be categorized as “mean.”

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