Category Archives: Classroom

Hopeful to be Adopted Kid-1, RLT -0

In class I was telling my kids that I was weary of finding backpacks, pencils, lunch bags, etc. I expressed myself vehemently. One student raised his hand as I finished my rant. I loudly proclaimed, “I’m not adopting you!” with mock rage. His head dropped in feigned sadness and his seat mate comforted him. “It’s okay.”

I relented and deigned to inquire, “Okay, hon, what was your question?”

“Have you found my water bottle?” I stared at him for a beat. My class burst into laughter as I covered my head and ears with my hands in a gesture of defeat. I didn’t answer him. He won. Today.

RLT

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Are You a Bear?

I take off my shoes after the students leave. When it’s warm outside, I go barefoot or don an inexpensive pair of flip flops. The other day was warm, so I had no shoes on. No, I’m not a Kenny Chesney No Shoes Nation type of girl. A student who isn’t in my class says, “Every time I see you, you’re barefoot.” I looked at her in disbelief and asked her to repeat herself. Inside my jaw had hit the carpet.

“Every time I see you, you’re barefoot. Are you a bear?” There were other students standing around.

“Do you know who I am?”

“Mrs. Johnson.”

“Yes, and I don’t think we have the type of relationship where you can say that to me. Remind me of your name because I am sure we will speak again.” I am not a bear.  I become Mama Grizzly on field trips; she doesn’t know that. This young lady was striving to be funny. Please make sure your audience is receptive to a humorous overture next time, hon.

RLT

Why You Make Me…

Take your hoodie because you keep putting the hood on after I said take it off? Now you’re cold, and I have no mercy. “Pick it up after school, and don’t be hard headed.”

Let you leave last because you try to dart like a deer out the door first? “You’ll be one of the last to leave class today.” Natural consequences.

Tell you to throw away your gum or lollipops that dangle from your mouth like a skinny cigarette? You saw the sign on my door. I overheard a student say, “You don’t chew gum this period.” Hmph. They know.

Assign a detention after school or before school? You know to sit down, keep your hands to yourself, and speak to me like you have sense.

Remind you that I don’t lend pencils when you announce you came to class unprepared? I don’t celebrate lack of preparation with a balloon or stick of gum. You earn a baleful eye and a question, “Where is your pencil?” Bonus winners get the phrase, “When the pencils I find and put in Grumpy Cat’s box run out, then what will happen?” I find at least one or two good pencils in the hallway carelessly left behind. I give them to my math teacher or save them for the Chucks-Outta-Luck who don’t bring squat to class.

Give you the stink eye? Do I ever let you come at me when I start class unless it’s blood, bones, or sickness? No, get over your hurt feelings, and move on.

Raise my voice to be heard when I get ready to dismiss class? Your conversation about the weekend or Snapchat is unimportant. Unimportant.

Close the door in your face when I tell you that the reteach session is more than halfway finished after you ignore the sign and locked door, and you show up late? It is too late. Come back another time. Make other plans. Deal. With. It.

Clean the desks because you draw on them? You will get to clean desks after school one day soon when I catch you.

Remind you that you aren’t grown up and get to talk to me like you’re an adult? I don’t have to explain myself. If I choose to do so, it is my prerogative. And you cannot cross your arms, ball up your fists, or roll your eyes at me when you have just barely been born. Step back, child. I am more than you bargained for.

RLT

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An Observation or Two

One ridiculous question begets another. They seem to be contagious like yawns or ever present like dandelions.

“What page is it on?” Wordlessly, I point to the reference on the board. Another hand goes up. “Where do we look?” Thank goodness I had not lowered my arm. Now I wiggle my index finger. The social butterfly lands, tosses her hair, and smiles. “What are we supposed to do next?” If I am cross, I respond, “I wasn’t paying attention either. I don’t even know what I said.” Mariposa (Spanish for butterfly) looks sheepish reads the directions. Slowly I lower my arm and survey the class. Where will the weed of ignorance sprout next?

Some students believe I will eat them up. I keep salt and pepper handy along with packets of ketchup, mustard, soy sauce, duck sauce, hot sauce, and taco sauce collected from my various jaunts to fast food establishments. I show the “pantry” to unbelievers who leave wide-eyed and wondrous, glad to escape with their lives. Yes, seeing IS believing in this case. I have smiled like a shark as I herded my “snacks” out of school. I win.

RLT

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Struggle is Still Real

Apparently my students have not had homework in their previous schools, so they are fighting me about doing their assignments at home. Grades are done for the first marking period of this year on Friday, and there will be a few surprises. I have become relentless about getting work turned in and even keep track of what I am doing to get the work from unmotivated students. Detentions will be issued today. Period. They will be fine once they get with the program. My face will show a different look when that happens; it will reflect the joy I have inside and not the disappointment I feel outside.

RLT

The Face

My face when I am looking at students who don’t turn in work and then look surprised when consequences start racking up.

Part of the Ship, Part of the Crew

This was taken on Monday after school for no good reason. I had their older siblings two years ago, and we have a connection. I can tell this duo has a great sense of humor already.

Somehow on the first day of school last Thursday, I spoke to one of them about sprouting wings. During our icebreaker we had a discussion about taking off (standing up), and I told them they could not flap their arms when they took off. That was it. They are in different classes for me, but I see them together after school like two peas in a pod. Meet the Wingmen!

RLT

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Hashtag Time

I had a great first day with my new students. When I left school, my tiredness was the kind that let me know I was on the road to a good year. Here are a couple of photos for my first day before and after school.

# Year24Teacher

RLT

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Focus Time

Here is a photograph of my classroom. I find myself thinking about the finer details to make everything look perfect. You can see some items on the table. I’m going to cut out the laminated items and use those colorful pennants somewhere this year. The walls needed some color and pop, so I used butcher paper to liven up the walls a bit. That is a red quadrilateral shape behind the clock. I have my power standards posted so that the students can see them as they check the clock to see when it’s time to leave. It’s something that happens each year. C’est la guerre. I placed pictures of my family and friends. They are there for my edification and for my students to see my human side.

This is a year of focus for me. I am strictly a social studies teacher. I am an academic team leader and member of my church’s sanctuary choir. I am a wife, mother, sister, aunt, niece, friend, and cousin. I am a girl who picks up crayons, markers, or map pencils and colors when I want to be creative. I think that’s enough for now.

RLT

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School Supplies

I enjoyed the month of June after school ended so much that I did not want to plan out a real schedule other than my workshops and a trip to see my husband’s family. We made our trip during the first week of July. It seems like yesterday. As soon as we returned, I began the back-to-school brain that besets every teacher. In July the stores begin their marketing campaigns designed to bring joy to every parent who now appreciates what I do for 9-10 months. Sales of clothing, backpacks, pencils, and notebook paper are broadcast on the television or in magazines. Going to Walmart, Target, or Kroger means the displays whomp a shopper on the head as soon as she dares enter the building. Joyous youngsters’ faces shine like the sun as they anticipate meeting their new teacher and being in classes with their friends. I on the other hand have glazed eyes, and a tic begins by my left eye. I fasten my gaze to the ground or shelf to avoid the happy schoolchildren’s Kodak smiles beckoning me to buy a new pair of jeans or blouse. “No, I am not buying cardstock, pencils, or manila paper today. I am here for groceries. Groceries. Groceries.”I mutter under my breath. I must have said it a bit too loudly because now a startled young mom with her school age children urges her young brood away from the crazy lady mumbling to herself. I shake my head to right my brain and resume shopping. Crisis averted.

Target had a discount for teachers from July 15-21. Our state’s tax free weekend is August 10-12. Bad timing! I refused to darken the door of the Big Red Bullseye Menace once. You’ll never take me alive. Alas, my last workshop was yesterday, Wednesday, July 25. I found myself in Dollar Tree to buy some cards and popcorn. Well, the front wall was covered with back to school stuff. Argh! They have a little teacher corner. Like a zombie, I went to the teacher corner and found some items to update my décor a little bit. Sucker! As I made my way to the cashier, I saw them. Stress balls decorated like globes. Did I buy one? No. I bought three. One for me. One for my teaching partner. And one for my college aged son who is living at home doing an internship. They got me.

RLT

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That Sums It Up

This ridiculously exhaustive list sums up the perception of what my teacher brothers and sisters must accomplish on a daily basis. Meeting all of their needs is impossible. Mamas and daddies have an important role as the first teachers. I’m just there to impart some knowledge along the journey. I am a realist.

RLT

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