Conversations with Kindergarteners

“How old were you when you started teaching?”

“83.”

“How old are you now?”

“105.”

*Blank stare*

(Apparently, these are perfectly reasonable answers to a kindergartener.)

*Long pause*

“So, you’re 105 years old?”

“No! Of course not! If I was that old, I’d be hobbling around with a cane!”

“So, how old are you really?”

“I’m 30.”

*Stares at me aghast*

“You’re only 3 years old?! Even I’m older than you!”

Kindergarteners clearly have no understanding of numbers.

Things That Made Me Go, “Hmm…” – Week 22

Here it is. The moment you’ve been waiting for ALL WEEK. You’re welcome, Blogosphere. You. Are. Welcome.

  • This happened this week:

I find it fundamentally strange that people are more upset about the hypotheticals regarding a new law in Indiana than they are about 147 Christians being brutally slaughtered in Kenya… for being Christians. What exactly does that say about our priorities as Americans? Seriously… what is the matter with us? Just because we’re protected from such horrors means it doesn’t matter?

  • Here is a video of Prince Harry flying in a World War II Spitfire:

Aside from the fact that “Spitfire” is the single best name for an aircraft ev-ER, here’s what I find annoyingly weird about this whole thing. If you’re going to write a story highlighting the dude’s charity work (The flight was for promotion of the Spitfire scholarship which offers training for wounded servicemen and women… which is AWESOME), then please do so. But does the story need to reflect our obsession with “celebrity” to such an extent that we write the following stupid headlines? “Prince Harry Gleefully Laughs and Cheers During Spitfire Flight” (from People). Or “Watch Prince Harry Whoop with Delight as His Spitfire Rolls in Top Gun Moment” (from the Mirror). “News” like this makes my head hurt, and headlines that use phrases such as “gleefully” and “whoop with delight” make my head hurt even more. Make the story about the charity work, not oohing and ahhing over well-known people acting like normal human beings because… really? Just… STOP.

  • Rotary phones are the bomb. Children who grew up without rotary phones are sad individuals. That being said, watch these sad individuals try to figure out how to text with a rotary phone.

And if you watch it through to the tail end, you’ll get these little gems:

  1. “I wasn’t born in the 40s so…”
  2. “I love old technology. I’m a fan of plastics”
  3. What is a long distance call?  “Letters?”
  • Someone decided to make a chocolate sculpture of Benedict Cumberbatch. First of all… every time I hear that name, I become inexplicably enraged because I can’t figure out if that’s the name of a human being or a dessert or an Anime character or some historical reference to an obscure military battle fought during the Revolutionary War. Benedict Cumberbatch? What is that? That’s totally made up. Right? Like Kim Kardashian’s ass… not even real.
  • This also happened this week:

Oh, Manuela. You are awesome. (I love how she hides behind the sign in horror.)

Okay, kids. That’s all I have for you this week. Over n’ out, good buddies.

But lastly… A Happy Easter to all!

beautiful-religious-easter-pictures-vqdwg8w4

Oh, Awkward Day

Oh my GAWD, Blogosphere. Simmer down. I’m gone for a couple of days and you inexplicably explode, leaving me with looming fears that I will never catch up on my reading and miss out on some of the funniest and most worthwhile posts ever.

Life is HARRRRRRRDDDDDDD.

In other news, it turns out that one of the kindergarteners is the son of my high school civics teacher. My adorable high school civics teacher. The high school civics teacher every girl had a crush on because he was so adorable. The adorable high school civics teacher that I formerly avoided like the plague out of fear of being all…

You know… all awkward like? (Like I am around every man to walk the face of the earth?) The adorable high school civics teacher who is still adorable and came into the classroom today to talk to his son. The adorable high school civics teacher that I acted perfectly normal around and friendly to without falling apart. (I’d call that progress, peeps.)

In still other news… whoever came up with the idea of showing a TWO HOUR MOVIE as a reward to the students for good behavior RIGHT BEFORE EASTER BREAK needs to be taken out back and… dealt with harshly. Especially when that person was like, “Yeah! And we’ll do it for the WHOLE SCHOOL! Even the KINDERGARTENERS! It. Will. Be. AWESOME!”

Do you know what it’s like when kindergartners try to sit in an auditorium, in seats that are 5 times too big for them, and try to be still and quiet for 2 HOURS?!

Just to give you an idea…

Oh, it’s all fun and games until the 20 minute mark when EVERYONE STARTS TO FALL APART.

HAPPY EASTER, KIDS!

Seriously?

ANYhoodles… that was my day. How was yours?

Gif Sources:

www.gifbay.com, d0ntgiveupl0ve.tumblr.com, 4gifs.tumblr.com, www.tumblr.com,

Crabby Ms. Evans

For the first time in a very, very long time, I literally (in this context, we’re using the British pronunciation of the word…) feel like doing nothing.

And by nothing, I mean that staring at a wall in silence seems like it would be a little too much to undertake at this point in time.

I never feel like doing nothing. I always have to be doing something. And now?

Nope. Nothing. Not a single solitary thing do I feel like doing.

The 3rd graders I had today pushed every one of my buttons… and then a couple I didn’t even know existed.

They were belligerent, disrespectful, and waaaaaaaaay out of line.

They refused to listen, threw things when they didn’t get their way, mimicked and mocked any adult that dared to call them on their behavior, told bald-faced lies and then cried and threw complete temper tantrums when privileges were revoked.

I’m not the kind of teacher that typically yells, but by the end of the day, you bet your ass I was yelling. By that point, I was no longer taking the diplomatic approach of pulling the student aside and talking to them calmly about their behavior. Nope. When it got to the point of infraction after infraction after FREAKIN’ INFRACTION by the same students, I just used my noisy, angry, “you have GOT to be kidding me with this” teacher voice to tell them in no uncertain terms that they “Need to fix it NOW otherwise you can have a long chat with the principal”. I was flipping cards left and right. They were losing privileges left and right. By the time the buses came, I was like, “Go. Leave. I’m done.”

I HATE being that teacher. Especially when there were some kids who were REALLY on  top of it today. They were following directions. They were being respectful. They were doing what they were supposed to be doing. And yet, they were forced to sit through all my lectures and reprimands. And yes, I made sure the kids who were doing their jobs got extra privileges and kudos from me, but I just felt horrible that a half dozen kids could ruin the day for everyone involved.

*sigh*

So, if you don’t mind, I’m spending the rest of my evening stress-eating and staring off into space.

Kids these days…

Help me, Help you.

I know you all have been sitting on the edge of your seats, waiting with bated breath for me to regale you with tales of 1st grade pandemonium. (Quick, how many cliches can Annie squeeze into one sentence?) Well, wait no more dear readers… I am here and regale you I will.

First, the good news: Two of the biggest trouble makers most challenging students were absent today. ABSENT. I may have grinned a bit more widely than I should have upon receiving that news.

The bad news: It was Friday. And despite the fact that they are now in the 3rd quarter, most of the students still have yet to reach the emotional maturity of a 1st grader.

Which makes my life… really, really hard.

It’s not that I’m not a patient teacher… I am. I really, really am. It’s just that… you’re not helping the situation. NO ONE IS HELPING THE SITUATION. Please. For the love of GOD, help me, help you.

First off, crying and wailing about perceived slights from other students 5 times a day actually isn’t overkill (contrary to popular belief). Don’t let other people fool you. You clearly have an issue. And the teacher needs to know about it.. immediately. The teacher is required to comfort / coddle / cater to your needs regardless of the fact that 15 other students in the classroom are also trying to learn. So, by all means, continue to cry and wail and scream until you get your way. It’s quite effective and a very useful means of communication. Words? Who needs words when you can scream at the top of your lungs in the hallway disrupting every classroom in the vicinity? Well played, student. Well played.

Additionally, sticking your nose in every other student’s business is going to earn you major points from the substitute teacher who clearly has no idea what is happening in the classroom. So, please, continue to watch like hawks what everyone else is doing, and be not concerned with your own work. That way, when Molly drops a piece of paper on the floor and doesn’t pick it up immediately, 5 of you can run screaming to the teacher, and 7 of you can scream at Molly for being an idiot. Seriously. Gold stars for everyone for being so super helpful!

Also, if you could continue screaming at the substitute teacher and correcting her every time she does something slightly differently than your classroom teacher… that would be amazing. It’s so nice to know that you guys are on top of things and will not let anything slide despite repeated reminders that you need not tell the teacher what to do. I mean… I’ll be honest… there’s pretty much nothing else subs love more than that. Like… nothing. You guys are rock stars. It’s so nice to know you are on top of things.

And lastly, I so appreciate your concern for your classmates. The fact that the teacher can’t deal with any single issue without the entire classroom getting involved is just… Well, it’s a beautiful thing, really. If someone is crying because a miniscule patch of skin on their pinky finger is dry, it’s so nice to know that you are willing to clamber out of your own seats in the middle of the math lesson to hug / show concern / ask what’s wrong / offer to go to the nurse’s office with that student. Seriously. At that point, it’s not even about classroom procedure and the direct instruction to “stay in your seats”. You guys recognize a medical emergency when you see one, and for that, I am eternally grateful.

Soooo…. all in all? Yet another amazing day with my first graders. Like… jump on a couch and gush to Oprah amazing. I don’t know what I was talking about. Now that I think about it… this day couldn’t have gone better.

Thanks, 1st graders. You’re all just the best.

Gif Sources: www.reddit.com, jenna-maroney.tumblr.com, ipooprainbowsandbutterflies.tumblr.com, www.globaltv.com, swansondonaghypowers.tumblr.com

Well… That’s Just Awkward

This morning I had playground duty.

Playground duty consisted of me keeping the kindergarteners off the patch of black ice they were trying to crack with their 40 pound bodies. Doing so would prevent any life-threatening concussions and/or bloodied and bruised bodies. So, I dutifully fulfilled my obligation by watching them like a hawk and repeatedly telling them to “Get off the ice.”

It was the equivalent of herding cats. The moment I looked away to address the need of any other human being, they were back on the ice, trying to crack it with their 40 pound bodies.

Whatever. Go for it. Get a concussion. But you were warned.

My other duty was standing at the top of the stairs while the students entered the building. I’m not sure the purpose of this duty. Perhaps to keep students from shoving each other down the stairs or body-slamming their classmates into the brick building. I don’t know. But let me tell you, I did a bang-up job of standing at the top of those stairs.

Once playground duty was finished, I followed my 4th graders into the building. This, of course, was trickier than I thought because now I was required to keep the 4th grade boys from body slamming each other into the lockers on either side of the hallway.

Pre-adolescent boys are… exhausting.

Anyway, as I was verbally reminding them to, “Stooooop. Boys! Hands to yourselves.” it occurred to me how ridiculous I must have looked to the other adults in the hallway. Because these 4th grade boys had hit that awkward growth-spurt phase and were now as tall as, if not bigger, than I was.

Any one of these boys could have body-slammed me into a locker, effectively giving me the same concussion and bloodied body I had warned the kindergarteners about.

Do you know how embarrassing it is to be smaller than a 4th grader? A FOURTH GRADER? I’m pretty sure some of the adults didn’t recognize me as an adult, because I was the same size as the kids I was in charge of. I wondered how many of them were wondering about the new 4th grade student who sounded and acted like a grown up, but certainly hadn’t filled out in the height department… (or any other department for that matter, but that’s a whole ‘nother can of worms…)

I kid, I kid.

….Kind of.

ANYhoodles… it was awkward. It reminded me of when I taught junior high and was significantly smaller than all of my students. In fact, the boys were so much bigger than me that on my last day, one of them actually picked me up and carried me out of the classroom.

I’ll let that sink in…

Tyrese (not his actual name… duh) actually picked me up and carried me out of the classroom. I literally had no control over the situation… due to me being carried down the hall.

WHAT?

I KNOW. It’s kind of hard to act like you have control of a classroom when one of your students is actually carrying you down the hallway.

The thing is, I’m not even that little. I mean, you’re probably picturing a little person after what I just described. For the record, I’m 5′ 3″… and a half (that extra half inch totally counts). That’s not even that small. That’s pretty typical for a female… isn’t it? I mean… they just grow kids so dang big these days.

So, as I was following my 4th graders down the hall, I had a flashback to that harrible middle school incident, and was just happy that for most of them… I was at least a half inch taller.

(See? I told you that half inch counts.)

The Lazy Ones

As a teacher, I like to think that I’m relatively well-able to handle most personality types in my classroom.

  • Drama Queens? Check
  • Class Clowns? Check
  • Great Debaters? Check
  • Curious Questioners? Check
  • Know-It-Alls? Check
  • Entitled Princesses? Check
  • Feet Draggers? Check
  • Time Wasters? Check
  • Social Butterflies? Check
  • Unhelpful Helpers? Check
  • Cry-Babies? Check
  • Hopeless Romantics? Check
  • Idealists? Check
  • Pessimists? Check
  • Competitive Jocks? Check
  • Wall Flowers? Check

Name a personality type, and chances are a teacher has dealt with that type at some point in their teaching career – often with varying degrees of success and failure. No matter the personality type, there are good and bad attributes about each, and therefore, there is always something to learn, something to gain and something to lose by working with each type. That’s the nature of the game. It’s our differences that make our experiences worthwhile.

And while I have learned a lot from working with each personality type, there is one type that I have learned nothing from; one type that has resulted in more frustration and hair-tearing out than any other; one type that I have had very little success with over the years.

That type?

The Lazy Ones.

The Lazy Ones are nearly impossible to motivate. No amount of coaxing, bribing, prodding, pleading, or threatening works. You can’t engage them enough, entertain them enough, or pique their interest enough. You can’t convince them, persuade them, or cajole them. They simply do not care, and they cannot be bothered to do the work.

In an effort to engage the student, the teacher will jump through all manner of hoops in the hopes that something will trigger an interest, a curiosity, or an innate gift, that will then catapult that student into “contributing member of the classroom” mode.

And it never works.

The teacher can use all form of pyrotechnics, dancing animals, explosives, musical theater, and celebrity endorsements and still… nothing. After all avenues of engagement have been exhausted, the teacher will receive, at most, an eye roll and a shrug, and the head returns to the desk, the body slumped over to resume it’s napping position.

Phone calls to parents, failing grades, after school talks about “potential” and “innate abilities” result in more nothingness, and the teacher stands there helplessly as another “lazy one” slips through the cracks despite exhausting every avenue available.

So, what’s a teacher to do? If the intrinsic motivation to learn something isn’t there, can any manner of extrinsic motivators do the trick? What do we do with the lazy ones? Can we save them from themselves? And how do we prevent ourselves from burning out in the process?

Gif Source: www.cinemagrapher.com