I had no idea what a legacy I was leaving until... student council announced “Dress Up Like a Teacher” day. I figured some of my former female students might dress up as me, but I was completely flabbergasted when my former 2nd grader and present 5th grader came to school fully festooned as…ME! From short blonde wig and glasses, scarf and skinny jeans, to high-heeled boots, he had impersonated me to a T! “My mom drew the line at make-up,” he ruefully confessed. His mother is a fellow 2nd grade teacher in our district, whom I have always admired and of whom I have sought her good opinion, especially while instructing her son in 2nd grade—her area of expertise! Much to my delight, I was “well received” and I embraced the privilege of having K.C. in my class. At the end of his 2nd grade year, I sent home the following comment in his report card, “I have so enjoyed having K.C. in class this year! K.C. is a voracious reader! Encourage him to read carefully and use details to express his comprehension. K.C. writes with fluency and organization. He is conscientious about applying interesting word choice in his writing. I loved K.C.’s wrap-up sentence when writing about his life from a cactus’ perspective: “Soon my children will arrive and tell my legacy.” Little did I realize the word of prophesy that conclusion would prove to be until K.C. showed up in my classroom costumed as a tribute to me! Ms. E.: inspiring the next generation of transvestites!
Thursday, April 28, 2011
I knew decoding instruction and vocabulary development would be cacophonous when... one of my students asked, “What are Beef Ovens?” The word was Beethoven. One of my other students mistook the Catholic church Holy Cross for Holy “Crisis.” Another student misspelled Mexico as Mexicow! I guess together that would spell “Holy Cow!”
I knew the holiday gift exchange would be revealing when... one of my students handed me a tiny purple penguin pail overflowing with candy, chocolate, and…Sensual Hand Cream! The description read, “Awaken your senses. Jasmine Absolute relaxes the mind and inspires sexy self-confidence. Vanilla Absolute helps soothe and calm so you feel at ease.” Initially, I pondered the multiple-choice mentality:
a. “What kind of person do these parents take me for? Do I honestly come across as a blond bimbo?
b. Or does the family pity my solitary state and generously offer a helping ‘hand’ in spicing up my scent/sex life?!!
c. However, it was the final option that was least offensive and most probable. The Sensual Hand Cream simply smelled good and would protect my hands in the bitter cold winter weather we were beginning to experience.
After choosing option c, my 60 something colleague down the hall, asked me if I’d received a gift from her student’s twin brother, and if so, what was it? When I told her, she expressed that she had received the same gift! We shared our bewilderment, relief that “it wasn’t just me!,” and a good laugh!
I knew parent teacher conferences would prove interesting when... I had to contact two parents via facebook to confirm their son’s conference; then, when the father didn’t show, he followed up with a chat message suggesting that we meet for a drink or two or play some pool and talk about how he could help his son. Oh, dear! What have I gotten myself into?!!
I knew third grade tutoring would be reaffirming when... a parent emailed me and said, “Your time is valuable, and what you are doing is priceless.”
I knew teaching third grade would be rewarding when... my class was listening to a guest author presentation. The author explained that each person is born with a birthday gift: our talent. Some are born with one; some with many. She described a talent as something you enjoy doing yet have to practice to improve your skill. She asked the teachers to share an example of one of our hobbies or talents. Before I could even respond, one of my bright, outgoing, well-liked students blurted out, “I know what Ms. E’s talent is: teaching!” Tears sprang to my eyes, and a smile burst on my face! I was overwhelmed with emotion, joy and affirmation. What an inspiring way to conclude my close encounters of the third-grade!
On the last day of school on the last day of outdoor cross-walk duty, one of my students approached me and said, “My favorite part about third grade was having you as my teacher.”
On the first day of summer vacation, I received my first letter from a student. It was his original illustration of the Blackhawks logo that he had created in art class.
I knew studying planets in science would be an auditory controversy when... one of my students commented, “It was big. Bigger than Uranus.” and another student observed, “Uranus is pretty.” Brings a whole new meaning to the phrase Big and Beautiful!
I knew it was time to consider grade acceleration when... one of my students wrote the following sentence in an eight page response to an extended response question on a reading comprehension test: “Probably it might be complex for kids to manage the cacophony of people yelling and screaming (in case of an earthquake) but they could help by knowing fire escape procedures and testing fire detectors.”
I knew third grade was going to be magical when... one of my students wrote in her fictional narrative that “School is a ‘palace’ [place] where you learn math, spelling, and science.” Maybe not all spelling needs to be corrected!
I knew literature circles could prove controversial when...our Character Captain described the teacher’s character as “shit” instead of “strict”! Sometimes truth hurts!
I knew I would never hear a more original absence excuse than when one of my students announced, “I was gone yesterday ‘cause my baby brother was being circumcised.” Wow! Well, then…that was an excuse I hadn’t encountered! Talk about forthright honesty! Gotta love third grade;-)
I knew the integration of technology and the third grade community project would be…open to interpretation when...
I knew the integration of technology and the third grade community project would be…open to interpretation when I read one student’s response to the question: Explain why ice harvesting ended in Batavia. Use text evidence and don’t forget to write your ideas. She wrote: “You cant text them.”
I knew the 3rd grade social studies unit on our community would prove intoxicating when…a student wrote that “Millinery stores sell ‘wine and drugs.’ And ‘Uncle Sam’ built the first store in our community.”
I knew third grade ISAT prep would be heart-warming when... one of my students wrote, “The best thing about February is that I’m in 3rd grade at O.U.R. Elementary School in Miss E’s class.” I also loved another student’s phrase: “party till we’re purple.”
I knew it was the best run-on sentence I would ever encounter when one of my students wrote that “the eagle has wings as brown as the richest manure in the world,” “her eyes shine like a brown cup of warm coffee,” and “its head is as white as a snowball made of the purest water and the puffiest cloud that fell through the most refreshing air made by the cleanest glove woven by the nicest little boy’s grandma who is vegetarian.”
I knew 3rd grade social studies was going to be scandalous when... one of my students wrote, “I had to take difuckal (difficult) tests…that was a difuckalt experience for me.”
I knew book reports were going to be rewarding when…one of my students requested not to present her book report in front of the class because she was nervous (a contrast from 2nd grade, when students are too young to have inhibitions and all want to share in front of the class). She overcame her fear when we presented a “partner” book report together. She was so relieved when it was over and thanked me repeatedly saying, “I can’t remember if I already said this, but thank you for doing my book report with me, Ms. E!”
I knew “Letters to M.E.” were going to be a trip when…one of my students recommended that I check out a book at the republic library. Hey! Maybe I will! It’s a free country and library, too, for that matter!
One of my students signed her letter: “Sinsurly, Amy”
One of my students reported about a book she was reading because “I had to read it yesterday or my dad would cancel all of the kid channels on TV and we could not play wii…and I think it’s a good book so far.” Oh, the brutal honesty of the future generation and the extrinsic rewards with which we bribe them!
One of my students wrote, “It is the best book I've ever read in my whole entire eight years of life and I've read tons of books in my day.”
I knew it was going to be an interesting year when…one of my students wrote about the five seasons: summer, winter, fall, spring, and Halloween! And one of my other students wrote an essay about “Thinksgiving.”
One of my students explained the definition of a lavatory as follows: "A lavatory is where a scientist works." I guess that depends on the type of scientist or one’s perspective on the research that takes place in a lab—a load of crap! Lol ;-)
I knew we were going to have an interesting class when…my attendance helper informed me this morning that “no one is abstinent.” I guess that means everybody really IS doing it—at least in our third grade class!
I knew it was going to be a bad day when…I asked for letter observations, and one of my students pointed out that R and S were switched around on the Word Wall…after Meet and Greet and Curriculum Night had come and gone. Hmmmm, I can only imagine what the parents must think of their child’s teacher’s competence…Maybe I should try kindergarten…as a student.
I knew 3rd grade was too old for me when…four of the kids came in from recess accusing each other of having sex.
One student grabbed another’s eraser in math class and threatened to throw it at him, saying, “Do you want a hole in your nipple?” No comment! You do the math;-)
One of my students miscued the word “Cherokee” for “karaoke” and “puppetry” for “puberty” in social studies! That is a different genre of social studies ;-)
The librarian discovered a ripped and crumpled wad of notebook paper in the hallway near the lockers that read, “I don’t no where you get this stuff but I’m giving the ring back. Sorry L” Guess, the engagement is off! Just answer me this: how come my kids are rejecting proposals and returning rings when I can’t even get a date???
One of my students wrote in his “Letters to M.E.” that “in retrospect I think both of them are really amazing [books]. As much as I love to read books I always want to pick just right books. For example, once I tried to read a copy of the original Red Badge of Courage. I thought I think I’ll wait a little until I read this book.” Um, yeah, that one’s still a challenge for ME!