Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween

As my class was lined up at the door ready to leave one Friday afternoon I said to them, "Ok, have a great weekend. Be safe, I love you..."

These are the various reactions I got from my students: 

"You love us?!"

(It seemed like a justifiable reason to scream for a few.) 

"Ew, that means she even loves the girls." 

Yeah, my class is full of keepers. I explained to my second graders that I didn't love them like a romantic love, the way you would love your boyfriend or girlfriend (something I really never thought I would have to explain to them). I told them I loved them how their parents or relatives love them. Sure, for some of them it's more like a crazy-third-cousin-twice-removed kind of love. Ya know, where the word love really becomes synonymous for tolerate. But it's love nonetheless. 

Last Friday, we did a cool Halloween art project involving paint. 

I was in a meeting all morning, and had to do the prep for it on the spot. As I was explaining what we would be doing to the class, I was also opening paint bottles, setting up sponges, and making sure that newspaper covered every surface in my classroom. The paint bottles required a little extra work because the seals on the top wouldn't come off very easily. I had to stab them with my scissors and ended getting paint all over my hands. The last paint bottle I opened was the red one and I had made quite a mess. I continued giving instructions and ignored the mess when a student interrupted me. 

Student 1: Look! Teacher's hand is bleeding!
Me: (Looking down at my paint covered hand feigning surprise) AGH! I'm bleeding! Ha, no it's just the red paint. I'll clean it up in a sec.  
Student 2: It's everywhere! Her hand is really bloody. 
Me: Come on you guys, you saw me open the bottle, it is just red paint. I'll clean it up in a second. 
Student 3: Teacher, there's blood all over your hands!
Me: (losing patience) Ok you guys, the joke has been made. The red paint on my hands looks like blood. Very funny. 
Student 2: No teacher, it really looks like blood. Like a lot. 
Me: (waving my red paint covered hand wildly) It is not blood! It is paint! Now will you all please just stop so we can get to work on this!?!
Student 1: Teacher, look at your other hand.

Don't be silly kids, that's just paint! Also, this is not my hand, I found this on Google. I felt it illustrated the story nicely since I didn't actually stop to take a picture of the real deal. 

I look down and I am surprised to find that in my effort to quickly open the paint bottles I have sliced my finger open with my scissors and blood is dripping down my hand.

Me: Whoops. Thanks for looking out guys. 

I went to the sink to clean up my red hands and my cursed scissors and to disinfect everything.

Later that afternoon we were having a perfect homework party (I do teach curriculum sometimes, too). We were decorating Halloween cookies. I came around with Twizzlers Pull 'N' Peels for them to decorate with but I didn't have enough for the class, so I was cutting them in half with scissors.

Kaitee: Are those the same scissors you cut your hand open with?
Damon: (With an eye roll) Great, first she loves us and now she wants us to eat her blood.

I'm telling you, I really do worry sometimes what these kids must be saying to their parents when they get home.

Today was every teacher's dream: Halloween on a Friday. We get to end the day with a party and then ship the little monsters off with their parents WITHOUT having to deal with their sugar crash the next day. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant! 

But of course the day couldn't go off without a hitch. We had made it through the first half of the day pretty smoothly and my kids knew that after lunch we would get to have our classroom party with all sorts of treats. AND after the party, all their parents were coming to watch them march in a parade through the school so they could show off their costumes. They were stoked. I had just sent them out to lunch recess when one of the third grade teachers came running down the stairs. Clearly alarmed, but in a soft voice she said to me (because there were still students around), "Grab your kids and get outside, the upstairs is filled with smoke. There's a fire." 

I grabbed my emergency supplies and rushed out to the playground to find my students, who luckily remembered our meeting spot. The good news: we had just had a fire drill yesterday, so they knew exactly what they were supposed to do. The bad news: we had just had a fire drill yesterday, and they are smart enough to know we don't do two drills in a row. 

I instantly had kids panicking and crying and causing all sorts of chaos. I sat them down and told them the firemen were on their way and we were all going to be fine. I felt so bad for the stress the situation was causing my kids, until I overheard their conversations. Like always, these are direct quotes. 

Raj: All of my candy is going to burn up in the fire! WHY ME?!?
Luke: Dude, forget about the candy. What about the MATH!?!

Heidi: Ugh, I'm so hungry. I don't care if I burn, I just want to eat my lunch. 

One of my little girls was sobbing uncontrollably, and I thought she was worried about her sisters that also attend the school. She finally calmed down enough to tell me: 
Sam: What if... (sob) they cancel.... (sob) the parade? (sob).... and no one.... (sob)..... can see me (sob).... in my costume?

Don't worry, our school didn't burn down. Turns out one of the third grade teachers brought a smoke machine for her class party (so yes, she is obviously a way cooler teacher than me) and forgot to actually tell anyone about it. The parade went on as scheduled, and I must say, Cookie Monster killed it. Kids loved it, and I got to sit around in pajamas and eat cookies all day. Miss Earl for the win!

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

True Story

For all the parents that read my blog there is something you probably already knew that I did not learn until I became a teacher, and it is this:

No matter how normal or great your family is your student will say something at school at some point that is going to make you sound crazy and/or horrible. 

Now depending on your actual level of sanity, your student may have more or less ammunition to work with. But despite your best efforts or your great parenting, kids just have a warped sense of reality (they're still developing cognitively- not their fault) and they love to talk.

So when my students tell me things about their family members, I usually just take it with a grain of salt or try to sift through to the truth. That being said, I have one little boy who has told me A LOT of stories, and let's just say... I can't wait to meet his family!

*** In his family's defense, Nick has an excellent memory. Mind like a steal trap. Well, except when it comes to learning second grade concepts.... Let me explain.
One day, about the third week of school, I was sitting in my teacher wheelie chair (easily the greatest part of my job) and I was wearing a very long and flowy maxi skirt. I needed to scoot my chair forward to click something on my computer, but I didn't want the wheels to run over my skirt and cause it to be pulled down in front of my class because professionalism. So I try to grab my skirt and scoot the material from under the wheels while also trying to scoot the chair itself forward. Yes, it was as unnecessarily complicated as it sounds and basically I fell right off the chair and landed on my butt on the floor. And yea, my chair was on the tallest setting. #teacherfail.

So the class gasps and I'm laughing hysterically as I try to pull myself together and stand up without stepping on my now frustratingly long maxi skirt (which would just cause another disaster) and I say to the class, "Hey, let's not tell anyone about this, ok?" They all laughed (because, hello-teacher jokes) and we moved on with the lesson.
This story will be relevant later.***

Back to Nick over-sharing about his family!

*In the middle of the vocabulary lesson*
Me: The word is 'broken'. Can anyone think of a time when they have broken something; like a bone, a dish, or maybe a toy you had?
Nick: My cousin got really, really mad this one time, like he was so mad he was yelling a lot and his face got all red and then he just stood up and he punched a hole right through the wall of my aunt's kitchen! True story.
Me: (Frantically searching my brain for an appropriate response to that comment...)
Nick: Oh yeah! So the wall was broken! (He then looked proudly at his classmates as if to say 'nailed it'.)
Several hands shot up as students realized that Nick's story reminded them of their own similar story, but wouldn't ya know it, we ran out of time and had to move on to the next word. Funny how that happens.

*I'm sitting at my desk working as the students file in and start their morning bell work*
Nick: Morning, Miss Earl. My aunt wears diapers because she pees every time she runs or laughs. Every time. True Story. She can't help it! She just pees!
Then he threw his hands up, shook his head in disbelief and just walked back to his desk.

*Working with a small group. We were reading a book that contained a map of Mexico.*
Me: Have I told you guys yet that my brother is living in Mexico right now?
Student #1: No way! He lives there?!
Me: Yep.
Student #2: Does he speak Spanish?!
Me: He's trying to...
Nick: Does he just go out and buy fireworks every single day?! Because that's what my grandma does!
Me: No... I don't think he's buying any fireworks...
Nick: (he looked astonished- straight up baffled) Why not?? Seriously, that's all my grandma does. Buy fireworks for me. Every single day. True story.

Yeah, should be an interesting meeting. 

***Making the first anecdote relevant: Last week I walk back into my class after running down to the copy room for the teacher across the hall. She had sat in and watched my class so I could help her out. When I got back to the room, she stood up and made her way across the hall, waving to the class as she left. I stood up in front of the class to tell them what we would be doing next. Completely oblivious to me, Nick gets up from his desk and starts following after the teacher that was leaving.
Me: Nick, where are you going?
Nick: I just... I just need to tell her something.
Me: What do you need to tell her?
Nick: I... I just....  I want to tell her about the time you fell out of your chair, ok?

So don't worry parents, it's not just you your children are excited to throw under the bus. 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Off to a Bumpy Start

We were a couple days into the school year, and I was still trying to get a feel for the kids in my class. It's hard replacing last year's kids that I learned to love so much, and I was just trying to keep an open mind. I went to pick my kids up from the cafeteria one day and I was greeted by one of my little girls, Haley. 

Now Haley and I had been having a little bit of a rough time in the classroom. She kept rolling her eyes at me when I would correct her. She would groan after every direction I gave. She would talk to her neighbors incessantly. Needless to say, we weren't super best friends at this point. 

So, as I said, I walked into the cafeteria to pick up my class and Haley greets me. It is also important that you know for the sake of the story that Haley is a homely little girl who has never met a chicken nugget she didn't like*. 

* I have since learned to love her, and we're chill now, so I'm allowed to say things like that. 

Haley circles me vulture-style for a while staring at my stomach, then finally says, "Is there a baby in there?!"
I smoothly replied, "No, Haley." while trying to herd the rest of my cats together. 
She continued to stare at me. "No teacher, it REALLY looks like there's a baby in there." 
"Well there's not, so get in line." 

Yeah, in case I didn't already dislike you enough, PLEASE keep telling me about how pregnant I look. 

Oh, but this didn't end there. 

The next day, one of my other little girls approaches me at my desk and says, "Teacher, are you really having a baby? Because Haley said you're having a baby." 

The next week, Haley greeted me on two separate mornings with, "Seriously teacher, I can't believe how pregnant you look today. " 

A few days after that I was in the hall taking care of a student who was throwing a tantrum. I opened the door to my classroom and it was like cockroaches running from the light- all my students quickly dashed back to their seats and tried to look nonchalant. 
"What's up guys?" I asked, my teacher senses tingling. 
"Nothing." Haley replied. 
"We have a secret!" Josh blurts out. 
"Oh, do you? Well, fill me in. What's the secret?" I asked. 
They all looked around the room at each other, nobody brave enough to be the one to spill the beans. I kept quiet and stared them down. Second graders aren't too tough to break. 

"The secret is you're having a baby!!!" Josh finally blurts. 

And this has been a common theme in my classroom all year. 

I am not having a baby. I am, however, renewing my gym membership. 

Thanks a lot second graders.