On the toughest days (which let me tell you – there have been plenty), I sometimes can’t help but just laugh with/at my kids and the things they say.
First off, let me just say I have the best kids. The best kids in the Delta. And in America. My kids love me, and I love them. I have kids begging me to tutor them. I have kids that come to my room after school just to say hi, or to ask for help with math, English, or whatever have them. Love them.
But, to give you a glimpse at some of things that I deal with daily – here are some snap shots that make me laugh.
This morning – I go and get the student, S, out of study hall. He gets in the hallway and just says: I have the best picture to show you. Now, I teach high schoolers so I immediately responded: I dont want to see anything that isn’t school appropriate. He just rolled his eyes and said: I don’t do that stuff. He then explained he has to dress up for his girlfriend’s semiformal for a group she is in. Well, he didn’t have any dress clothes so he went shopping with his mom. She has NO idea what to get him, he wasn’t too sure so he found some khakis, blue shirt, and a tie. He put on his clothes and his mom started laughing and said to him: “You look just like Mr. Gray. I think that outfit is just great.” So, yes, I got to see that picture. Sadly enough he did look just like me (we have very similar hair and such also). He also wanted me to check it matched ok since his mom didn’t really know. I just started laughing……sometimes I wonder how much Spanish my kids will remember next year. Then I think of moments like this and realize that my kids knowing how to dress nice and that they and their parents know that I care for them greatly and they care for me back.
Flashback to last week. My 9th graders are ripping apart their math and science teacher. I hate when my students talk trash about other people. So, I cut them off and just said: Geeze, I can’t imagine what you say about me when I’m not around. Since they are 9th graders, they do in fact have an answer for everything – so, they said: actually no-one talks about you. Thinking about it, I’ve never heard any 9th graders talk about you. We know when we come here we will learn. We know that you know what you’re doing and we know that will yell at us if we keep talking. And, EVERYONE knows that you will call our parents if we act a fool, so we behave here and have fun learning. I just started laughing. I’m glad that I have a reputation of being a “real teacher” among the students.
Fast forward to today. 6th period. Students (this time 10th graders) are again bashing their science teacher. I told them I don’t want to hear it because next they’ll talk about me. The student then looks at me and says “nah, we don’t do anything in here.” I paused and looked at him and was like “WHAT??” He then replied: “I dont mean it like that, I just mean this class is really different” So I looked at him again and said: “What is that supposed to mean?” He just looked at me and smiled and said: “Mr. Gray, this is my favorite class. You don’t try too hard to be a mean teacher. And you make learning really fun. This class is different. You’ll never been like Ms. S, even if you don’t like me talking about her – take that as a compliment.” I’m glad my point got across. And that my class is the one that kids say we don’t do “anything” and then proceed to complain EVERY DAY that we do work EVERY DAY.
Finally – 7th period today. We were speaking on Spanish and I was asking questions in Spanish and I asked a student “how many bedrooms are in your house” The student responded: “1″ He was trying to outsmart me by just saying a number instead of listening to the question. So, I followed up by asking “how many people live in your house?” He then counted “4″ Then I said “How many beds are in your house” and he said “4.” Out of no-where, a student across the room who was listening closely to the new vocabulary words chimed in “dude, you have 4 people and 4 beds but only one bedroom? Your family is super weird.” The entire room started laughing (even the kid who was wrong).
It’s these laughing moments and small inspiring moments from my students that keep my going on this long haul until Spring Break.