We need to arm our children with ways to overcome the struggle of mental illness.
Last week in Teaching Land, a student wrote about a plan for suicide. Luckily, we intervened and provided the student and the family with strategies before something awful happened.
I’ve been saying this since I started my teaching career: teaching is more than a delivery of information. Teaching goes way beyond the classroom. It’s the job of the teacher to learn ways to teach the whole child and not just prepare the child for the test. The teacher must guide the child in understanding his or her emotions.
Teachers play such an important part in this process. We must not forget that ❤️
This little bugger has been with me since the beginning of the school year. Teachers, this is a first for me.
Scene: A student continues to talk over me during instruction.
Me: “J, if you continue to talk over me, I will tell you the ending to Avengers.”
J: “Miss! You wouldn’t!”
Me: “Would I?”
*class gasps and J puts his hand over his mouth*
Me, continuing with my instructions: “Okay. Y’all are on the clock for 15 minutes. I’ll be available if you need me.”
J, removing his hand slowly: “Uh Miss A? I thought you were married.”
Me: “What? Last time I checked I was.”
J, slowly meeting my eyes: “Well you just said you were available...”
Me: “Everyone dies at the end.”
Don’t worry. I told him I was joking... later. Much later.
When you hear a student pass on your advice to a student having a difficult time:
Student: “Ms. A I know you don’t have kids but like do you want any?”
Me: *gives the student a funny look*
Student: “No, I mean like a baby.”
Me: “Oh I don’t know, hunny. Y’all asked me this last week remember?”
Side note: My EngageNY class picked a random Tuesday to ask me about my personal life. I always found honesty is the best policy and told them my feelings towards having a kid (I don’t think I would be able to juggle being a good teacher and a good mom so no motherhood for me right now. I like being a teacher too much).
Student: “I know. Just you’re a really good teacher so I think you’d be a good mom too.”
Today in Teaching Land, my 6th and 7th graders took the English and Writing portions of the ACT Aspire. For the first test (per tradition), I wrote each one of my cherubs cards. This year, one of my lovelies wrote back:
My heart is full.
2 tests down. 5 more to go.
I never thought I would be able to use a Train lyric as a title. But what can I say, I’m an opportunist.
overheard in 5th grade land:
Scene: 5th grade science. Phases of the moon.
Student: “Ok but I have a question. I’ve never personally been to the Milky Way before...”
Teacher (mumbles): “Yeah, I bet you haven’t.”
Student: “... so like what would happen to our insides?”
Scene: It's about 8:30 a.m., my class just finished their DI Reading lesson*. I've been doing DI with them since the beginning of the year and, if they've been at the school since its conception, they have been doing DI long before me. I say this to say... DI IS NOT NEW A NEW CONCEPT TO THEM.
Me: "Okie dokie artichokies. You have 15 minutes! Get it, got it, good?"
Class: "Get it, got it, good."
Student 1: "Wait. What lesson are we on?"
Me: "I'm sorry, what?"
Student 2: "We just read the lesson..."
Me: "What do you mean what lesson are we on?"
Student 1: "I dunno."
Me: "Can you please use your thinker."
Student 3: "Dude, it's on the board... you're going to make us lose a point..."
Student 2 tries to help student 1
Student 2: "Stop playing."
Student 3: " Ms. A, why is your face red and twisted like that?"
Me: "Because it's January and I'm not sure how we don't know what lesson we're suppose to be on."
Student 4: "I mean y'all it's true. It's on the board. It's the same thing like everyday. We do vocab., read, then workbook."
*DI Reading is a program that my school uses to teach reading, math, and language. I'm required to use the program in one class that's not on grade level. My other classes use EngageNY and Lucy Calkins.
Scene: I'm explaining the backstory of Bud, Not Buddy through a KWL chart which leads into a WebQuest.
Student 1: "Why is it called the Great Depression?"
Student 2: "Maybe 'cause everyone was really sad."
Student 1: "Yea. Like the entire America needed meds."
Number 1 - Bird Box
Number 2 - Conversations with J
Scene: Student, we'll call him J, had a severe case of the giggles.
Me: "Come on J. Get it together."
J: "OK Ms. A"
J continues to giggle
J: "AH OK! I ain't trying to get in trouble Ms. A!" J proceeds to slap his face. Quite loudly I should add. Then looks at his desk with a finger raised and says, "Come on. Get it together. You don't have time for this crap."
Number 3 - Songs
My Engage NY class and I created a song for going to gym today called "Going to the Gymnasium." It is sung to the tune of Little Einsteins. It goes a little something like this:
We're going on a trip,
to the gymnasium
through all these halls
so we can play with basketballs.
We better watch out
for flying basketballs
they'll hit our heads
then we'll be really dead.
It's a work in progress.
Number 4 - Things students said
Student: "Ms. A, you're hair looks like an anime character."
Student: "Ms. A, are you confused?"
Me: "I don't believe so?"
Student: "Are you confused?"
Me: "Honey, I don't understand why you're asking me so I guess, yes, I'm confused."
Student: "Did you go somewhere warm over break or something?"
Me: "Nope, I went to New York to visit my Mom. Why?"
Student: "'Cause you're wearing a dress."
Scene: I finished explaining the goal for today and asked students to give me a thumbs up if they understand, thumbs sideways if they need help. One student gave me a thumbs sideways, so I call on him.
Student: "When are we going to meet your husband?"
Scene: It’s the last ten minutes of class. We have finished reading chapter 21 of Percy Jackson.
Me: “OK Class! Look at the screen. I need you to click on the link my mouse is on.”
*points to journal response link*
I explain the question then say, “Once you have submitted your response you can go on Typing Club.”
Student 1: “Miss, can I go on Tinder? I need a man.”
Student 2: “Tinder? What’s that?”
Student 1: “I’m lonely and need a man!”
Me: “No, you cannot go on Tinder.”
Last week in Teaching Land, I went to Houston to the #NCTE2018 Conference. I have many stories to share about all of the wonderful sessions, people I met, and conversations I had, but I need to focus on one particular experience.
Here is my story on how Laurie Halse Anderson helped me find my voice…again.
I learned something about myself this weekend: I really like the idea of roundtable discussions. Everyone at the table has an opportunity to be heard. The presenter and listeners depend on one another for the roundtable to be successful.
I chose to attend a session called, “Teaching for Equity and Justice with Young Adult Literature.” We had 20 something tables to choose from and only 2-3 rounds in the entire session. I overheard two teachers saying that Laurie would be talking at the “Speak” tables. The first table was titled “Date Rape in Speak.” Heavy topic, yes. But, even though I’ve only been an educator for 5 years, I’ve seen a great deal with how teachers, administrators, and students handle this topic. I just, I don’t know, I needed to be around others who would willingly have these conversations with me. Honestly, I needed to know I wasn’t the only one who felt a great burden when asked to teach this topic. So I went to the first round table in search of camaraderie.
*Microphone Click* First session begins.