Thursday, November 18, 2004

A Suburban Legend: Children are Cute

Children are cute. To look at. And then they open their mouths and mess everything up. The following is a list of Things I Hear All Day Which Raise My Blood Pressure and Cause Things to Come Out of My Mouth Which Sound Like My Mother.

1. "Do we have to?"
  • This is a serious request that is asked of me at least 10 times a day. As though random directions just spew from my mouth on the hour. Ones that I don't really mean. Just exercising my voice. For practice.
  • The answer is: [ghastly stare]

2. "How long does it have to be?"

  • This is another question which illustrates the lack of accountability in the kids today. It is usually asked in relation to a personal journal entry. It's their personal journal about their life! How should I know how long it should be? Long enough to avoid making me mad?
  • The answer is: As long as it needs to be until it is finished. (This is a puzzler, they usually don't ask for a few more days while they're trying to 'cipher that one out.)
  • ***Footnote: I got an answer to this at a writing workshop I went to on Thursday. The response should be like a girl's skirt: Short enough to be interesting, but long enough to cover the topic. Silly me.

3. "Why?"

  • And they're serious. I give a direction and they ask why. And then I stare at them until they grow uncomfortable and break eye contact. Then their buddy punches them in the arm and says, "SSsshhh! Just do it!" and tugs them out of my reach.
  • The answer is: [uplifted chin, slightly squinted puzzled eyes, bemused expression, furrowed brow]

4. "I didn't do it!"

  • This is one of my personal favorites, because it's generally preceded by an entire table of kids covering their noses with their shirt collars and pointing at the suspect.
  • The answer is: Nothing. Just giggle to self that you have pulled off yet another cropdusting and blamed it on the kids. (I've got to have some job perks.)

5. "I've got two things."

  • This should have probably been number one on this list. Nothing makes my blood pressure shoot through the roof more than when I'm trying to get an answer from the class and a kid wastes five precious seconds that I don't have to smugly tell me that "they've got two things."
  • The answer is: "Aw! That's too bad! I'm looking for someone with one" or "Pick your favorite."

6. "What if...."

  • "What if" is always followed by some inane possibility weakly linked to the topic at hand. This question, if answered, spurs 10-12 other "what if" situations.
  • The answer is: "I don't do what ifs."

7. "I forgot." [shrug]

  • No worries. Just "I forgot." I forgot my homework, book project, pencil...all the same level of concern. I forgot. No big deal.
  • The answer is: "I forgot you had recess this week."
  • Sidenote: If you don't know, my district doesn't have grades, so recess is all I've got. That's another diatribe for another day.

8. "You didn't give me one."

  • This bad boy always comes on Friday mornings when homework is due. Not on Monday, when homework was handed out. Not on Monday when they copied their assignments from the board and realized they didn't have a copy. Not Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday when they could have gone to the "extras" box in which I keep 10 extra copies of everything I pass out. Friday. When they honestly believe in their hearts that I'm going to take responsibility for the fact that they're a complete idiot.
  • The answer is: Always step into the hallway and take deep breaths. Consult with nearby colleague for soothing counseling before re-entering. Take recess away from student. Again. Recess - that's all I've got. Remind me to tell you the one about the kid whose mom wrote a note saying we couldn't take his recess...I don't have time right now.


katielady said...

NO GRADES! Are you kidding!? What is our country's education system coming to? It's enough to make me NOT want to have kids! OK, that's a lie, but it's pretty serious! Can't wait to share this with my other teacher friends....

Anonymous said...

"...cause things to come out of my mouth that sound like my mother."?? Hmmmm. I don't know whether to be offended or feel complimented.

Katie said...

Uh, a "Crop dusting"? Could you please elaborate there, because I hope that I am wrong about what I think you are referring to...

Meredith said...

Sadly, I hear nearly all the same things from the college students in my class. It's apparently not only children who say annoying things, but 18-22 year olds as well! (Then again, perhaps my students still qualify as children--it's certainly debatable).

Pigs said...

1. Katie B. - No grades. For real. I can't get ANY accountability, because I have nothing to hold over them but recess.
2. Mom - Dunno. I'm quite alarmed when things like, "Four legs!" or "Is that your business?" or "Don't make me count to three!" come out of my mouth.
3. Katie E. - Oh, yeah! Crop dusting means EXACTLY what you think it means!!
4. Meredith - I'm afraid your job might worsen from here as you get kids unfamiliar with grades.