Due to popular demand and a need to preach the good news of junior high, I’ve decided to attempt a return to blogging. We’ll see how long this lasts. Courtney Wilson, this is for you.
Although according to all logic Christmas break should mark the halfway point of the school year, my school still has another week after the break until the end of the term. So, as much as I’d like to say I’ve survived half of my first year of teaching, I’m still not quite there. But hey, I still made it 4 months longer than I expected to.
In honor of the (almost) midway point, I’ve decided to share some of the highlights of the past semester.
Most historically inaccurate question I’ve been asked – “Ms. Poulson, how many zombies did President Kennedy have?” After making him repeat the question multiple times to make sure I was hearing him right, I unfortunately had to tell this kid that the answer to this question was zero. He continued to try to explain to me that in his video game, JFK had a zombie army and he just wanted to know exactly how big this army was. Way to go video games for teaching 12 year olds about JFK; way to go 12 year olds for believing everything you see in the media.
Best text message – A student, an 8th grade football player at least 6 inches taller than me, was staying after school to finish a test. His phone buzzed and he pulled it out to look at it when I told him to put it away. “Oh, sorry, Ms. Poulson. My friend just texted saying it was Beyonce’s birthday and we need to have a dance party.”
Most unexpected excuse for cheating – After catching a student cheating on a test, I asked him to stay after class so I could talk to him about it.
“Well, you see, Ms. Poulson, the thing is is that last night I woke up in the middle of the night and a spider landed on my head and I just forgot all the states and capitals!”
Why, if he’d only led with that, I’d’ve excused him from the test altogether. Who hasn’t suffered from midnight arachnophobic amnesia?
Most mouth-watering nickname – One of my favorite things about my school is that roughly a third of my kids are Latinos. It just brings me home. One class, after they figured out I speak Spanish, began to talk to me about all of my favorite and least favorite foods from Latin America. Now, they love to talk to me about chilaquiles and ceviche and my feelings on lengua. Consequently, they’ve taken to calling me Ms. Pupusa. And I can’t say that I mind. Really, it’s a compliment.
Most offensive slip of tongue – Here’s the thing about teaching youths: you’re going to have to repeat yourself about 10,000 times. And then repeat yourself again. So, after telling my students at least 15 times that they were supposed to be responding to a question on the sheet of paper I had just given them, my tongue decided to stage a coup d’etat. The unlucky result was that the next time a kid asked me where he was supposed write his answer, “on the sh*t of paper” was the accidental response he got. I’m pretty sure only about two kids heard me say it, but the three of us had a really difficult go of trying not to laugh.
In related news, teaching junior high makes me simultaneously feel like a pre-teen and a 97 year old woman. On one hand, I feel like I was in middle school just a couple of years ago and I still am shocked on occasion that I am the one at the front of the room teaching it now. On the other hand, when I was in middle school, some of my students hadn’t even been born yet. I’m old. And why shouldn’t I feel old? My kids think I am on death’s door. One day my knees were sore from my 8 mile run the day before. When one of my students saw me rubbing my knee, she asked (in all seriousness) if it was my arthritis that was causing the pain. Another kid asked me if my own children were embarrassed to go to the same school that their mother teaches at. And yet another informed me that “Cell phones didn’t come out until you were like 30, Ms Poulson.” Maybe I really do look aged now. In a conversation with a cashier at Target (who I assume was about my age), he discovered that I teach at the same school he attended as a junior high student. “I think I remember you there. Your class was next to Mr. Jones’, right?” Wrong.
So, when the youths find out that I am on the Facebook, and the Instagrams, and the Snapchat, they are concurrently shocked, delighted, and appalled. Geriatrics can use social media, too.