Thursday, March 31, 2011

Here’s What I Don’t Get

I’ve been a teacher for 11 years now and there are still a few things about kids that I just don’t get.  Well, actually, there are a lot of things about kids that I just don’t get; here are just a few…

*We have been in school 130 days.  We visit the library every Tuesday.  Do the math…that’s a lot of visits.  Every Tuesday I leave the library crate outside the front door (visual reminder that books are due).  Every Tuesday, I wheel the crate into our room and say, “Did everyone bring their library books?  It’s Tuesday.  We’ll be visiting the library this afternoon.  Now is the time to go get your books from your backpacks and turn them in" (verbal reminder that books are due).  And every Tuesday I have at least three kids who, come library time, look at me like they’re shocked that it is, in fact, our library day and say, “Um, it’s in my backpack.”  I just don’t get it!

*Every day, for the last 130 days, I have told the kids to clear off their desks before they leave.  After school I wipe them down and it makes my job easier if they are totally cleared off.  I even say that to them as I dismiss them, “Remember boys and girls, I wipe down your desks after school; please clear them off.”  And every day the same exact kid leaves his basket on his desk.  How he doesn’t notice is beyond me.  His desk sticks out like a store thumb.  It’s row upon row of cleared desks…and there’s his with his basket on it!  Sometimes I catch it as he’s walking out the door and make him go back…and every single time I do it’s as if he’s hearing it for the first time.  I just don’t get it! 

*On any give day I have three to five kids who flat-out don’t get their work done.  Each and every one of them, in this case (though this is certainly not always the case), but anyway, each and every one of them is perfectly capable.  However, they either choose to talk to their seat partner and/or play with their jacket, their pencil, their eraser, and/or pretty much anything else that isn’t nailed down.  Now I try to keep on top of this, but, um, I’m teaching so it’s hard to keep everyone under my thumbs…I mean, come on…I only have two thumbs.  So time passes, the assignment is due, and they are shocked that they have nothing but a blank piece of paper.  I always wonder if they think they can just sit there and do nothing and the work will magically do itself (boy, wouldn’t that be nice).  Then, to make matters worse (and to break their teacher’s heart while at the same time frustrating her to no end), they break down in tears because, you see, I’ve talked to their parents about their incomplete assignments, and their parents have assigned consequences (thank you, parents), and their parents actually follow through with these consequences (double thank you, parents), and they know they are so totally busted when they get home.  All this pain and suffering could have been avoided if they had just done their work in the first place.  I just don’t get it!

*There’s always one “that kid” in each class (well, if the teacher’s lucky, there’s only one, but let’s be honest, just one is pretty rare)…anyway, there’s always at least one kid who bee-bops around the room, spins from place to place, jumps on the bean bags, rolls around on the carpet, knocks down everything in his path, including people, pushes kids on the playground (and in line), and just generally wreaks have wherever he goes…and then that kid wonders why no one wants to play with him…another heart-breaker, for sure…but come on, to have a friend you have to actually be nice to’s as simple as that.  I just don’t get it!

*And the final thing I would like to share with you today…the final thing I don’t get is…why they have no shame about picking their noses in public…or sneezing a great big, juicy sneeze and then wiping the great big, juicy contents on their desks…or farting…or chewing the ends of pencils so that they become frayed…or licking their hands…or, worse,  rubbing the bottoms of their shoes with their palms (this one really grosses me out because I don’t even want to know what’s on the bottom of the bathroom floor, which is now on their hands, which will soon be touching something that I will then touch…EW!).  I just don’t get it!

So there you have it, a teacher who has spent the last 11 years with munchkins but still doesn’t get ‘em…oh well, it sure is fun trying (well, most of the time anyway).

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