Chuck Brooks' column: A few random thoughts from the mind of a teacher
It’s the middle of April already. My mind is going in numerous directions. I’m thinking it’s a sign. Consequently, come on in. Welcome to Random Thoughts by the Teacher.
When did it happen? When did I begin sounding like my parents? Especially my mother. One day, I was walking along nicely, looking at life through my glasses. Then, out of nowhere and I’m not sure precisely at what age, I heard myself speaking the words of my parents. Reactions they’d have to certain components of life. I believe you know what I’m talking about. No need to explain further. However, be warned. If it hasn’t happened to you yet, it will. Just sayin’.
When I finally retire, I shall miss the kids. I have some great classes right now. I have one hour I’m especially fond of. They couldn’t be more genuine. And de-lightful. They make me smile and usually laugh each day. Two of them I’ve labeled as the Mom and Dad of the hour. On my worst days, I know this group won’t allow me to be in a negative frame of mind. They rock.
Public displays of affection. Does this do anything for you in the adult world? Imagine it at the kid level. It’s definitely in existence here, and I’m certain in all schools. It’s a situation that’s just plain difficult to approach. One day, I was standing in the hall outside my door as kids were transitioning to other classes when I saw this couple groping and kissing across from me; I thought Enough is enough! I simply yelled to them, and I do mean YELLED to them, “KNOCK IT OFF!” It got their attention, a giggle and then they parted for their classes. Simply yucky.
When I was back in my hometown for spring break, my sister once again got on me for eating too quickly. She doesn’t get it. Teachers have 30 minutes or less for lunch. Students stick around for one reason or another before going to lunch. There’s the time it takes to get to the area where we eat. Time to microwave lunch if that’s what needs to be done only to shut down five minutes early as kids return and wait to be let in to the room. No time for a sane lunch. Eat fast!
Along the same lines … well, I won’t even go into how difficult it is to find time for a bathroom break in the course of a teaching day. Nearly impossible.
This job can be so funny. You can’t make some of the stuff up. We get emails from kids about something happening in the classroom at all hours of the night. Emails that seem to need a response then and there. It’s as though the average student thinks teachers eat, sleep, and live with email opened and ready for communication from them. Too funny.
Once again, some delightful little child brought it to my attention that I taught his mom or dad or both of his/her parents. Ok. As if that wouldn’t be enough, but then they bring in their parent(s)’ yearbook and point out how I’ve changed since teaching his/her parent(s).
My room faces the woods and the pond behind the school. It’s one of the coolest views from within this building. I see the seasons change daily. It’s awesome. Right now, we are on day two of the pond being totally open. At one point, just days earlier, two geese stood on the remaining ice, looking at each other, and then looking around them, as much as to say, “Now what?”
We are starting Huck Finn in Honors English Nine. I’ve told my students about my need for a new, clean book if I’m going to read a book. Thus, I buy a new book for myself each and every time. I wish you could see the look on their faces when I tell them of this dysfunction of mine. Probably the same look you have on your face right now. When I buy a magazine, I have to read it before anyone else gets their mitts on it. Where does this come from? No idea!
I got my annual email from the woman in charge of the Leprechaun Days’ Parade, asking if I am planning on announcing it again this year. She also shared that the parade is kicking off the week of festivities this year rather than being at the end of the celebration. It got me thinking about summer in general. Which got me thinking about the time between now and summer. Tick tock.
Minnesota says this year ninth graders don’t have to take a writing test to get a diploma. After all the years of doing one, now they say it’s ok not to. The state MCA Reading test will be the next to go. What’s necessary today won’t be so necessary tomorrow. Go figure.
And so go my random thoughts for now. Happy weekend!