One of my co-workers, L, who is one of the best friends I've made in my adult life, has the cutest three year old in the world. K is the super silly and adorable. I'd never spent a lot of time with a little kid until she was born, but I've watched every step of K growing up and it's been pretty fascinating and, at times, really ridiculous.
For example, one time, when she was about 2 1/2, she was counting for me and this is how it went, "One, two, three, four, seven, eleventy, fourteen, seven, ten, eight, eleventy, eleventy." Clearly counting rules have changed since I was a kid.
Last night I was having dinner with L and her husband, M, and playing with K. She and I were talking about her soon to be appearing baby brother (in three weeks...or maybe sooner!). She's pretty excited about being a big sister, so we discussed how she's going to help with the baby.
I asked her what baby brothers do and her answer was, "They sleep," and after a minute she added, "And wear coats." I asked her if only baby brothers wear coats and she was pretty undecided on the topic. Maybe that's something we'll learn about next week.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Monday, November 29, 2010
I was having a conversation with my seniors about Taylor Swift. Yes, sometimes we veer off course of literature. They asked me if I had gotten me the new TS album and I said that yes I had, um, procured it. I then told them that, despite enjoying Swift's songs (which all sound the same and which are all about yelling at her exes) and her style (sparkly dresses! sparkly guitar! curly hair!) and her personality (super cute SNL monologue!), she can't sing.
They all got really mad, like I'd insulted Jesus or the Pope or, well, Taylor Swift. I pointed out that she can't sing live, which is really how you can judge a good singer. Seriously, go youtube it right now, pick any live performance, it's bad.
So in response to my accusations, one of my boys piped up and had this to say in her defense:
"Dude, M, Taylor Swift can't be good all the time. I mean pop stars aren't perfect. It's like Michael Jackson, you know? He was a really good sing, but he raped little boys. It's all a trade off."
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
I've been out sick for two days and this is what I come back to...
Kid: So when you say we need to find a quote and analyze it, we can just pick any quote and talk about it?
Me: No. You need to find a quote that tells me something about the book, something about the main character.
Kid: Oh, so finding a quote about how much Meursault likes Marie's breasts isn't really that important?
Me: Well, it actually is important, but can you tell me why?
Kid: ...Because eventually Meursault is going to cheat on Marie because he finds more breasts to like?
Me: Uh no. I can guarantee you that isn't going to happen. Do you think Meursault and Marie are really in a relationship?
Kid: They have breakfast together!
Me: Um, having breakfast with someone doesn't meant they're in a relationship.
Kid: Oh, so he's just hitting that?
Me: Exactly. Now go find a quote that means something.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
One of my co-workers posted this on Facebook and I told her I had to steal and post it. (Note: we have a very big and very awesome ceramics program at my school, run by an amazing dude who makes the most gorgeous pieces I've ever seen.)
Overheard after school:
Girl #1: So, you take ceramics. Like, what is that? Cooking class?
Girl #2: No, we make pottery.
Monday, November 22, 2010
I often tell my students that it takes me a long time to grade essays because I can only grade, at maximum, three without wanting to shoot myself in the face. As an example, a co-worker provided a single sentence from a freshman essay...
"My quote supports my point because it restates what I have in my quote to make a point about the story."
Friday, November 19, 2010
From a co-worker whose seniors were writing their own version of "The Pillowbook". "People say when life gives you lemons make lemonade. But you really cannot make lemonade out of lemons it would be disgusting, life would also have to give you water and sugar. That just looks bad, the person who came up with that doesn’t understand the process in making good lemonade. So we need to change the saying to something that actually makes sense."
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
We finished reading The Canterbury Tales last week, which, as always, was actually pretty fun. Yesterday we finished "The Wife of Bath's Tale", which (spoiler alert!) ends with an old woman actually being a fairy and turning into a beautiful young woman. Oh, also she's the reward for a dude who raped a young maiden, but thankfully the moral of the story is not "rape a girl, get a hot wife", but instead is "hey dude, let your lady make all the decisions!" Sadly, I don't think the kids entirely understood the end of the story, as per their comments immediately finishing it. Here are their reactions, which two boys quickfired at each other...
"Is it saying she's Jesus?"
"She's the elf queen of Jesus!"
"Oh wait, she's Tinker Bell!"
"Tinker Bell Jesus!"
"Jesus is a shapeshifter!"
"Your mom is a shapeshifter..."
"Your mom is Tinker Bell."
"Your mom is nice."
Monday, November 15, 2010
Poor B, his freshmen are driving him crazy. He's sent me three different emails this week with quotes from the pretty awful To Kill a Mockingbird essays he's been grading. Here's a collection...see if you can pick out all the mistakes and understand what kids are trying to say!
"The symbolism used here is muck like the next piece of symbolism about the rapid dog in the neighborhood. "
"Atticus represents knowledge, and predigest."
"He was against his friends and teachers on racism, which his words doesn’t mean words; it has knowledge in the meaning."
"Miss Caroline symbolizes not predigest, because she came from the north an thinks everybody should be treated fair."
"It was races because if it was a black male he would of token him to jail, since he was white; in a white neighborhood he didn’t go, because he wouldn’t fit in with all the black people in jail."
[Background info from B: Scout recalls the problems with isolated small-town life, and Aunt Alexandra blames the small hands of Macomb citizens on generations of intra-town incest. One of my students was sure to make a very scientific observation and point out that...]
“She refuses to go to school because Burris Ewell has nasty high gene.”
Friday, November 12, 2010
Did you know there's a difference between bromance and brotherhood? I got schooled today by one of my senior boys...
"It's different, M. Brotherhood is, like, all of us. But bromance is specific. Bromance is the emotional side of brotherhood."
Thursday, November 11, 2010
The past two days have been...interesting. I told my class that these have been days where I wish I had a video camera because no one would believe the ridiculous conversations we were having.
My seniors have been reading The Canterbury Tales, which, as everyone should know, are deliciously inappropriate. So far we've gotten through "The Wife of Bath's Tale" (moral lesson: if a dude rapes a girl, in the end he gets a hot wife) and "The Miller's Tale" (moral lesson: cheating on your husband is OK if in the end you just convince the town he's a lunatic). Before we started WoB, I had the students write down three things that men most want in life, and also the three things women most want. As I'm sure you can imagine, a very colorful discussion ensued. The best response came from a girl who had to ask some clarifying questions before she could give a real answer.
Girl: OK, for of my three things for guys I want to put girls, sex and money. But I have a question.
Girl: Are girls and sex the same thing? I mean, for guys to want.
Me: ...Whoa, you just blew my mind with that question. Very philosophical.
Girl: Seriously, I'm asking a question.
Me: I think they are different things.
Girl: Me too. I mean, you can have sex with anyone! Not just girls!
Me: I, uh, um, all right... [I start to laugh and hide my head in my hands]
Girl: Yeah, sex can come in all varieties, you know.
Me: I don't even know where this conversation is going anymore.
I was transcribing as fast as I could. I wish I got more of the conversation afterward, but I just couldn't stop laughing long enough to write anything down.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
My seniors finished a novel last week, one I love quite a bit. The problem is boys won't admit they like the book, because it's about family. Never mind that three of the five narrators are men, to them it's still a chick book.
I addressed this issue in class the day we finished the book by informing them that, "Uh, boys are allowed to enjoy books and it's not a rule that you have to have a vagina to like to read."
Just a life lesson for everyone out there.
Monday, November 8, 2010
Mrs. Bees, from the Full of Bees blog, shared this with me. Back in January 2009, when President Obama was inaugurated, she had her 7th graders write their own inaugural address. The results are pretty hilarious. My favorite line is the last one, also the one about drugs and assholes. Please just read it!
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Just a note to all you would-be teachers out there...grading essays sucks. Like seriously sucks. It's the worst part of my job. On a related note, drinking while grading doesn't make the papers any better, which also sucks. You'd think since being drunk makes people more attractive, it would do the same for essays, but no dice.
Today I've gone through all of the five stages of grading. Resignation is a bad place to be on a Sunday night. If you're a teacher and you haven't read this article, please do so immediately.
12 more to go and I'm done with senior essays...then I move on to 90 junior essays tomorrow. It's a vicious circle.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
I make fun of kids. It's what I do. You read this blog, so that shouldn't be shocking to you. What (I hope) most of my students know, though, is that I love them. To me, mocking and picking on kids is my own way of showing my affection. Insults are poetry to me. Yes, it sounds strange, but that's just who I am.
A while ago a former student (who isn't really my former student, but a student who I somehow knew, which happens to me a lot, random kids hanging out in my room and getting to know me) posted this piece of slam poetry, by guy named Marty Schoenleber III,on Facebook. I'm not a big fan of slam poetry, but I can appreciate a good piece when it moves me. And this guy wrote a good piece.
So I watched the video. Then I cried. A lot. Because in that 3 minutes and 54 seconds I heard what so many kids need to hear, but refuse to listen to.
I really want to show this video in class, but I know what I'll get, whines and complaining about how stupid poetry is. But if they listen, really listen, they'd learn something about how to understand themselves and their friends and the world.
So please click below (embedding is disabled) watch this piece of slam poetry, "Push", by Marty Schoenleber III.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Monday, November 1, 2010
Sometimes conversations will start out one ridiculous way and then head in an entire direction completely. For example, this argument between a student and me started with a conversation about how "being shot" doesn't mean "being killed".
Kid: Wait, he didn't die? Being shot means you died!
Me: No it doesn't! You can get shot and not die!
Kid: Yes. It's like saying you went to the movies but you didn't see a movie. If you get shot, you die.
Me: What? That's ridiculous and it doesn't even make sense.. Lots of people get shot and not die.
Kid: Really, who?
Me: Uh, Ronald Regan was shot in the 80s and lived.
Kid: Who the hell is Ronald Regan?!
[I stare at him, dumbfounded for a moment and then look over at my TA.]
TA: Yeah, I know, I'm writing it down.