Twisted Highlights of Teaching Middle School
In between pretending to discipline the kids (which usually consisted of me yelling at them), they could be pretty funny.
I taught an elective English course (which no one elected to take but were rather forced to take so the students were thrilled that I was there).
I did my best to dress homely since we all know how ridiculous middle school kids are, and a teacher had just been arrested for sleeping with one of her students soooo…dorky teacher vibe was my outfit inspiration.
The administration introduced me to the class as being from California, and all of the kids thought it was soooo cool. They acted like I was from a foreign country. A few of them made jokes about weed.
I pretended to be strict and serious and couldn’t keep up that facade for long. I can’t even discipline my damn dog, and I think most rules are made to be broken.
My enthusiasm for teaching and any expectations of changing lives quickly faded, and soon I found myself bribing them with movie Fridays and playing trashketball for candy. I would make up the rules as I went along, and if the students tried to call me out on it, I just told them I played west coast rules. So. Much. Bullshit.
When I asked the kids for a synonym for “ragged” while reading a passage from The House on Mango Street, and they busted out with words like “ratchet.”
This one punk kid rarely showed up to class and refused to do anything. One day he was trying to eat a family sized bad of hot Cheetos on the sly. I told the class if I catch them eating food I’ll throw it away (mostly an empty threat). I called him out and asked him what he was eating. He said, “Nothing.” I walked over to his desk and swiped the massive bag out of his hand as the rest of the class stared in disbelief. I’m sure I said something sarcastic then proceeded to smash the Cheetos and throw them away. I made sure to make a big scene and the kids in the class loved it muttering things like, “Damn, Ms. Lane is savage!”
That was a really gratifying moment.
If teachers tell you they don’t play favorites, they are liars. Everyone plays favorites. It’s human nature. My favorite students were usually the turds with attitudes because they were entertaining. One of them even invited me to her quincienera.
Confiscating notes was always amusing. You would think the kids would just text each other but occasionally they would pass notes. Of course I would read their business and bring it up to them later, and they would be super embarassed. Sometimes I would make fun of who they were dating, etc.
Most days the kids would threaten to skip my class. My response was, “Please do. Then I don’t have to deal with you.”
I got bored of all of the crap I was supposed to be doing to prep them for the English portion of the Texas standardized test so I just started reading one of my favorite books, “The Outsiders” with them. And by reading it with them, I mean I played the audiobook and had them follow along in their books (or not, as long as they didn’t bother me). And of course we watched the movie once we finished the book, and the students loved it. They laughed at the cheesy parts and laughed hysterically when they showed a young Matt Dillon in his tighty whities.
When teaching didn’t suck the life out of me, it had its moments.
**Please excuse any grammatical errors or typos. This recovering middle school English teacher doesn’t have the energy for editing.