Thursday, April 23, 2009

Globe Heads

Ever since we've been back from Spring Break, our students have been infected with Spring Fever. I run a tight ship from the beginning of the school year to avoid this as much as possible, but even with a typically well behaved group of kids, I am seeing the symptoms. I think I may have contracted a little bit of it myself.

I love teaching 8th grade. Usually when I tell people that I teach 8th grade, they say something like, "God bless you - I could never do that" or "I'm glad it's you and not me." Well I am glad too because I really do absolutely love it. 8th grade is such a great year because they know how to take care of themselves, they know how to "do" school, and most are not too cool for school yet. I've taught 6th grade in the past, and as precious and innocent as they are, they ask way too many questions.

When I first started my undergrad, I was on the early education track (K-4th certification). As soon as they promoted the middle grades program in one of my early ed classes, I jumped at the chance to switch. My decision may have been heavily influenced by the fact that I could drop 2 math courses if I made the change. This ended up being a great decision because

a) the thought of me teaching anyone's child math is just scary and

b) once when I subbed for a 1st grade classroom at my mom's old school, she came to check on me, and found me backed into a corner by 15 six year olds asking different questions all at the same time. Can we say claustrophobia?

But back to Spring Fever.

Our 8th grade team is made up of 4 core subject teachers, and I am the 2nd oldest if you can believe that. Needless to say, it's a really fun group. The 8th grade is stationed in modular units (euphemism for trailers) behind the middle school building. I share one with Lauren, the history teacher, but unfortunately we don't have a door in between the wall that separates our classrooms (pictured) like the math and science teacher do. I think our principal may have done this on purpose.

Lauren is one of the funniest people I know. Here is a direct quote from her "25 Things About Me" list on Facebook, "I love making people laugh. Whether they are laughing at me or with me, I don't care, just as long as people are laughing." Obviously this makes her perfectly suited for teaching 8th grade - they love her and think she is hilarious. There is never a dull moment with her around.

But like I said, after our students got back from the break, they have been crazy, so we have been cracking down on them and venting to each other about it because disciplining is our least favorite part of our job. Especially when nine times out of ten it's for a student having his shirttail untucked for the millionth time. Though I did get one recently for sending another kid's shoe up the flagpole. Where do they come up with this stuff?! We've overheard comments like, "Man, she must have had a bad Spring Break since she's in such a bad mood." I mean I love the fact that they think we're handing out more discipline referrals (known to them as Student Reminders) than ever before because we're in a bad mood, not because they are doing things to deserve them. And by love, I mean loathe.

When I remind myself that they are fourteen, it quells my frustration somewhat because weren't we all like that at fourteen? In one of her Bible studies, Beth Moore referred to this attitude as being a "Globe Head." She told a story about when her daughter was in middle school and how all middle schoolers and most high schoolers are Globe Heads during that time of life. You know, everything revolves around them, and they don't take much notice of things around them unless it affects them personally. It was extra funny to me because I was best friends with her daughter in middle school, so I'm sure I contributed to her Globe Head theory! Yikes.

The newest speculation of Lauren's heavy handedness was overhead by our Math counterpart during her study hall. One of the boys surmised that Lauren must have a boyfriend, and that is why she's always in a bad mood lately. Lauren and I howled over this one. Because, of course, having a boyfriend would put you in a bad mood, right? Gotta love an 8th grade boy's perspective.

Speaking of an 8th grade boy's perspective, I'll close with this noteworthy observation from a different one just today. Context: "Super Science Day" - we basically throw out the typical schedule to do science stuff all day IE make magnets (pictured), construct towers out of straws and shishkabob skewers, compete in egg drop contests, watch a local museum worker put on a Mr. Wizard-esque presentation, and listen to Larry Sprinkle (no joke), our resident meteorologist, talk ad infinitum about tornadoes (which did not help my phobia of them at all!). Once the dismissal bell rings, this boy exclaims, "Finally! We're free from this horrible prison of learning."

And that is why I teach.

I hope you enjoy your weekend as much as he does!


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