Sunday, August 17, 2008

Things I want to say, but can't...

Tomorrow I pack up my little Ford Focus and head to my tailor of a classroom to get started with my cleaning routine before the kids start arriving. Though my summer doesn't official come to a close until next Monday, I'm headed back early to get a hop on things... plus, I've been asked to present at the new employee orientation for my school district at the end of the week, and I've done little in preparation to inspire the new blood. So after the cleaning, I need to prepare something inspiring and motivational... Here are things that I'll want to say, but can't:
  • There is no class that will prepare you for what you are about to experience. Throw away all you think you know, and pray to God that you're creative enough to come up with ways to keep the kids from killing one another or their teacher.
  • You are their teacher. Watch your back as it will take awhile for that to sink in completely.
  • If it seems that the students are out to get you, it's because they are (which is why I said watch your back!). They smell fear; they prey on fear. You are going to be very, very, very fearful.
  • Assume that things went well your first day of school if you can't remember a damn thing that happened.
  • If you can recall an event from the first day, it was probably a tragic misstep on your part: you lost a kid, a kid lost his arm on the playground, you threw a kid so he'd get lost-- if this happens, do as Jenny does and blame it on Johnny.
  • In a few weeks from now, when you wake up at 5:00AM in the shower and you're not sure how you got there, remember that teaching was your dream. You love this!
  • Oh and when you look in the mirror and wonder why you've aged ten years, it's because you have. The kids think you're old because you look it. You're a teacher now. Get use to it.
  • Before the students arrive, write everyone you know a letter. Apologize for not being available for the next six months, for not returning calls, for not responding to emails, for talking only about school, for falling asleep at dinner or in the middle of conversations. They are going to be pissed. They are not going to understand.
  • Your going to scream, yell, throw, and kick things. I'm going to tell you not to, because it REALLY doesn't work. But you're going to do it anyway. This doesn't make you a bad teacher. This makes you a first year teacher.
  • You're also going to scream in your sleep, because when you're not spending every waking moment in school or thinking about school, you're going to be dreaming it.
  • Don't befriend the teacher next to you and tell him there is an apartment available below yours. He might be a freak and hire male prostitute drug dealers. (Allegedly!) He might develop a crush on you. (Allegedly!)
  • Some teachers think teaching is a competitive sport. If nice things are said about you, they're going to talk shit about you. If you're willing to share resources, they're going to steal them. If you need help, they'll laugh in your face. Stay clear of these teachers. Don't become one.
  • Don't spend hours on your lesson plans. Shit is going to go down that you can't prep for in a lesson plan. Plus, the administration is never going to look at them.
  • If for some reason things move smoothly, and you're able to complete that crap of a lesson plan, have a box of tricks to pass the time. Math races, Hang-man, Stump the teacher, Around the world. Silent reading? Well, of course! Hell, practice fire drills. Just don't put in a movie.
  • Know that the administration isn't going to look at your lesson plans, but believe they'll be knocking at your door if they are late. Promptness is a virtue ever teacher must hold close, even if the administration never does.
  • When specialists and administration use all those fun educational buzz words in staff meetings, you know, to help you to "enhance student engagement in the classroom," what they really mean to say is, "Teach to the test." Your scores will define you as a good or bad teacher. Be a good one! Do whatever it takes.
  • When all else fails, use bribes. Stickers, candy, pencils, let the kids eat glue if they want. Whatever. I can't count the number of pizzas I sneaked into my classroom. But my scores were solid!!!
  • Oh, the administration is never there when you need them-- unless of course you're screwing up or breaking rules. They're always there to see that. When this happens, offer them pizza.
  • The secretaries are a bunch of bitches. Give them pizza, too! It might just save your life.
  • You're going to want to smack the parents harder than you'll ever want to smack a student (though you'll want to do that, too). Since both would result in the loss of your job, I suggest subliminally brainwashing the students to smack their parents for you.
  • Lie. Tell the kids whatever it is you think they might need to hear to get them to do what you want: I love you all so much; You're all so smart; I care too much for you to let you treat yourself that way; I'm going to miss you over the break. If you do this enough, you might actually start to believe it yourself. And in the end, it will be the truth...
**If you don't know me, you might think I hate being a teacher. I don't. I love my job and I love the students with whom I work. Teaching is an amazing experience. It is also one the pushes you to insanity. Humor, I have found, is the best remedy.

2 Babble-Backs:

Tyais said...

This is very needs to be submitted somewhere on a message board....teachers would love getting laugh with your universal truths for

Anonymous said...


Nope, you didn't miss a thing!

Except I bring the custodians/secretaries/admins cookies instead of pizza - bribery will bring them over to your side pretty damn quickly!



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