Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Praying Mantis Kid

Had I started this blog back in August, when I rightfully should have (minus the fact that I had temporarily lost my sanity, because, well, it was August) you would have been introduced to Praying Mantis kid*.  His antics have been daily, all year, and escalating.  He is not vicious, hateful, or purposefully malicious -- he just wants to be the class comedian and get all the attention. Here's the run-down on how he got this nickname from me.

One day in the fall, he comes in after lunch -- acting his usual, goofy self.  The kids around him were a bit silly as well, but, hey, they're high schoolers and someone getting a new haircut can send them into giggles for hours. While working through our Bell Work, there was an excessive amount of shouting from the corner of the room. When I approached, I found him holding a large praying mantis-- which he had lovingly named in honor of the girl who sat in front of him. He was attempting to frighten his group members by putting it on their shoulders - clearly a good idea - as if naming it in honor of them of one of them wasn't frightening enough. Thus, I pulled an epic teacher move -- give them choices...

"Ok, you can put the praying mantis outside or I can put the praying mantis outside." - me
"Noooooooooo, I love her!" - him
"I understand, will you put her outside or should I?" - me
"Here, you can have her." - him

I'm quite certain he didn't think I would actually take the praying mantis from him. Unfortunately, being the epic multitasker that I am, I put her (?!) in my hand, promptly forgot I was holding a praying mantis, and continued my rounds of the classroom, answering questions and guiding students. One or two of them asked, "Why are you holding a praying mantis?"  At which point (realizing it was still in my hand) I came back to Praying Mantis Kid, asking if he could put her outside at this point. He decided he could. Yeah, he's 17-years-old.

{*All names have been changed on this blog, hence the misnomer of Praying Mantis Kid - clearly not his given name}

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Show Must Go On

One of the first things I learned with teaching is that it is 98% about the "show" you put on everyday.  I honestly don't know why more teachers don't have a background in theater and acting - it is one of the things that has helped me survive without going postal. 

The quote, "your mood makes the weather in the classroom," is so true. If I'm tired or feeling "off," the kids can tell - and act accordingly. If I'm excited, upbeat, and ready to go (albeit a bit silly) they are engaged, energetic, and into it.

This has been a week of struggles, for many reasons, personally, phsyically, emotionally, and to be honest, I haven't been all joy and sugar; but I have managed to fake it till you make it, and get a reasonable amount of buy in from the kids.

One of my master teacher's once said, (forgive me for my innacuracies in discussing sports but here I go) "Basketball players only have to have their best game 27(?) times in a season; as teachers we have to have our best game every day, no excuses."  It has been one of the quotes that has stood with me most strongly.