for the record

December 4, 2007

As it turns out, 9th graders OVERWHELMINGLY believe that gladiator fights are totally okay and should be reinstated immediately. They are slightly less in favor of man vs. lion, but only because it’s “not a fair fight.”


idk, my bff 9th graders?

November 19, 2007

Y’all, I have a student so dyslexic he actually said out loud in class today:

“Wow, that’s Greece? OGM!”

It was particularly funny watching the other students slowly work out what he was talking about.

robot children

October 29, 2007

My students wrote dialogue to perform in class between different castes. My Untouchables sang and danced “It’s a Hard Knock Life.” In another group, a princess ran off with a low-caste boy and then they both committed suicide when their parents caught them. It was unspeakably awesome.

The best part, though, was that I told them I had a headache (and I did, ow, caffeine-no-sleep migraine bad) so they all applauded for each other American Sign Language style, hands in the air. “Wow,” I said, “that was awesome. How did you guys all learn that?”

They rolled their eyes at me. “Miss,” said one of the boys, “you told us about that, like, the second day of school. Don’t you remember?”

Uh. No. But I’m excited that they do!

bad choices

October 19, 2007

Dear Cheater Cheater Pumpkin Eater in 6th Period,

You have a 41 average. You have bombed every quiz. You did not hand in a project. You do not write anything down in class. When called on, you make a joke to quickly deflect from the fact that you know nothing about what we are discussing.

So next time you decide to copy someone else’s test, aim a little lower than a 94%. I have trouble believing the same kid who told me that “Jews believe in Christmas and wearing hats” aced every single multiple choice question.


Ms. A

secretly I’m an atheist anyway

October 16, 2007

The unit on belief systems is simultaneously my favorite and least favorite to teach. I love it because it brings up lots of good questions, and students are very engaged. I hate it because it brings up a lot of stereotypes and uncomfortable questions, and because every kid in the room has seen The Passion of the Christ or Borat, or wants to tell me about this one episode of South Park that they saw.

Today I managed an activity I never thought of before, and it worked like gangbusters. I had five volunteers come to the front of the class and do an agree/disagree line about statements like “I would only marry someone from my religion” and “I think about my religion when I decide what to eat, drink, or wear.” Then we labeled the agree disagree line as “reform, conservative, orthodox” and talked about how different families fall in different places, so when we read that “Jews believe X…..” it doesn’t mean every single Jew does the same thing all over the world.

It seemed very effective. We’ll see how it works on Thursday, when we start talking about Christianity and Catholicism. (Oy.)

It’s called “The Black Parade,” because it’s *deep*, man

October 1, 2007

After some encouragement to be more creative, some of my students have decided to name their continent-projects after My Chemical Romance albums, and I accidentally admitted to knowing who that was. And now I’m cool and it’s disorienting. I’ve never been cool. I’ve worked hard not to be cool to 14 year olds!

My roommate is genuinely astonished that I seem to like my students so much. I keep telling her I couldn’t go back every day if I didn’t find them astonishing and interesting and hilarious and adorable.

I mean, it’s a lot like being an anthropologist studying a new species [Teenagerius Can’tSitStillius ?] in the wild.

expanding your vocabulary

September 29, 2007

I’m exhausted, and my mom’s in town. Anyway.

I keep forgetting how young 9th graders really are. Like when the textbook they were reading explained that the ancient Sumerians used a series of dikes to keep the rivers from flooding and one boy’s hand shot in the air and he hollered “MISS, WHAT’S A DIKE???” across the room in total sincerity. Or when I told them they could put anything on their maps that they wanted as long as it  was appropriate for school, and another boy announced gleefully “I’m going to call my jungle Jungle Fever. It’ll be great!”

“You can’t call it that; I said appropriate for class.”

“But Miss, that’s something Will Smith says! How can it be inappropriate?”

And then I had to tell them what it meant. Just. If anyone needs me I’ll be napping.