Thursday, January 15, 2009

things that make you go "hmmmmm.....?"

As a teacher I am presented with 160+ kids each day. Now imagine, if you will, that these 160+ kids are all between the ages of 13 and 14 with the occasional 15 year old. I have mixed gender, mixed race, mixed ability,mixed socioeconomics, and mixed maturity students. This is my 7th year of teaching this age group and so you would think that by this point I would have a firm grasp on the phrases that are appropriate for this demographic as well as the phrases that are NOT appropriate for this demographic. After a particularly long day at the planetarium with said students I have decided to share with you some of the things I have said to my students with only the best intentions and one that I had nothing to do with but I have definitely made a mental note to NEVER use this phrases with my students.

1. At the planetarium this week - We are discussing the big bang theory. The planetarium director is explaining how little science knows about the origin of the universe and to drive his point home he uses one word for emphasis. "...and the there was a huge bang! We don't know how it was banged! why it was banged! how long it banged! who banged it!....." by this point my face is beet red and my kids are rolling out of their seats and he has no clue what the commotion is about. All I could do was settle my kids down and hope for the best. Just so you know, he did the same thing for my next 2 groups!!

moral: never use the word bang as a verb with middle school children.

2. During a topographic map lesson I was explaining how to trace 3D foam shapes onto paper to create a map. In order for the kids to keep the piece lined up they were supposed to use dowels in punched holes. While using a set for a class demo, I clearly told the class, "You have to be sure to put your dowel in your A hole." As this was falling from my mouth I was trying to make myself stop but it was too late. Seriously, it sounded fine in my head but really horrible out loud! I was 9 shades of red and the whole class was laughing...what could I do?? I just laughed along and said, "I can;t believe I said that!"

moral: think before you speak.

3. At the end of the fall semester in a game of trash-can review (for my non-teacher readers, trash-can review is a review game where the kids are in 2 teams, you ask them questions and if the player answers the question correctly their team gets a point and they get a chance for a bonus point scored by shooting a paper wad into the trash-can. don't ask why but it is one of the kids favorite ways to review and they all know how to play it! they had to teach me,) a couple of boys were horsing around and not really paying attention. They kept knocking each others paper balls onto the floor. Not even stopping to think it through (see example 2) I hollered to the boys, "Just grab your balls and sit still!" Of course the whole class heard me. One boy was laughing so hard he had tears in his eyes! I was of course mortified!!!

moral: paper balls should always be called something else.

I think that teaching middle-schoolers has certainly taught me to be careful how I phrase things but obviously I still have room to grow!

Happy Friday Everyone!!


Christian and Erin said...

Those are great! I was totally laughing out loud. It makes me think of all the "strange" things I have said:)

Kara said...

Try working in a church when you have been friends with Will you can turn anything into something bad.