I give my students kisses (chocolate!!!) when they earn 100% on notebooks, quizzes or tests. Answers to particularly thought provoking questions and asking particularly thought provoking questions also earn kisses. Apparently Dason had not earned as many kisses as he would have liked so he brought his own. Darling!
“My mom said you need to talk to me,” Kyle said.
“Yep. Have a seat.”
He sat down.
“Say you have a huge canyon, not quite the size of the Grand Canyon, but big, and you need to build a bridge across the canyon. How long would it take to build such a bridge?” I asked him.
“A long time.”
“Yep. And how long would it take to destroy said bridge?”
“Yep,” I said. “Trust and respect are like bridges.” Then I told him his habitual hard-to-handle behavior had sunk to such a heinous level the last time he was in my class that he had successfully burned his bridge. “And there is not enough time between now and our next field trip for you to re-build that bridge. You will not be going cross country skiing with us in January.”
“Is there anything I can do to earn it back?” he pled.
“No,” I said firmly. “Nothing. There are subsequent field trips, several that I think you will really enjoy, that are far enough out that you will time to rebuild the bridge but the skiing field trip is out.” Not fun.
“Hey Mrs. Hislop,” Kyle called me the next morning when he saw me in the hall. “Come here, I have something to show you.” When I reached his side he said, “You like animals, right?” Yes….. “Look at this,” he said, pulling out his phone and scanning through his photo gallery, stopping on a picture of a darling calico rabbit. “My parents gave her to me for my birthday. Isn’t she cute?” Darling! And fascinating. Shouldn’t he hate me?
“Hey Mrs. Hislop! My mom said I could stay after school today and make up the work I missed!!” Eli said triumphantly. Celebrating the chance to stay after school and do school work? Awesome!
This week I’ve written two kids up for bullying, taken seven cell phones from kids who were using them inappropriately in class, given “0” scores to a pair of girls who were cheating on a quiz, ripped up the bookmark belonging to a kid who insisted in reading a novel instead of doing science in class, called the homes of two students, met in the counseling office with another student and his mother, and catalyzed the removal of a star player from a sports team, just as play-off are starting, for an flagrant honors code violation. NOT FUN!
“Have you ever hit a student?” someone in my fourth period class asked. Yes……
When they begged me to share the story, I told them of the time when a student approached me from behind and intentionally startled me. I screamed spontaneously, swiveled defensively, and swung instinctively. My hand connected with his cheek and left a mark. Five marks, one for each of my fingers.
One would think the story would warn the class not to scare me but one would be wrong. At the beginning of class the next day, a girl hid behind the demonstration table and jumped out at me when I went to the front of the room to take roll. I yelped and we all laughed.
The next day, as I stood in the doorway shaking hands and welcoming students to class, three different students told me that someone was again hiding behind the demonstration table, waiting to scare me. Okay. All is fair in love and war, right?
On the way to the front of the classroom, I paused at the sink and filled a beaker with water. Approaching the demonstration table, instead of going behind it, I paused in front of it and casually poured the beaker of water over the edge of the table. Carl came up splattered and sputtering. He yelped and we all laughed.
But the story does not end there… The next day, as I was shaking hands and welcoming students to class, Carl approached me and whispered to me, “There is someone hiding behind the table to scare you….and I already filled the beaker with water for you.” And he had. Darling, darling, and double darling!
I love my students...most of them….and I love my job….mostly. The darling kids outnumber the demons and the heartwarming incidents are more significant than the hassle. Looks like I may be in 8th grade for a long time to come.