Category Archives: School Etiquette

Surviving Pregnancy While Teaching Middle School: Not for the Emotionally Unstable

So it is very obvious at this point that I am, in fact, pregnant.  I told my students in December and, of course, they were very curious and also excited.  Each grade and gender has its own generalized response.  6th grade girls get all excited and want to throw you a baby shower, while 6th grade boys roll their eyes and 8th grade boys laugh hysterically because, surprise people, pregnancy involves (loud whisper) sex.

I thought that tonight, for your reading pleasure, I would share with you some of my favorite Q&A sessions regarding pregnancy that I have had with my students.  Here they are, in no particular order.

8th grade female Student: Was it planned?
Me: What?  The lesson today?  Of course!
Student: No, the baby.
Me: (awkward pause) Um, yes.  Moving on…

8th grade male when I announced the pregnancy: Wait.  So if you’re pregnant, that means… OH SNAP!
Me: That means what?
Student: BAHAHAHAHA!  You… OH MAN!
(I suppose we will just have to read between the lines on this one.  Or not.)

8th grade student when I announced the pregnancy: Who’s the daddy?
Me: (speechless) (pointed to wedding photo on desk) (wordlessly moved onto the lesson)

7th grade male Student: Mrs. Goodger, what happens if your fountain breaks at school?
Me: (exchange glance with female interventionist) Um, fountain?
Student: Yeah, like right before you have the baby.
Me: (Pause.  Consider options for response.) I believe you mean “if my water breaks”.
Student: (surrounded by hysterical laughter from fellow students) Um, yeah.  So what happens?
Me: You get a sub and I go home.  Immediately.  Moving on…

Another 7th grade male Student: Are you sure there’s a baby in there?
Me: (Pause) Yes, I’m fairly certain.
Female student in same class: Are you saying you think she’s just getting fat or something?  Cuz that’s just rude!
Me: (laughing) No, I’m not just getting fat.  I feel the baby moving around and saw him on the ultrasound.
Male student: Ew.  Gross.

Male student I had for the first trimester and have only seen in hallway since I started showing: Mrs. Goodger, you’re PREGNANT?
Me: Yep.  It’s true.
Student: Oh.  I thought you were just eating a lot of cake.

Female 8th grade student: Mrs. Goodger, I am NOT going to get big like that when I’m pregnant.
Me: Well, we’ll see.  In about 20 years, please.
Student: Whatever.
Me: Pause.  (student turns around) “Whatever” on the growth of tummy or on the 20 years?
Student: Both.
Me: Seriously.
Student: No, I’m kidding.  Just on the bigness.

Same 8th grade female student, different day: Mrs. Goodger, you’re eating AGAIN???
Me: Yes dear, I’m hungry.  Got to feed the baby, you know.
Student: Mrs. Goodger, stop lying.  YOU are eating, not the baby. Jeez.

6th grade female student: What are you going to name the baby?
Me: We don’t know yet.   We haven’t decided.
6th grade male: You should name him Mason.
Another student, yelling across the room: Her other son is already named Mason, stupid.
6th grade male: So?? (defensively)
Me: Don’t you think that would make my house a little confusing?
6th grade male: (pouts) Fine, then.  Mason Jr.

 

Mice in the Car and My New School Year Goal

Well, friends, another school year has begun.  Mine has been, let’s just say, eventful.  But I believe that my feeble brain has conceived yet another teaching analogy inspired by an unrelated part of my life.  Here it goes.

So I’m getting Mason in his car seat, trying to get a move on to attend day #5 of professional inservices when I see them: mouse poopies.  In my car.  On Mason’s seat, in my cup holders, on the dashboard, everywhere.  Do I have time to clean them out?  Of course not.  So I cringe, wipe them off of Mason’s seat, strap him in, and call my husband crying on the way to work.  Got home, vacuumed the car, Clorox wiped everything possible, and yet, later that night, more poopies.

Luckily, my husband is not cheap when it comes to things such as this. He got the pricey traps.  You know, the “no see, no touch” kind that are little pods which lure the dastardly creatures in and kill instantly?  Lo and behold, the little beast was no longer living the next morning. He had a hasty funeral that ended in the garbage can.

So here’s my analogy between the little crapper who lived in my car and teaching.  No, readers, I will not be referring to my students as “little crappers”.  Rather, I compare the unwelcome mouse to those unexpected things that come up in the classroom on a daily basis: random farting noises spread by giggling 8th grade boys who know better, a frantic secretary who calls looking for a missing student, the fourteenth message over the PA system in the last hour, the comment “but we did this last year” from students upon receiving an assignment, etc.

Are these things frustrating? ABSOLUTELY!  You’re trying so hard to keep students focused and give them the best opportunity to succeed in life through the skills they learn in your class, yet your efforts are thwarted at every turn.  But what I learned from the little mousie who thought he could conquer my car is that you can either complain about it or do something about it.  You can either become frustrated at your noisemaking students or you can make every effort to show them how to behave in a classroom and why it’s an important lesson to learn. You can either become frustrated about the calls you get or understand the importance of having secretaries so you don’t have to do all of this.  You can take your students’ complaining about already having done an activity and use it as an opportunity to teach them the value of rereading.

My goal this school year, besides the always-present goal of being SuperMom, is to take these inconveniences and DO something about them.  I spend a lot of time whining and complaining about things, but I don’t have time to do that anymore.  I HAVE to be efficient with my time and find solutions to my problems that make whatever curse I face into a blessing.

That is my rant for today.  It is time to make cookies, exercise, and shower in the next 45 minutes.  Can I do it?  YES I CAN!  Bless your weekends!

My August Ritual

This will be my 6th year of teacher (if you count student teaching).  The list below has become my August Ritual in preparation for the impending school year.

1) Watch sale ads at Walgreens, Office Max, Target, and JoAnn Fabric for really cheap school supplies (because students NEVER have pencils and lose or draw inappropriate graffiti on their folders).  Once a sale is discovered, run to store immediately and buy items in immense quantities.   If there is a limit on number of items you can purchase in a single transaction, ask cashier if you really have to have 6 separate transactions for the 60 folders you want to buy.  (Usually they’ll just ring it up in one transaction if you haven’t carried the entire shelf over.)

2) Go into classroom and start moving furniture, posters, books, and materials around, knowing full well that you’ll probably hate the arrangement within a week.  Bring child with to school, avoid newly waxed floors, and keep child occupied with newly purchased school supplies, snacks, climbing toys (aka desks), and songs.  (Bringing toys to school is not necessary as they will not actually be touched.)

3) Begin lesson planning during nap times.  Create fancy shmancy calendar marked with days off, early releases, and marking periods.  Write preliminary plans WITH PENCIL because they will need to be modified within the first week anyway as students are absent, pulled out of class, or frankly don’t get what you’re talking about (forcing a reteaching day or two).

4) Make plans to meet with other teachers to plan curriculum and generally shoot-the-breeze.  End up altering or canceling plans due to family emergencies, lack of childcare, or behavior of child if he was brought along to the meeting.

5) If any time is left, sort through the massive pile of materials you accumulated over the last couple of years (including the entire filing cabinet filled with stuff the LAST teacher left you) and sort/throw items.  Alternative A: Find a new teacher who is anxious for classroom materials and pawn stuff off on him/her.  Alternative B: leave it for next year, making the goal to sort/throw materials even more lofty.