The stress levels are at an all time high.
I got two nerves left. Both starring each at each other trying to hold one like the sisters in the Color Purple.
It got two nerves, like Kevin Gates got two phones. And I am trying to hold on to all of them two nerves. Like Frankie Beverly and Maze hold on to that high night before they let you go. Like Ginuwine holds on to baby hair and slow grinding….I’m just holding on two this last two nerves, like Johnnie Taylor’s last two dollars.
And it is all because of work. Nah, not work. Teaching…because teaching is more than work. It is a calling. That you sometimes wish that folks didn’t dialed you on. Remember that old school phone in the house and you pick it up and as soon as you heard the voice on the other line, you would be like “Oh, it for you……” Yeah, sometimes I look at God and be like, “uhm…me, you sure….nah….I think you meant this call for my sister”.
And God, sings back “Nah….you…it’s been you this whole time.”
So I am taking some time out to ask some questions. Make some observations….about why my nerves are running around like little minions and I am playing Michael Jackson’s Human Nature, instrumental jazz version on constant repeat. Because I am trying to do some self-care, before I do some out of self readjusting of children’s lives.
Please tell me, HOW….How in God’s name….can my students hear my conversation outside my door when another teacher comes to tell me something. Tell me how they can quiet down and ease drop to the point that when I walk back in the room, they have already made the announcement that specials have been cancelled and cause the whole damn room to go into crazy, meltdown, tantrum mode. Tell me how they can see my phone ring from across the room and announce that, I must have bill collectors on my tail because its a 800 number and the same number has called four times this morning. Please tell me how they can be this alert about LIFE….yet, if I am explaining how to do number 8 to the person sitting RIGHT NEXT TO THEM, they raise their hand thirty seconds later and be like, “Can you help me with number 8?”
YOU WASN’T EAR HUSTLING???? I was just right there!!!! You ain’t listen to me explain each step for five entire minutes!!!
My students act like they want bottle service in the classroom, VIP attention….for each desk. Ain’t no group discounts with them.
How can me saying, “Be Quiet”, turn into a five minute shouting fest of them telling each other to shut up, be quiet and snitching over who saying what????
Like I ain’t here listening. How is it possible that as soon as I say, “Be Quiet” everyone proceeds to talk to me and tell me how they ain’t talking??? But you are…you talking now!!!!
Like 25 little voices all going at the same time do something to you…..it do.
Real Conversation, picture the picturesque setting. A classroom. Midday sun shining. Me at the board….students writing, notes rustling…the subject….geometry.
Me: Now write…rectangular prism. All shapes you see are rectangles. Look. Now also write, that sometimes you may see squares. That is in our definition.
Students: WRITING IT DOWN (I know, because I walked around and checked)
Me: (we proceed to go through prisms and pyramids and how to find the volume. I close the interactive notebook and high five myself….good day)
And close scene right???
Student: What about cube Miss? You missed cube. You don’t know what you doing.
Me: Huh, what do you mean I missed cube. (flips page) A cube is a prism.
Student: No it is not. A cube is a cube. A prism is a prism. So, as I said…how we find the volume of a cube.
Me: Uhm. Whew (trust, there is a part of me that is trying not to figure out if I am a degree professional or not) Sir….a prism and a cube are similar, except a cube is all squares…however to find the volume the method is the same.
Student: A cube is all squares!
Me: Just what i said.
Student: But you didn’t teach us that.
Me: Let’s go back to the notes YOU just wrote.
Student: Yes! It says rectangular prism! It don’t say nothing about a cube.
Me: (sipping tea at this point and leaning back in the chair–teacher gangsta style) Read the definitions YOU wrote.
Student: It says square sometimes.
Me: Yep. Like a cube.
Student: But a cube is a cube and a prism is like a prism.
Me: And the formula?
Student: (looks at the paper) is length xs width xs height. Oh. Hmmmmmm. Yeah. Well. It still don’t say nothing about a cube.
Student: Oh. I get it. Carry On.
Me: Carry on? Catch up.
Observation 4 (and done for the night)
So, I hold up a STAAR Reference sheet. And I make my students hold up a STAAR Reference sheet. And I make them say with me in good old school baptist call and response choir fashion…..
THIS IS MY REFERENCE SHEET
THIS IS HOW I WILL PASS THE STAAR
EVERY ANSWER I NEED IS ON THIS SHEET
I SHALL USE IT
AND I CAN ABUSE IT
BUT THIS IS THE PAPER THAT HAS THE ANSWERS
THAT MY BRAIN SEEKS
AND IT IS ALL ON MY REFERENCE SHEET
Then!!! We use the reference sheet together. We point at every formula and then point at the picture that goes with the formula. We look at the reference sheet. We trace the reference sheet. We high five the reference sheet. We have a rule we can’t do a problem without first WRITING DOWN THE FORMULA!
We do this yall….thirty minutes.
Then I release them to do a question on their own. Like Pattie and Micheal McDonald….they can do it, on their own.
And Johnny came up with pride to slam down his paper and tell me he got the answer AND walked off.
Sir. Where is your formula?
Oh, that? I don’t need it….I got it figured out.
It’s wrong. It’s dead wrong. It’s so wrong. I don’t trust your brain sir. Did you use your reference sheet?
I don’t need that reference sheet.
Other student comes up….looks at paper….How is it wrong? I got the same answer.
Me…where is your formula?
Them. Formula? What, we don’t need it. We got it figured out.
NO YOU DONT! NO YOU DONT! It’s wrong. Can I just go back in time and get all of my past hour of my life back? Please?
Both of them look at their papers and look at me like I am speaking another language and I am tripping.
So I beg them. Just go and look at the formula. Just entertain me. Just look at it. Note here…I had to beg them. Not ask them. BEG them. LOOK AT THE FORMULA. LOOK AT IT. JUST PEEK. JUST Glance. Just put your eyeballs on it and then look away. Can you pick up the danggone reference sheet????? Please!!!
You need to divide it by 3.
Ya’ll these last two nerves. I ain’t gonna lose. These last two nerves…..