DIXIE DELIRIUM: Ramblings On The Fine Art And Act Of Teaching
Extra Credit Reading: I Was A Wide-Eyed Substitute Teacher, Too, Before All This Got Started
A DIXIE DIARY: The Spring Semester Of My Rookie Year
Is Teaching Fun?
Old Burrell Almost Killed Me In High School Lit Class. Now I'm What You Call His Colleague
Classroom Confidential: Bodily Funktions
Teachers Have To Write Essays, Too. Here's 932 Southern-Fried & True Words Of My Own
Essay A Go-Go: What's Up With Them Adults?
Rebel Yell: Give Todd A Holler

March 25

Scarlett thought hard but Thermopylae meant nothing to her.

—Gone With The Wind, by Margaret Mitchell


Dear Dixie,

Karina, the seventh grade World Cultures teacher and Lurlene got together and decided to separate the eighth grade girls from the seventh grade girls for a while.  Not because they were going to kill each other.  It’s because Karina’s got all the seventh and eighth grade girls in her homeroom and Karina has gotten to the point where she didn’t want the real nice seventh grade girls to witness the eighth grade girls kill each other … because it was about to happen.  We’re way beyond snippiness and evil glances.  It’s claw-your-eyeballs-out-with-my-fingernails time.  Perfectly normal.

Measures, like common sense, have to be taken, so I get the seventh grade girls in my morning and afternoon homerooms.

It’s not my birthday.  It’s not Christmas.  I have been following the local traffic laws pretty well.  I sent my census form in.  So why has fortune shined on me in the glittering form of Honoria, Paris, Celia, Sammy, Simone, Antoinette, and Farrah?

They walk into The Cozy Room of Learning and open up some textbook or binder and start studying its contents.  Without having to be asked by the awful teacher … Is there something you could be working on?

They ask me what they need to expect next year.

I tell them a few things.  Essays.  I really enjoy a good discussion.  Tests.  Quizzes.  Extra credit projects.  Later in the year the infamous vexillology lecture and the infamous citizenship lecture.

They smile.  Every one of them.

Farrah said she’s heard about the chicken … but how do you get it?

I tell her to look at the class participation checklist on the board in the back of the room.

They all look at it and spend time a pretty good amount of time looking it over.  No questions.  They get it. 

My heart sort of starts fluttering.

Honoria asks about the essays.  How many?  What would they be about?

I tell them that there will be five big ones throughout the year and that I always hand out instructions.

Honoria asks if I have any instructions I can give her now.

I about pass out … and there happen to be some extras on my desk in the front where I’m sitting.  I tell Honoria it’s the instruction sheet from the essay they're working on now.  Essay number four.  It’s an essay they’re writing about their identities … the history of themselves, in other words.

Honoria comes up and grabs one.

Now Sammy wants one … Celia … Farrah, too.  Arms raised and hands wiggling.  Now they all want one and I don’t have enough of the essay number four instructions.  How about a sheet from the essay project number three?

This is hard to believe.  They aren’t faking it.  Of course, I have to tell them that when they have me next year they’ll end of hating me pretty quick.  I just know it.  I’m half kidding.

One of them says … No we won’t!

I smile back at them.  They already want to do well in my class next year.  Five months away.  What a neat moment.  I wonder if they’ll be enthused later today … tomorrow.  I’ll surely have to enforce a few of my classroom rules, however reasonable, as we get to know each other now.  Rules like … leave your back packs out in the hall.  Compliment my hair.  A lot.  Those sorts of things.  Knowing these gals, they may plead for me to come up with a few more.  I wouldn’t be surprised.

Farrah says give her a chicken question.

I tell her thanks, and I will, but chicken questions are for everybody.

She’s okay with that. 

Okay, I say, for the chicken … who can tell me what vexillology is.

Farrah goes real blank.  They all go blank.  They look at each other.  They squirm.  Honoria thinks she knows what it is but isn’t sure and would be embarrassed to say the wrong thing.

Then, Sammy asks me in her hard-to-hear voice … Does vexillology hurt?



Next Entry ... March 31: Identity Unknown 

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