Archive for June, 2011

Washington, DC…

June 20, 2011

Last week, we took some 8th graders on our annual trip to Washington, DC.  Overall, I enjoyed this year’s trip more, but there were also more annoyances, by which I mean children.  There were two children in particular who we knew were going to drive us crazy and they lived up to the expectation.  I will call them Jack and Jill.

Jack and Jill are both a little odd.  I did not have Jill in class, but knew who she was.  I had Jack twice a day.  He was the student who, during the TAKS test, brought carrots and ranch as a snack and when he didn’t have a napkin, used his shirt to clean the ranch off of his hands.  I had to have him moved out of my room during the second round of testing, because he drove me crazy, even though he wasn’t doing it on purpose.  Jack doesn’t have a lot of money, but his mom really wanted him to go on the trip.

Anyway, Jack and Jill are best friends and they call each other “best friend.”  All Jack wanted to do was shop and swim in the hotel pool.  Every time we went somewhere, Jack would try to head straight for the gift shop, but we would usually stop him and make him go to the main exhibit, monument, etc.  If we were at a place that didn’t have a gift shop, he just wanted to stay on the bus and the bus driver was getting mad at him for this.  He ran out of spending money on the 2nd day (of a 4 day trip), but still just wanted to shop.  When we were standing in line at the National Archives to see the Constitution and Declaration of Independence, he tried to leave the line to go to the gift shop.  I stopped him and he started whining.  I reminded him that his mom spent a lot of money to send him here to see the sights, not shop.  I also reminded him that he was out of spending money and therefore there was no reason for him to go to the gift shop.  He said that he was just trying to have fun and I wasn’t letting him.  I forgot to mention that the things that he did spend money on consisted of random crap that he could get anywhere, I don’t think he bought anything DC related.

Jack also wanted to go to the hotel pool every night.  The problem is that the pool closed at 10 and most nights we didn’t get back to the hotel until between 9:30 and 10, so we would let them go because there wasn’t much time.  On the last night we finally let them go even though we arrived at the hotel around 9:35 because the kids kept asking.  Only 4 of the almost 40 kids on the trip went; this included Jack and Jill.  I asked one of the kids why he didn’t go even though he had asked about (in an unannoying manner) it earlier (even though he has a pool at home, which I reminded him) and he said that he was tired and there wasn’t much time.

Jack and Jill were also always lagging behind.  We always had to wait for them when we were trying to leave, because they were walking very slowly and taking their time.  Jack, however, was always the first off of the bus when we stopped to eat.

Now we move on to Jill.  She was not nearly as annoying as Jack, but she had a few shining moments.  Although we gave the students specific instructions on how to pack their bags to get through security, she tried to bring full bottles of shampoo, lotion, etc. through and we had to wait for her to go back and check her bag.  While we were walking along the tidal basin from the FDR Memorial to the Jefferson Memorial, she managed to cause someone’s shoe to fall into the water and it was not easy to retrieve, since we would not let him jump in.  She also managed to get lost from the group and did not realize that no one else was around and we spent a while searching for her because she wouldn’t answer her phone.

And finally we had to wait on her at the airport after we arrived back at DFW.  She lost her phone and did not realize it until we got to the baggage claim area.  We found someone and she went to check the plane.  After about 20 minutes, she finally came back and said that she couldn’t find it and Jill started crying and told her to “check the floor” and “check again.”  By this point it was already late.  Our flight had been delayed and we had waited at the airport for a while as they searched for her phone and the plane was getting ready to take off for its next flight.  She was crying and did not want to leave.  It was already almost 12:30am and we still had to drive 45 minutes home.  To top it off, she couldn’t even remember if the phone even made it on the plane or if she left it at the airport in DC.

We had a some other interesting characters too.  Including the boy who said “hi” to me every time he saw me, which got annoying really fast.  He was also the one whose mother called one of the other chaperones several times before and during the trip about random things.  For instance, the first night she got a call asking why her son had to sleep on the floor.  She explained to his mother that there were 2 queen beds in the room and in his room there were only 3 boys.  If he did not want to share a bed with another boy (which is common at this age), then that was his fault.  They boy, by the way, claimed that there were only two twin beds in the room and argued that point, even though they were queen beds.

I don’t want you to think that the trip was all bad.  Like I mentioned previously, I enjoyed this trip more than last year and I think part of it was that I knew more kids on this trip.  I have only shared the annoying stories so far I think I mentioned all of the most annoying incidents.

There was a group of boys that I spent a lot of time with on the trip and we had a lot of fun.  One boy did not want me to take pictures of him and I said, “Why?  You aren’t that ugly.”  I then proceeded to try to take as many pictures of him as I could.  I got a lot of him hiding his face, because the camera wouldn’t shoot fast enough.  I did manage to get a lot of sneaky pictures of him, but if you look through the pictures I posted, you won’t find a lot of those because I didn’t want to seem creepy.

There was also a boy who was one of my favorite students in class, but I could never get him to say a word.  He came out of his shell.  He got pooped on by a bird and I gave him the nickname “poopy.”  He also tried to play a game to see how much he could annoy me.  I won the game when I memorized his mom’s phone number and then started to dial it to demonstrate that I  knew it (it was a very easy number).  His friends wanted me to call her, but I ended up not having to do so.  One day he was complaining that his hip hurt and knowing that he did share a bed with another guy the night before (because I beat him with a pillow to wake him up), I asked him if he hurt it cuddling too hard overnight.  He was not too amused, but I sure was.

-J

Year 2 down…

June 7, 2011

As of Saturday, I am finished with my second year of teaching.  I can attest that what everyone says it true, it gets much better after the first year.   I was a much better teacher this year and I began to tackle more.  Last year, I did everything, as I was told, but this year, I began to want to change things.  This is due to the fact that I know the curriculum much better and I know my style and what works for me.

I also had a much better relationship with my kids this year.  I think that is due in part to the group of students we had this year.  The other teachers at my school would agree that this group was a much better behaved group.  I am going to miss a lot of my students.  One bad thing about teaching 8th grade is that they leave at the end of the year and I don’t get to see them anymore.  I had a lot of great kids this year and I hope that I hear from them in the future.

-J