Back in 2008, I had what I like to call my friendly class. They were actually the friendliest class ever. And they really looooved The Outsiders. It was during the discussions about the book that they really came into their own as the friendly and sensitive class. Now, every year about this time, I have fond memories of them. Like this:

We’re reading chapter 4 (the death of Bob, Dally helping with the getaway, jumping the train out of town), and we get to where Dally is telling Pony and Johnny to “hop the 3:15 freight to Windrixville.” We pause and talk about how it’s only been less than 36 hours (book time) since the beginning. They find it hard to believe until we start to do the timeline. Figure that Pony gets out of the movie in the late afternoon, and gets jumped and saved. Pony and Johnny and Dally go to the Nightly Double the next night, and it’s now 3:15am that same night.

Then I make sure they know that a freight is a train. And one girl says, “How cute. Like hobos…”

Hobos maybe. Cute?

Why Don’t You Love Me Like You Used to Do?

When the boys run to find Dally at Buck Merrill’s house, Pony offers a brief description of Buck that ends with, “…he was out of it. He dug Hank Williams. How gross can you get?” (Or words to that effect; I left my copy at school.) Then Dally adds a few choice adjectives after rolling his eyes at Buck’s choice of music. Of course, that’s my cue to break out a little “Why Don’t You Love Me Like You Used to Do?” And I have the bobblehead pictured above. So we rock. At least I do. Their opinions tend to be similar to Pony’s and Dally’s.

Or this:

More on both of these later, but I just have to tell about this one before I forget. I think I already have a fave class this year. I know you’re not supposed to pick faves, but…some classes are just more…fun(ny). Today, reading The Outsiders, we were getting to the end of chapter one, and I’m asking them why they think Darry might be treating Pony (seemingly) more harshly than Soda. I try to lead to realizing that, 1) Darry used to have a life, and now he has two teenagers to raise (“How many of you have an older brother or sister who is 6 or 7 years older? Now what if s/he were suddenly Dad/Mom? Get it?”) 2) Darry realizes Pony has a chance to get out of the ‘hood, so to speak; he’s the smart one that can go somewhere, and Darry wants to make sure that happens. So after a few minutes of this, one girl says, “So, it’s all about the love, then?”


And the best part of  that class was a staple of this blog back in the early days, “Maureen” the Politeness Girl.

(Not to be confused with the cartoon “super hero” Politenessman, the guy with the steel hankie.)

The best way to describe her is by quoting her. Picture a spring in her step and a smile on her face as well. Every day. Always. And every line is spoken with the most genuine sincerity. Really. (If some of these quotes look familiar, well like I said, this is the source of some of my best shtuff.)

On me announcing that henceforth, a score of less than 70% will land you in detention for a week.
“Thank you for helping us do better.”

During a discussion about Pony and Darry’s relationship in The Outsiders.
“It’s all about the love then.”

On Dally and Johnny.
“Aww that’s so sweet, he doesn’t want Johnny to be like him.”

On the new seating chart.
“I really like my new seat. Thank you. I like being in front.”

On me handing the vocabulary lists down the rows.
“Thank you so much.”

On Johnny and Pony hopping the freight to Windrixville.
“How cute, like hobos.”

Upon entering the room one day.
“Don’t I just remind you of yellow? All sunny and bright and cheerful?”

After I used another student’s name and hers for a grammar sentence (Joey knitted Maureen some nice booties for Christmas.)
“That’s so nice, thank you Joey.”

“You do realize, Maureen, that Joey didn’t really knit you booties?”

“I know, but still…that’s so sweet. Thanks Joey.”

Her answer after I asked her if she has ever been angry at anyone.
“I was mad at myself once when I did bad on a test. And I get mad when people are mean.”

To the lunch ladies.
“Everything looks so good Greta, I’ll have the salad, please. Thank you so much.”

On the bailiff ‘s wife in The Midwife’s Apprentice naming the baby Alyce delivered after her.
“Awww, that is so cute, I think Alyce would be a great mother. Thanks for picking this book.”

On rain.
“I just love the rain.”

On wind.
“Aren’t windy days just so refreshing?”

At the beginning of every period.
“Hello, how are you today?”

At the end of every period.
“Thank you.”

No, thank you.