Let’s begin with an example. The rule in my class for warm ups and other classwork is that they always have to write the title and the date every time they write in their notebooks. So if you, dear reader, were one of my seventh graders, your most likely response upon reading the above title would be:

“Is today’s title ‘Masters of the Obvious’?”

Then…wait for it…

“What’s the date?”

It is one of the hallmarks of the junior high species: the stating (usually in the form of a question) of a staring-you-in-the-face-obvious fact. (Other hallmarks include: the three-word phrase, the pack mentality, and the┬áneed for routine, but I digress…again.)

If you can’t handle the redundant question/statement thing, you won’t last a week in this job. If you wear a new shirt, they tell you wore a new shirt. Or they ask if that’s a new shirt. If you ask them to take out their assignment books, they’ll ask if there’s any homework. Then there’s the ever popular, “I saw you.”

“Yes, I said hi to you, remember?”

“But I saw you.”

(After my semi-annual haircut…)

“Did you get a haircut?” or “You got a haircut.”

“No, I don’t discriminate; I got them all cut.”

(After my boy gets me some new pink reading specs from the dollar store…)

“Did you get new glasses? They’re pink.”

“What? No way!”

(Looking around at all the Simpsons kitsch I have in my classroom…)

“Do you like The Simpsons or something?”

“No. I just like bits of plastic from China.”

(Upon seeing the assembly schedule prominently displayed…)

“Do we have an assembly today?”

(Finally noticing my bike in the corner of the room…where it has been every day since day one…)

“Did you ride your bike to school?”



“Do we need to put our name on this?”
“Only if you want credit.”

“Do we have to do ┬áKBAR?”
“Only if you want to pass.”

“Do I need a pencil today?”

“Do we have to?”

“I’m kind of hyper today.”
“No way! Really?”