The first quarter ends Thursday. It’s one of those so-quick-yet-so-long kind of things. The first quarter is over already, but we’re still working on The Outsiders. And I think the neediness of this year’s bunch is starting wear me down. I swear, it seems like the average age this year is about 7. Jeez Louise, I don’t know how elementary school teachers do it. Maybe the fact that they have 1/5 as many kids makes it worth it. But not even the tasty prospect of not having to learn all those names would make it worth it to me to have to…what’s the vocab word we just had? Nurture. I just can’t keep up with all the nurturing this crowd needs this year.

Some examples:

Half of them (well, not exactly half, but you know what I mean) still don’t put their names on the paper. The other half just put the first name. I have 3 Hollies, 4 Alexes (Alexi?) (from both sexes)…I have 2 Averies (Averys?) for Pete’s sake!

They have no idea how ironic (and another -onic adjective) it is to, in the same period, not have the vocabulary homework, AND ask if “you have any extra credit, ’cause my mom says I hafta raise my grade.”

They get pouty when I point that out to them.

More clickers have clattered to the floor this year, resulting in a .10 fine to the Popple, than in the previous 2 years…COMBINED.

I have heard the phrase, “Can I bring a note from my mom?” more times this year than in my previous 19 years of teaching…COMBINED.

The other phrase of choice this year is, “I’m confused.” I was just talking to the other seventh grade English teacher with 5 periods of these guys, and in her classes it’s, “I don’t get it.”  They don’t ask any real questions, they just throw up their hands (actually, they  sort of just set their hand on their heads; raising it is just so hard), and ask you to “explain the whole thing again.”

Or even worse, they do ask specific questions… about things that you have just covered three times in the previous minute and a half.

The king of this tactic this year is…oh how I wish I could use his real name, because it’s one of my all-time faves. He too is in the class of 20 girls, and they all tower over him, and endure him as a big sister might put up with an annoying, but hard-to-get-mad-at little brother. He’s another one we’re going to be hearing from again and again as the year goes on, and his pseudonym has to at least emulate the spirit of the original name.

“Intriguing Question.”  No lie; the real name is a bit shorter and simpler, and way groovier, but this name captures the gist of the original.  Plus, intrigue was a vocab word last week during French word week. IQ for short.

“When is it due?”

“I started with that info, it’s at the top of the handout, and written on the board…as I just said.”

“Oh. Ok.”  Up goes the hand. (He is definitely NOT one of the lazy hand-wavers.)


“How long does it have to be?”

“Again, it’s in the handout and on the board. And I just answered that for Julie.”

“Oh. Ok.”

“Put your hand down. When your hand is up, you are not listening to me; you’re thinking about your question.”

“Oh. Ok.”


“Is there extra credit?”