Every year we teachers always get warnings or promises from our colleagues who teach in the grades below us.

“OMG! Wait until you get a load of the bunch of sixth graders heading up there next year. You better have your whip and your chair ready.”

Or, “This group we’re sending you are so self-sufficient, they barely need teaching.”

Uh huh. At least around these parts, these reports are almost always wrong.

So far, the most I’ve had to do to restore order is pick up the Quiet Stick. I didn’t even have to wave it, or point animatedly at  it,  or God forbid, actually wield it.

One detention for no notebook, served meekly and remorsefully. I say, “Quiet you!” to an overzealous “contributor,” and the class laughs and the kid is quiet. OMG. (Bonus points if you can name where/who I stole that line from.)

Things are much too quiet. I had more action out of the parents at BTSN than I’ve had so far from the kids. Even my servants student assistants are eerily quiet. I’ve NEVER had that happen before. Whether solo or in pairs, my student assistants usually jabber and jabber; at me, at each other, to themselves. The most I’ve gotten out of either of these ones is,”Umm, I think I messed…wait…never mind, I fixed it.”

There’s always the honeymoon period at the beginning of the year. We have our first period kids for an extra 10 minutes each day; we call it home base. Geeky, I know. So we call Homie Base, and my first period kids are my Homies. And every year, for the first few days, the Homies are in their seats well before they have to be, and they are always strangely silent after announcements and flag salute. (Aside: The flag salute made a comeback with last year’s 1-year-only principal, who was a former social studies teacher AND Ronald Reagan fan. Ouch. We hadn’t done it in so long, I had to “scrounge” a flag from the counseling office. Is it unpatriotic to steal a flag to salute?) But this law-abiding, respectful and silent period usually only lasts a couple of days. One of my pat lines is, “In a few days, I won’t be able to shut you up.” We’re seven days in (173 to go – not that anybody’s counting or anything), and they’re still pretty quiet.

Too quiet.

This weird start to the schedule for the year (a 2-day week followed by a 5-day week followed by a 4-day week this week) has messed up my groove, and my usual schedule for starting The Outsiders. We should already be almost to chapter 2. I’m gettin’ antsy to get started. I found my switchcomb in my desk, and my “greaser” hair is getting mighty long.

(That’s another tradition of fall. I usually only get about 2 haircuts a year. I try to schedule one of them so I can turn from greaser to Soc overnight. This year, I must have gone a lot longer than usual since cut #1. I’m almost past greaser, and into hippy.)