Monday, May 21, 2012

Tales from an Eighth Grade Classroom

I was Mrs. Lucas again today.  Seriously.  And no, I didn't get married.  I'm pretty sure you would have heard about something like that before it happened.  Although I did actually tell (lie to?) a salesman yesterday saying that I needed to talk to my husband before I could decide on whether to give to their cause or not... but that was because he wouldn't leave me alone.  Hmm.  Maybe lying's not the best way to go about it.  Shh.  But anyway.

I was Mrs. Lucas today.  Meaning I was subbing in 8th grade math and Language Arts for my mom.  It's kind of funny to be back in the same building I went to middle school in myself, working with some of the teachers I once had.  I'm teaching kids in rooms I have strong memories of learning in.  My mom's room was once my Advanced Language Arts classroom, where kids in my class were adept at getting our teacher on rabbit trails and making it take 2 full periods to go over a worksheet (we were, ahem, not her favorite class).  I loved that class though... I got to read a ton, which was right up my alley!  Across the hall from there is where I sat learning from Mr. T about science and where I took algebra.  He was one of the most patient, focused, Christ-loving teachers I ever had.  And when I attempted to do cross country on his team, I quickly realized that I preferred things like dance to running... and running... and running...  I have high hopes of one day figuring out why running appeals to people.  Personally, I think every 8 counts should be something different!

The first time I subbed for my mom, the kids hadn't quite figured out all the connections yet.  I joked, "most of you know my mom, Mrs. Lucas... she's pretty much known me my whole life...."   Pause.  wait.  kids look at me blankly.  Then one student said, "but wait, hasn't she known you your whole life?"  Hmm.  Um.  Yeah.  Next hour I thought maybe I'd better not say that.  But as soon as one girl came in the classroom, she looked at me and said, "wait! You're that girl who's from Africa!  I mean, you're not from Africa, but, you're like, you're from there!"  Hmm.  Yeah.  Something like that.

That same day, I told the students that I was going to go back to Tanzania to teach at some point.  The next day, they told my mom I was back in Tanzania.  When she said she thought I was still at home in Michigan, they were adamant.  "She told us she was going back!  She's back in Africa today!"  Hmm.  I wish I could just pop over in an evening like that!

It is amusing to see kids today doing the exact same things that my own peers did once upon a time.  The students in this classroom are amazed that I can hear them snickering under their breath, pretending to read with a book over their face as they talk to a neighbor, or trying to get me to believe that Mrs. Lucas really DOES let them switch seats to sit by their friends whenever they want.  Ha!  I am more and more convinced that kids. are kids.  no matter where they might live in the world.  I tell them I hear them... that we did the same things in the same seats when I was in this same classroom... that as a teacher, I'm used to paying attention to what's going on and catching kids who try to be silly along the way.  Most days they just ask when I'm going to get a real job... be a real teacher.  They don't seem to get that I am one.  But that's ok.  Maybe some day I'll grow up and become something great!  There's always hope... :D

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