As both a parent and a teacher, I have made several observations over the years. Many of these observations have helped me develop what I like to call my “Full-o-Crap” alert. I have been using it effectively in my own home for years, but for some reason I have been hesitant to use it in the classroom...until now. This week, I will officially remove my proverbial blinders after teaching in the classroom for nearly five years. Yes, thanks to the number of students I have caught in bold-faced lies this week, my utopic teaching dream is over and my “Full-o-Crap” meter is reading in the red.
Gone are the days of giving students the benefit of the doubt. Gone are the exceptions I once made for my classroom rules and procedures. Gone are the second, third, and sometimes fourth chances to correct behavior. Gone! Gone! Gone! And, if by chance I find myself longing for my former days of optimism, I will simply read the following ironies which have jaded my views and demolished my dreams of having mutual respect reign in my classroom.
Remember: Students are adept at stretching the truth (formerly known as lying) and convincing parents of your evilness by using phrases such as, “She never has the bellwork ready,” or “She yells at me every day.” Ironically, these are the same students who write down that they have read exactly the fifty pages you require in a week but cannot tell you one thing about the book they've “read.”
Remember: Students who normally can't remember to comb their hair, brush their teeth, or take their dirty clothes to the hamper are somehow able to recall that five weeks and two days ago they turned in their assignment, complete with details as to where they put it and what you were doing when they did so. They may even be able to recollect what they were wearing at the time...
Remember: Students who haven't yet figured out how to drop the “e” and add “ing” in words like moving, coming, and loving are somehow perfectly adept at finding and pointing out the one typo you overlooked on the handout you spent four hours generating the night before. "Mrs. Thompson, aren't the quotation marks going the wrong way at the beginning of this sentence?"
Remember: Students who consistently forget to turn in assignments are somehow blessed with parents who don't forget how to contact you.
Remember: Students who accuse you of being rude when you are simply correcting unacceptable behavior, have been blessed with parents who are the composers of the nastiest emails ever generated. "I demand an explanation!" or "Maybe we should do that to you and see how you like it!" However, they will usually stop themselves just before writing, "Neener-neener." Usually.
Remember: Students who do not follow directions or pay attention in class are the first ones to accuse you of making them look stupid.
Remember: Students who are obstinate, insubordinate, and down right odious are the first ones to seek the sympathies of others by sulking, “That teacher hates me,” even when you have bent over backwards to be professional and kind.
Remember: Students who come to class late and take five minutes to find a pencil are the first ones to cry foul if you hold them after class.
Remember: Students who make life a living hell in the classroom for an entire year are usually the first ones to pop in and visit when school resumes the next fall. Years later,they may even go out of their way at the grocery store or in the Home Depot parking lot to greet you as though you were their long lost relative. Don't panic though. The nightmares will return...but only for a short period of time.
Remember: Students who are respectfully quiet in class are often your biggest fans and will sing your praises outside the classroom. Unfortunately, their parents seldom call or write.
If only I could wrap my Full-o-Crap meter and give it as a gift...I know exactly who my first recipients would be...