High school moments
I'm teaching at Tuloso-Midway High School. It still feels weird to say it. I'm a teacher. It's my first year, and what I've figured out so far is that you have these moments when you're teaching. Some are good. Some are not so good. But it's all made up of these moments.
I've learned that you have to actually explain how to walk into a room properly and how to sit at a desk properly. To ninth graders. And some 12th graders. But practice makes perfect. Usually one incident of, "Go back out and walk in and sit down correctly, please," works. Sometimes 10 times in a row.
"Again, please". "Again, please." And then "Thank you."
All is well.
I've been at my breaking point several times with one student or another. They won't do their work. Or they won't stop talking. Won't stay in their seat. Try to pass off someone else's work as their own. Claim they turned something in when we both know they didn't. I've had fights in my room. Yes, multiple fights with multiple kids. I got in the middle of the first one and broke it up. I don't plan on doing that again. The police have led some out in cuffs. Those are not good moments.
But you know what gets me? Some of those kids that end up out of my class for the rest of the semester are the ones that were finally improving. They were honestly making the effort to turn in their work or bring up their grade or pay attention. And then they're out. Not good moments, either.
So where are the good moments? Everywhere. When I'm reviewing for a test on Europe and someone shouts out with enthusiasm, "The Alps!" in response to the most significant mountain chain or, "Fleas on rats!" to how Bubonic Plague spread.
I have one student who gives me a hug every day. And she is not the type to give hugs. I've written some up for various serious infractions, they've been sent to in-school suspension for three days, and they come back with smiles on their faces and say happily,"Hi, Mrs. Williams! I'm back!"
One even brought me an apple. And apologized.
I was expecting them to hate me.
One male student was doing his work at a desk right next to mine and asked, "Mrs. Williams, do you watch soap operas?"
I thought he was joking.
"No," I kind of laughed in response. "Why?"
He seemed embarrassed suddenly. "But I used to when I was your age,"
"Which ones?" he asked. I named them. He smiled.
"The Young and the Restless is my favorite," he said.
We talked for a while about Victor Newman and Nikki and Jack and Victoria. A building recently collapsed and was the plot for some time, and
had actually seen it while visiting my mom on a break from school, so
knew what he was talking about. I was talking to a 14 year old about soaps. And it was a great moment.
Some students recently confided in me that they had bets about me when I first started. They bet that I would quit within two weeks. Why? Because I'd get so mad at them that
'd walk out. That's never happened. It's just a moment. And whether good or bad, it passes. And another one waits.
Kate Williams is a Port Aransas mom. She and her husband are the parents of an 8-year-old son and 7-year-old twin boys. Contct her at firstname.lastname@example.org