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Problems My Student Want Me to Solve (and Other Classroom Tales…)

Have you ever heard me tell you the story about the students who handcuffed themselves together?  No?  How about the student who used to hiss and snarl at me from underneath their desk?  Did you ever hear me talk about my Catholic fourth grade students taking turns sneaking off to the boy’s bathroom to look at the porno magazine one boy had smuggled to school?

True stories.  All of them.

Enter, mortified parents.  What those mortified parents don’t realize is that not much fazes a classroom teacher at any grade level.  What parents also don’t realize is the plethora of problems their children want me to solve on a daily basis.

You might be thinking of lost assignments and misplaced pencils being the topic of discussion.  Oh, boy.  You aren’t wrong, but try multiplying that by 27 and adding a splash of creativity for fun.

Today was a regular, run-of-the-mill Thursday.  Nothing out of the ordinary as far as schedules or events go.  Would you like to take bets on how many problems my students wanted me to solve today?  Just call me Detective Haller.

For your comedic enjoyment, here is the rundown…

“Mrs. Haller! I…”

“…put my social studies book in my expandable, but over Spring Break someone came in and took it out!”  (Side note: Even trolls don’t want to read our social studies reader over Spring Break.)

“…know where my lost pencil tag is.  ‘So-and-so’ said that they saw it under the futon and they saw the cleaners vacuum it up.” (Side note: I DO have a futon in my room, but this doesn’t make the story any more believable since the cleaners come around 6:00 p.m.)

“…lost my ring!  It was on my finger, but then it got irritating and I put it in my desk.  But someone took it while we were at lunch!”  (Side note: I eat lunch in my classroom everyday while I work.  No one is dying to spend their recess inside with me.  Also, I don’t covet nine-year-old’s jewelry.)

“…know I put my packet in my expandable folder yesterday, but it’s not there.”  (Side note: I say about ten times a day, “If you put it in your expandable yesterday, then that’s where it is!”  P.S. to my side note: It is NEVER in their expandable.  It is ALWAYS shoved in the back of their desk by the snack wrappers, misshapen library books, and old flyers about fundraisers.)

“…had my book in my desk before break, but now it’s not there.  Someone took it over break.”  (Side note: No one is breaking into my classroom over Spring Break to steal fourth grade fiction literature.)

“…am going to have a headache today.”  (Side note: This student has a headache every day.  Same, girl.  Same.)

“…have a huge knot in my shoelace.”  (Side note: I was able to get the knot out even with dagger nails since I need a nail appointment.  Also, many fourth graders still cannot tie their own shoes.  PLEASE teach your children life skills.)

“…forgot my book/paper/homework/expandable at home.”  (Side note: I am NOT the teacher that will make your parents bring it to school for you.  They are busy people.  You will have to deal.)

“…have a sore throat.” (Side note: You have a sore throat every day.  Also, I have a sore throat from repeating directions.  Let’s commiserate together.)

If you think that teacher’s lives are a walk in the park on a balmy, summer day, you don’t know the half of it!

Also, if you think that teachers don’t love it, laugh about it, and appreciate the humor in it, you also need to spend some time with a teacher.  We’re pretty hilarious!

To answer your questions…

Yes, I have actually made the statement in my classroom (during school hours), “Girls, take off the handcuffs and go sit down!”  (Back story: I was lucky enough to have a student with parents who were cops.  They were amazing and came to my classroom every year to do the D.A.R.E. curriculum.)

Yes, I have actually had a student who used to hiss and snarl at me.  I had gone to the lengths of modifying my room and approach to giving the student a taped box around their desk in which they were free to use in any manner.  Yes, even if that meant sitting under the desk and hissing at me when asked a question.  (Back story: This student had needs that weren’t being met.  My class was amazing at understanding, accepting, and carrying on despite the distractions.  Also, this student went on to find a school catered to their needs.  I am hopeful that they were given the opportunity to excel in the right environment.  Side note: Given that I’ve had students throw desks at me in the past, I can deal with a little hissing.  I’m a tough cookie.)

And, yes.  Pornography in a Catholic school.  In his defense, well…I’m not sure he has a defense.  But the poor kid probably just thought it would make him popular.  Either way, there I was as a second-year teacher going car to car in the parent pick-up line telling these Catholic school parents that their child “may have seen something inappropriate at school today”.  (Side note: The mom was most obviously MORTIFIED and had a whole story as to where the magazines came from.  I don’t really know or care if it was true because the whole time admin and I are holding this meeting, we’re trying not to bust up over the complete ridiculousness of the whole situation.)

Being a teacher might be exhausting, frustrating, and heartbreaking at times, but it is never boring!

Until tomorrow…

Be grateful (for students who don’t bring porno to school), water your own grass,

…and drink coffee.  Copius amounts of coffee.

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