Friday, September 10, 2010

It’s my third week as a teacher. I teach 7th and 8th grade at a low-income school at one of the largest public school districts in the country. Many of my students are on the free lunch program.

It’s been a good morning. I was only called a bitch twice, but both times the kids were under the stress of learning about quotation marks. Honestly, I can sympathize--if you’ve never seen them before, they’re a little bewildering. Plus the example sentences were absurd.

“Would you like to go tubing this weekend after the clam bake?” asked Catherine.

Apparently they got Elle Woods to write the textbooks.

Anyway, one of the kids who called me a bitch apologized after class without being prompted, which was about as mind-blowing for me as quotation marks were for them.

“Sorry,” he said.

I just stood there.

“For calling you a bitch.” He clarified.


I wish I’d had something better to say, but I didn’t. The thing is, even the roughest of these kids know when they’ve pushed it, and I know he felt bad about it. So shaking my finger and saying “And that’s the last time, mister!” would have probably undone any guilt he felt. I almost put a hand on his shoulder out of gratitude, but I opted out.

Another reason this morning was great was because I had a SuperSonic breakfast burrito before school, which, if you’ve never had one, is something you should invest in tomorrow morning or at your earliest convenience. Eggs, sausage, jalapeno slices, diced tomato, onions, and –take a deep breath—tater tots. The only not-so-great part was the tortilla, but other than that, the SuperSonic breakfast burrito is for the elite.

Anyway, I’m keeping this blog to remember my first year of teaching. I know it’s only going to get harder for a while, and I know that there will be days when I come home crying, and I know that there will be days when I want to write a dramatic farewell note and put my own head under a guillotine. But I want to start out on a good note. And today, that note is apologies and breakfast burritos.