The Life of Bon: My students.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

My students.

(All pictures of students are used with written permission from student and parent.)

This weekend when we were in Cedar City my mom kept saying, “Tell me about your students, Bonnie. I think that’s the most fascinating thing about your blog is when you talk about your students.”

I was flattered because my mom is a staunch supporter of everything I do and also offended because according to my mom the most interesting thing about me is not about me at all but about the people I hang with on a daily basis.

The seventeen year olds.

So today I will tell you about my students.  Mama, this post is for you.

Mark has the most horrific handwriting.  He’s 18 years old and I can’t read his essays worth a crap- I can hardly even make out his name at the top.  Today after going over some notes from their most recent essay, I made all the students write down one thing they were going to work on to get a better grade on their next essay.  I wandered around the classroom a bit while they wrote and looked to see what improvements they planned to make. 

“Write more newt?”  I asked Mark after reading his scribbles.  “What in the world is that supposed to mean?”  

“Write more neat...” he replied sheepishly.

Able doesn't have a brain; he has a vault.  As soon as something enters it, it never leaves.  He’s a big kid- 6’2” and not at all lanky.  The kids gave him “Wikipedia” for a nickname because he knows millions of facts about anything and everything.  He sits in the back of the class with his laptop and literally looks up every subject I am talking about on wikipedia and spits off facts to me.  Talking about Sweden’s education system?  He’s got the facts right in front of him.  What made William Golding write The Lord of the Flies?  Able knows.  Where the word synecdoche derived from?  Just ask Able.  He is also wildly obsessed with Norse Mythology.  Every time he answers a question he somehow relates it back to Norse Mythology.  Last week the kids took a test on The Lord of the Flies.  He was supposed to analyze if he agreed with the book’s assertion that man is naturally evil and savage.  He wrote about Norse Mythology instead.

Allan is the sweetest kid you’ll ever meet- he would never dream of hurting anyone.  But he never stops talking.  Yap yap yap yap yap all day long it's yap.  I have to tell him four times a day to shut his trapper.  When he came in after school to make up a test I asked him sweetly, “Allan, why don’t you ever be quiet for me?”  He replied so honestly and sincerely, “Because Teacher.  I feel like I have so much to share with the world and so little time to share it in.”  Good enough, Allan.

Britany is always bubbly and happy.  On the first day of school she told us all with a smile that her leg had had to be amputated after it was infected with cancer and that is why she now has a prosthetic leg.  Some kid yelled, “Doesn’t that suck having a fake leg?”  and she replied with the hugest grin, “Nope!  Because it means I don’t have cancer anymore!”

Tim wrote me in his journals about his first kiss with Aubrey- another girl in the class.  He confessed he's still in love with her, and my heart broke for him to have to be in a 2nd period English class with his unrequited love.  He told me when he went in for that first kiss he noticed that her eyes were “recycle bin blue.” That is a phrase that will stick with me for the rest of my life.

Jason is my vocabulary master and every time I am struggling for a word at the board he shouts out the exact right word I was looking for.  “Do you mean manipulative?” he questions.  “Anarchy?”  “Apathetic?” “Self disciplined?”  I told him he needs to follow me around everywhere I go giving me the exact perfect word in the perfect moment.  He said he'd consider it.

And there’s more.  250 more, in fact.  It's crazy to me how unique and talented all these kids are-they are funny, smart, eccentric and loving.  So loving.  As the year goes on and I get to know them better I realize how much these kids are all carrying with them and I just can't help but have respect for everything they go through.  I teach some tough cookies, that's for sure.

All names have been changed to protect the innocent.
Or the not so innocent.

35 comments:

  1. Your students sound lovely. I feel the way Allan does about talking but with writing-- there's so much to write and so little time. "Recycle bin blue" eyes-- that's adorable and I'll never be able to forget that!

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  2. I was trying to explain to my students why I was a teacher. The simplest answer? Them. 100% them.

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  3. I love my students too.

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  4. I share the same kind of love for my students. I know you changed their names, but do you ever worry about any negative backlash that could come from posts like this? I ask because I have a strict policy that I will never talk about my students in my posts (they're in college anyway, but still) just because I know that they can find my blog from googling me. I have been curious about other educator/bloggers' feelings on this, and what could be negative repercussions (if any?) for talking about students in a public sphere.

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    1. Good Question! I was wondering the same thing.

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    2. I'm with these guys, too. My district has a very strict policy on how we use photographs of school property. I post the occasional classroom photo, but if I were ever discovered to include pictures of students on the internet (even somewhere like Facebook), my contract could be terminated. Just be careful, okay? :)

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    3. I change key facts about the students including name, gender, where they sit in the class, etc, when I write about them so that it would be pretty difficult for any student to prove that I was referring specifically to them. I do have written permission from parents and students to use their pictures online so that protects me there. There have been some posts that were negative toward students that I have taken down. Any time a student or parent has found my blog their reactions have been positive so I am hoping that continues.

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  5. That is wonderful, I am a teacher as well and I love talking and hearing about students.

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  6. Haha I just read this aloud to my boyfriend and he loved it.

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  7. GAAASH I love this post!! Love love love it. Does it drive you nutso that I just used "gaaash" and "nutso" in this sentence? I'm an English major too. Even more annoyed? Love you Bon!

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  8. I love this post! Discovering more about our students is probably one of the best parts of teaching! It makes it all worthwhile to get to know our students personally throughout the year. That is why I am very glad that I have so few so that I can do that on a better level. I love your teacher posts and hope you don't mind that I steal your awesome ideas (after all, imitation is a form of flattery!).
    Our Fairy Tale

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  9. This is awesome! Your mom might be onto something, not to say that your students are the most interesting thing about you, because that's not true at all, but because it's interesting to hear how students are seen through a teacher's eyes. If any of my high school teachers had blogged about me, I would be interested (now- six years later) to know what they said.

    http://amylynscarano.blogspot.com/

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  10. Obviously you care about your students. I don't think my teachers in high school ever took the time to get to know me like this.

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  11. I love this! I want more! I remember high school (vaguely) and its neat to hear the 'teacher's' side of the story!

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  12. Awwwww. This got me all teary-eyed. They're adorable and wonderful and fantastic. ... ... ...

    ...

    I'm gonna miss my teenagers when I leave in December. :(

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  13. Haha! Great post! Sounds like you have jewels for students.

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  14. The fact alone that you care enough about these students to get to know them and remember these things about them, show what a wonderful teacher you are. I wish you were my English teacher when I was in high school!

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  15. I love this post! I love all of your posts anyway, but for some reason I love this one! One of my best friends is a high school freshman English teacher and I sent her this and she laughed and teared up a little at how similar it was for her!

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  16. of course we all love hearing about you and your life, but your mom is right - it's also fun to hear about your crazy 17 yr olds you hang out with every day ;)

    it's funny to think about kids i went to school with that fit in these similar categories when we were in high school. and all the polynesians....haha. too funny.

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  17. I used to teach high school Social Studies and love, loved this post. I'm taking a small hiatus from the classroom as desperate times call for desperate measures (i.e. my husband is in medical school and a teaching salary just can't support us in NYC metro area right now). Anyway, I miss those kiddos every day and felt just an inch closer to them through your post. Just added you on Bloglovin' to keep up with your adventures. Cheers :)

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  18. I've never commented before, but I love this post. It's so clear how much you care about your students. I tutored in a middle school in college, and your post reminded me of the hope I had for my students even when they tried to act as though they didn't care about learning.

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  19. Recycle Bin Blue might be one of the most modern, poetic things I've heard in a while. just lovely. not going to forget that one.

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  20. Recycle bin blue...teenage boys are such romantic beings, are they not?

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  21. " I smile and cock my head and he does what I say."
    --Typical male lol.

    Tim..poor soul! He will find his love one day..recycle bin blue is too funny and precious all at the same time. I mean, imagine a guy says to you "You're eyes are as blue as recycling bins!" lol! so sweet though.

    If you were my kids teacher I woulde so proud that you included them in a post

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  22. Well, it's true. This was an interesting post! I find it fascinating that teens haven't changed much from when I was a kid. (What am I saying? I'm only 26).

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  23. Hi! I'm an avid reader of your blog! I recently graduated high school two years ago SORRY I AM A BABY! But I forget how I found your blog but it is too awesome to see how teachers think about their students! I really enjoyed this post! :)

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  24. I LOVE this post. Everything you write about school has so much life to it. I floated through most of high school thinking that my teachers really didn't notice me or think about me very much...now I'm scared!

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  25. i love this. i miss teaching so much

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  26. I started following you after reading your post from EatYourselfSkinny & loved it! I'm a very new blogger & greatly appreciate the tips you gave, thanks!

    http://fergluv.blogspot.com

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  27. This post makes me want to teach high schoolers instead of elementary school!

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  28. It is nice to hear a teacher say nice things about their students, I have often wondered what teachers think of students.

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  29. I too love reading about your students and your experiences at school. It brings me back to the teachers that I enjoyed! I would love to be a fly on the wall in your class though!!!

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  30. The story about Neal broke my heart. The story about Allan is so sweet. Sheesh, those high school kids have my heart all over the place!

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  31. Your mom is right - your students are fascinating! And I love how your writing captures them so perfectly in just a few words.

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  32. These are some of my favorite posts, too :) I love that you get to see past the front your students put on for the rest of their peers.

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