Math = Love: Doubts

Saturday, April 13, 2013


Lately, I've starting having doubts if I actually teach high school. 


(These are all actual things I've found myself saying this week!) 

1.  "Please take the cardboard box off of your head."  As review for the EOI, my Algebra 1 students were playing Around the World.  One of my class periods was really into the game.  I had students yelling when they didn't advance.  After one student lost, I looked over to see him laying in the floor like he was about to have a temper tantrum.  Later, I look back over, and he is sitting in the floor with a cardboard box on his head.  And, this was no small cardboard box.  It was probably 3 feet tall, 2 feet wide, and 1 foot deep.  I had gotten some fundraiser material in it for student council.  I still can't figure out why in the world he would feel compelled to place it over his head...   

2.  "Please stop making pterodactyl noises."  Honestly, I don't know if they were pterodactyl noises.  But, my students said they were pterodactyl noises.  And, they were extremely annoying and distracting.  How do we even know what pterodactyls sounded like?  I'm pretty sure they went extinct a long time before we had the means of recording sounds.  And, of course, as soon as one student starting making pterodactyl noises, the other students sitting around him had to start making them, too.  It's really hard to keep a straight face while repeatedly asking students to stop making pterodactyl noises.   

3.  "Please don't lick your desk."  One of my students thought it would be more fun to drink his Sprite by pouring small amounts from his bottle into the cap of his bottle and drinking it from there.  Another student thought it would be funny to make his desk shift slightly at the exact moment he went to take his drink.  The student's capful of Sprite ended up spilling all over his desk.  Not wanting it to go to waste, he decided he would lick it off his desk.  At one point, I actually saw his mouth touch the desk.  The other students were outraged, too.  And, I think their comments may have been more powerful in stopping him than my plea.  I would not eat anything that touched the top of one of my students' desks.  They might get cleaned every nine-to-twelve weeks.  (Though, I do have one student who brought her own bottle of Clorox wipes to store in my classroom.  And, she sanitizes her desk and her friends' desks every day before class.)     


  1. Wow, I can totally relate to this. I always wonder if I am teaching kindergarten or sixth grade. Then I decide, it's the same , but the bodies are bigger!


  2. Buwahaha! You gotta love kids. I teach middle school and I tell them how I went to college to be a teacher and wanted to teach K or 3rd grade. Then I tell them thanks for giving me a taste of what it would be like. LOL

  3. You definitely had me laughing on a day when I needed it! When my older son reached the age of two, I came to the realization that there are a lot of similarities between teenagers and 2 year olds. :)

  4. My first year of teaching I taught a double period of remedial algebra with all of the 'repeaters' who were also recidivist behavioral issues. My family would stare at me in disbelief at the stories I told them, including those about a very large 16 year old boy repeated the word 'Buttocks' over and over again (stopping occasionally to tell me it wasn't profanity and I couldn't report him), a young lady who would sing "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" at the top of her lungs - her only alternative to sleeping in class, or the time I tried to make clinometers with them [what was I thinking?], only to have two girls chasing each other around the room cackling and swiping scissors at each other. Things are better now, but the kids eventually reveal their 'inner children'....

  5. I am so with you all! Yesterday it was, Miles: hey Anna, Anna: what? Miles: what? Anna perplexed: What? Miles snickering: What? I really wanted to hurt him.

    My own teenagers at are the loveliest at school, and terrors at home. ( okay not terrors, I am totally being dramatic) Why can't the other students be their loveliest at school, and be annoying at home?

  6. Thank you for your post! It made my day. I teach middle school math and I sometimes look out my window to see if I am teaching at "T" Middle School or "T" Preschool! This so sounds like some of my days. My favorite (NOT!) noises are these popping noises they make by placing their knuckles close to their ear by the cheek, and then popping. It is absolutely awful and I am awestruck at how long certain boys can keep up the noise while other students and I try to ignore them in the hope that by not giving it attention they will give up. Anyway, in the end all we can do is laugh about it and consider it an extra entertaining part of the job.

  7. I am so with you. I have been feeling like I was teaching kindergarten. My 6th graders just giggle when I say they are acting like kindergarteners, but the disruptions and random behaviors really make my job as a teacher more like a babysitter.

    Our kids are into tapping their pencils and knuckles on the desks. I might have some gifted drummers one day, if I don't go insane before the end of the year.

  8. Oh, my goodness!!! I just discovered your blog yesterday and have spent any spare moment (which, as you now know, is limited when you are a teacher) reading over various entries and comments. I have to laugh out loud at some of the entries, shake my head in shame and disgust at what we have to endure, (only to be told by the higher-ups that it is OUR responsibility to educate these little 'darlings' no matter what their abilities, work-ethic, or support system outside of school), and empathize with you at much of it, having now taught in elementary, middle, and high school over the past twenty years. It has surely been an adventure, but I have mostly discovered that I am not alone, and I have discovered that at one time there was somewhat a difference in the behaviors of different age students but no so much anymore. I know this is a HUGE generalization, but overall, our society is conditioning its youth to believe that hard work is not necessary and that an education is not important, and only those of us who have to deal with this on a daily basis understand this. Those in charge of creating all the rules and policies and tests have no idea what the students of today need. They feel like technology is the answer to everything. There has to be a happy medium and all parties involved should be held equally responsible. However, until the students and their parents/guardians have an equal stake in this educational process, I am pretty sure your 'desk-lickers', 'animal-noise makers', and 'temper-tantrum throwers' will continue to grace your classroom. Now, having said all that - You seem to have a true desire to make a difference, and you surely have wonderful ideas about how to do that! Your blog shows that you are doing something right! Best wishes!