As we get closer to wrapping up the first week of the “What is a R.E.N.E.W.E.D. T.E.A.C.H.E.R?” series, I share one of the many reasons I have stuck with teaching for the past 10 years.
As RenewED Teachers, we must always remember to have fun so we may always:
Entertain Our Students to Entertain Ourselves
It was a gloomy Thursday, March morning around 8:30 am. It had rained the night before. I was running slightly late as usual. As I carried all 10 of my bags, plus the laptop I borrowed from my principal to work on my National Board Certification, in class, the previous night, I hurried to enter the building before anyone could see me entering a few minutes behind schedule.
The universe had it in for me.
As I proceeded to step upon the curb, all hell broke lose!
The tip of my shoe hit the curb, and everything in my hands, including the massive amounts of papers nestled in my binder and my principal’s laptop slid out of my hands. But not before I attempted to save the laptop. Everything fell onto the curb and even into the nearby grass. Papers were sprawled like in an old school movie representing the last day of school for students. I was so embarrassed even though I wasn’t sure anyone had seen how well the ground and I were getting along. I tried to use my now free hands to prevent falling more, but I was down for the count and so were my bags. My pantyhose had a whole and runs up and down my entire leg. Not only did I fall, I seriously bounced as if I had just fallen on a trampoline. Who bounces on concrete!?
I hope and pray no one saw me fall, because not one person came to my rescue. (That would be pretty shady.) The entire time I crawled around to pick things up, I was livid. I walked in the building, still fuming. I had a scrape on my knee that was beginning to bleed.
The students entered the room about 30-40 minutes later, and I was still heated. They could tell. They kept asking me if I was okay, and I tried to play it off, and leave my emotions at the door as I often encourage them to do, but I couldn’t. I eventually had to tell them about my Thursday morning shenanigans.
Oh! What a relief!? They listened to the entire story much like you are reading and waiting to see what happened next. We had a really good laugh about Mrs. Smith getting balled up outside of the school!
That’s not the end of the story.
I don’t know what my story did to my students this particular morning, but they were absolutely on. I mean focused on my every word and movement, and asked awesome questions, and followed directions almost better than ever before. (This is important because they never ever shut up! Swear!) Well, I think I was modeling a problem with fraction strips before they were going to get started on a similar activity which they were allowed to use.
Remember I said how on they were? Well, once students got to work on their task, I walked around the room to eavesdrop on their conversations and ask questions as necessary. When it was time to share, I called on three different groups to share their ideas. One group used the manipulatives, another used a number line, and the last group drew a picture. Once they shared their different strategies, I asked each student to write and compare & contrast each of the strategies. The responses were amazing!
I was so excited about how on point the class was with their attention, attitude, effort, explanations, justifications, that I picked up a set of fraction strips, held the pieces up in the air as if they were a microphone and drop it.
We all started cracking up!
Every class has a class clown, right!? Well, throughout the all of the silliness and laughter, the class clown raises his hand to tell me what another classmate says:
T: Mrs. Smith, guess what E. said?
Me: What did she say?
T: She said those fraction pieces bounced like you did this morning! (In my head, I am dead! LOL!)
I am cool and strict at the same time, so I’ve been told. The students were unsure of how to react to this statement. I mean, E. was low key throwing shade. But T. knew I would laugh or else he would have said nothing! LOL! He and I typically saw eye-to-eye and understood each other. I learned that E. was a hoot! An identified gifted student, she was a cool-nerd, probably the smartest and hard working girl in the class, very quiet, always on task, asked thought provoking questions, and did not let me continue to teach if she didn’t understand anything. But if you ask her if she has swag, she will attempt to show you, and genuinely and seriously say with no smile, “I have no swag.” The girl was a silent riot! No one knew how funny and cool E. was until this year!
Me: That was a good one, E. You’re lucky I like you.
And we all busted out laughing again! Kids were giving her high fives and everything! Lol!
The point of me sharing this story in this post is to remind us not take ourselves too seriously. I often get caught up in being too serious, well, because education is that serious to me. But, although I do use tons of music in my class, and I have even created songs and remixes to popular songs to help them remember certain information, it is not always necessary. Sometimes just keeping it real is entertaining enough for you and your students.
As we continue to grow and renew our passion for teaching, sharing life’s little occurrences with our students can make for a more fulfilling and entertaining day.
Now it’s your turn! What embarrassing or humorous moments have you shared with your students? I’d love to hear! Share your stories in the comments!
Until then, Happy Teaching!
Krystal L. Smith, The RenewED Teacher