A full ten days of the school year have now concluded. Having been hired to come in for second semester last year, this is my first full year at my current high school; it has been an interesting perspective of getting new information along with new-new teachers and staff, but with the advantage of having already spent half a year here learning on the fly.
So far, so usual. I give you…my new crop high school students.
From the Ralph-Malph-“I-still-got-it!’ department:
It took less than an hour into day one of the new school year to make a mark.
Three of my homeroom seniors were having a light-hearted dispute. A young man said, in mock-whiny tone, “Mr. Lucker – can you please tell this girl to give me my juice back.” The young woman next to him held up a small bottle of apple juice. As I walked over, another young woman chimed in that “I gave him the money for that juice!” I approached, sized up the situation, said to the girl holding the juice, “Miss, are you bullying this young man by taking his juice and not giving it back?” They all immediately picked up on my tone. “No, I’m not bullying him…I’m just not giving him the juice.”
“So…you are telling me that you took this young man’s juice that this other girl paid for?”
All three nodded in solemn agreement.
“Ohhhhhhh, no!” exclaimed the financier of this escapade, snatching the bottle of juice from her surprised friend and walking way, noting “There is not enough juice in this bottle for all THAT!”
Solomonesque, I was.
No matter what grade level I am teaching, I like to start off using a set of writing prompts that I can use to explain a deeper thought process than what they normal employ. One of my favorites is this:
‘If you were a school supply of some sort what would you be? A ring binder or folder – a keeper of interesting information? Would you be loose leaf paper that new ideas can be created on? Maybe you are an eraser that fixes problems. Would you be a highlighter or a pen or…? Think about what kind of person you are and then describe yourself as a school supply.’
For the most part, my sophomores basically regurgitated the suggested angles, with a few noteworthy twists. To wit:
“If I were a school supply of some sort I think I would be a highlighter. I feel like highlighters are a little too much because you can simply underline. I feel like a person that does too much when I could just say things as they are. They just make things prettier and that’s how I am.”
“I would not want to be a highlighter because they do the most moving.”
“I would like to be an eraser but not to fix errors. Just to make everything very neat.”
“I would be a notebook. People could write notes in me and important information. You will come back and look over what you wrote in me. I am used as a vital resource in everyday school life.”
“Well, honestly I don’t like the idea of being a school supply…because basically you get used up and thrown away.”
We have potential here.
Week two found us settling into routines, and my senior homeroom getting to know me a bit better, purely by osmosis. One morning, as I was signing something for a student while another kid asked me a question. The acoustics in my room are pretty good, amplifying nicely, and when I answered the question, I apparently came across a bit differently. (Full disclosure: I began my career as a radio announcer, but these kids know nothing of my previous life.)
“Mr. Lucker, You know what you sound like? You sound like the guy on ‘Price is Right’ who tells about the prizes.” Without even lifting my head up from what I was signing, I simply replied (with earned authority) ‘Youuuuu have just won a trip. TO. The. Baaaaaa-HAMAS!” A brief moment of stunned silence was quickly followed by puzzled excitement
“See?! I told you!”
“You the dude who tells what prize is behind what door, aint you?!”
“Tell me I won a car!”
“Ummmm….o.k….” The bell was just beginning to chime, “You have just won. A. BRAND! NEW! CARRRR!!!”
Laughing, the seniors spilled into the hall, wishing me a good day, saying goodbye. A football player was just shaking his head as he left, but I could hear him as he went down the hallway, repeating over-and-over to the confused looks of other students and of staff: “You. Have. Won. A BRAND! NEW! CAR!”
I still got it.