Creating a monster

Middle schools seem to have changed a lot since I was in one. Kids come to class now with iPods and MP3s instead of discmans, and they brag about their latest xbox or Wii game instead of their new Sega Genesis. And while they are hidden, I know that just about every single student in all of my classes has a cell phone in their pocket. I started teaching 6th grade English on Wednesday. On a good day I come home drained, on a bad one I come home drained and with a ringing in my ears. But all of that aside, it really has been fun. For the most part, they're pretty well behaved. They just get excited easily, and they like to show off for the new student teacher, moi. But I'm sure they'll settle down in a few days when they get used to me being around.It's been an interesting experience getting used to the students, but it's also been fun getting used to my role as a teacher. I mean I get to park in the teacher parking lot, eat lunch with all the other teachers in the coveted teachers' lounge, and I don't need a hall pass to go to the bathroom. Plus, I have my own desk next to my cooperating teacher's, and it has all kinds of fun "teachery" stuff on it already like a red pen, post-it notes, and a magnetic paperclip holder. It's just weird being on the other side of everything, but it's a good kind of weird, of course.On my first day when I introduced myself, I let them ask me questions when I was done. And you know what the most popular question was in every class?--"What's your favorite color?" (And just in case you're curious now, too, it's purple.) I just found that strange that it was the first question asked in all four of my classes. Can it tell a lot about a person or something?

The most exciting part so far is that I feel like I already have done some good. There is a student in one of my classes who kept complaining every day when "Silent Reading" time came. "Mrs. Howard, I hate reading! It's so stupid!" Then he'd throw his book on his desk and become a problem by distracting other students who were reading. After a few days of that, I decided to bring in a book for him that I thought he might actually get a kick out of--Diary of a Wimpy Kid. He absolutely loves it! But for the past day or two, we haven't had time for silent reading because of everything else we need to fit into the day. So today he grabbed my hand with both of his after looking at the board and seeing silent reading wasn't on the agenda, "But Mrs. Howard! I have to have time to read my book!" It was so dang cute, and it made my day that he wanted to read so badly. I love seeing him in class hiding his book in his desk and reading. Maybe I should be upset that he's not paying attention to what I'm teaching, but I just can't make myself do it. Another good thing is that his little neighbor friend told me "Mrs. Howard, he used to hate reading, and now he's addicted to this book. Do you have another copy that I could borrow, too?" So now they both have their own copy. I just hope I haven't created monsters because I'm not sure what I will recommend for them next that will be as fun as the Wimpy Kid. Any suggestions???


Chan said...

Hey, Leanna, I like this post a lot. It sounds very natural. As for recommendations...I always liked young adult fantasy books at that age: Dark is Rising, Black Cauldron, Swiftly Tilting Planet, etc.

Julie M said...

Hey Leanna,
I'm so happy your teaching is going well. I love sixth grade.
My sixth graders really liked this series called Hank Zippzer. It is about this funny kid who doesn't really like school. They might like that one. Good luck

E. Anona said...

I don't remember 6th grade. But same as Chandler...a lot of YA fantasy books. Lloyd Alexander is great, Tamora Pierce, Joan Bauer, etc.

Sky said...

Leanna, I can't believe my fair-haired child is being called "Hey, Mrs Howard." And of course you will greatly influence their reading since you read constantly yourself. It's sort of scary, but everything you ARE translates to students. Remember the first time I ever saw you was when you nodded your head "yes" at a lecture I was giving when I said "English majors can not walk out of a bookstore with only one book." I think I've told you this before, but I was deep in to the lecture, standing in front of many people, but inside a brief nudge said "She will work at the Center soon." So strange, especially since I don't remember the hiring or interview at all. You sound good, and your writing is a great.

Leanna said...

Thanks for all the suggestions guys. And good news! They just came out with a sequel to Wimpy Kid! Yay!