Hi Readers! Dangit, it’s chaos over here, but I’m so grateful for the outpouring of love and support from you. You readers are the ultimate Christmas present–I love you even more than a patent for the Everclear Drinking Fountain, and that’s saying a lot.
Today, I’m really happy to bring you words from Jamie (aka: GossipSquirrel). I haven’t known her long–just a few months–but when I discovered her blog, I immediately pressed the “subscribe” button. She is foul. She is funny. She’s got stories about teaching and her students’ crazy antics. That’s good stuff. She makes me laugh, and we need more laughter in this world, wouldn’t you say?
So please welcome Jamie! She’s awesome.
“Hey Miss Ryan!”
A rarity at the high school, a blonde student, is waving for my attention. I have no idea what his name is since he’s not one of mine. For a new teacher, I’m relatively well known on campus being that I do a lot of substituting on my prep period. It’s pretty much a given among the faculty and staff that I am a hustla who will take any opportunity for extra $$$. Take tickets at sporting events? Sure! Substitute? Why not! Attend a paid training? Sounds great! Tutor after school? Absolutely!
I fail to place a name to this kid’s face and have to settle for something noncommittal.
“Hey, you! What’s up?”
“I just saw a tweet about you!”
A tweet? About me? It’s, like, ten A.M.! How have I done anything tweet-worthy by this hour? And how has this kid already seen it? And since when do my students tweet?
Oh yeah, it’s 2012. They live in a Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram reality (even more than their teacher.) The fact that the majority of them qualify for free or reduced lunch, yet also have iPhones, is another conversation for another day. But back to the tweet.
“Really? What’d it say?”
“I didn’t have time to read it carefully. Something about, ‘you don’t know for sure who the father is if you’re doing lotsa dudes at once!'”
I laughed and laughed. While the sentiment was accurate, my quote was paraphrased and taken way out of context. In class we’ve been talking about meiosis, which is the creation of sex cells. Cells. Not sex itself. But the students have gone APE SHIT over the topic and have badgered me with all kinds of off topic questions. My favorite three are below. Warning, not for the faint of heart:
1. “Miss Ryan, do women have sperm? No? Well then what does a squirter squirt?”
2. “Miss Ryan, what if a girl has sex with two guys back to back? And then the baby is like, a mix of both dudes? That’d be fucked up!” This exchange spurred the tweet above.
3. After I describe how millions of sperm are racing to fertilize one egg, the students are quiet for a moment. From the back of the room, one of my most gregarious students shouts, “So what you’re sayin’ is, we’re all winners!”
It’s been a long chapter.
Although I love all my students to death, I have my days where I feel like nothing I do is making a difference and that I’m failing all of them. Some of my students are an extreme challenge, in that they could. not. care. less. about school. One in particular has been kicked out of three classes and is now on a minimum schedule. He is 15 years old but hasn’t accumulated any credits. He has numerous tattoos and a reputation as a gang member. We butted heads at the beginning of the year, but after a lot of effort on my part, have managed to build some rapport. After a couple days of meiosis talk, he lingered after class.
“Ms. Ryan? Does this look…normal? She’s 28 weeks. It looks kinda small to me.”
It was a picture on his cell phone of his pregnant girlfriend’s belly. He was asking me if she was developing properly. To him, a high school Biology teacher and an OBGYN were equivalent. My heart swelled with pride. Gotta snatch your happy moments where you can.
You know you love me,
**I love a good teaching story.
***Jamie is a first year Biology teacher who watches way too much Gossip Girl and other like-minded programming for a serious professional. As a self-proclaimed city girl, she’s bumbling her way through her teaching gig in an agricultural community.