Chase Mielke

Author. Speaker. Well-Being Expert.

Dear Kill-Joy, Take a Breather.

Glance around your classroom, or house, or job. If you work with groups of kids, chances are you’ll notice some things.

– You will notice one kid picking his nose. Hard. If he’s older, he may be trying to hide it. Under 10 years old and he is proudly showcasing his gold. Regardless, no nose picking is truly discreet, so now notice the other two kids looking with horror at him.

– Notice the one kid who looks as if she just downed a gallon of Fun Dip — tapping her pencil, shaking her head to music no one hears, getting up – sitting down – getting up – sitting down, narrating it all with odd sound effects.

– There’s also the kid who is in the middle of the grandest of illusions right now. Spot him by the depth of focus he has on the birds outside the window. You can try to interrupt him, but he’ll just turn your reality into some futuristic battle (and you’ll be on the losing end . . . unless he has a crush on you).

– In a few minutes one of your kids is going to have an emotional crisis. The cause is not really important right yet; you’ll find out more when he or she calms down in 30.7 seconds. Just know it’s the worst crisis any human has ever experienced ever in the history of all history.

– Then, of course, there is the kid waiting to cook up some condescension. He was born with an innate mastery of ways to get class off focus or pit you in a power struggle. You can call him, “Nemesis” if you like, or “Kurt” will do.

– If your clientele is young, you’ll have your Mucus Sponges, your Sleeve Eaters, and your “Everyone-needs-to-know-what-I’m-thinking-this-very-second” Blurters.

– If you work with the pubescing ones, you’ll see your “We need a writing utensil today too?!”s, your Hall Pass Addicts, and your “Everyone-needs-to-know-what-I’m-thinking-this-very-second” Blurters.

Your class is filled with these creatures. They are unpredictable. They are needy. They are extreme. They are like cats on “the nip” in a small space. Their constant eccentricities have been dripping away your patience bucket since the moment the honeymoon phase was over.  It’s April.

You chose the situation you are in when you decided to work with kids. Now you have two other choices:

1. Get annoyed by how stupid, antsy, smelly, and forgetful these kids are. They’ve been on this freakin’ planet for at least four years; they should have figured it out by now!


2. Take a deep breath and allow yourself to laugh at how silly, energetic, fragrant, and developing these kids are. Their brains are still developing; you get to help them figure parts of life out.

We all get to make this choice every day. Every one of the 180 + “Here’s some data!” + extra required PD days. Yet, each additional month we spend in the trenches of child development leads us to forget that we can choose our outlook on our students.

Kids are either spawns of Satan’s annoying cousin, or they are hilarious. Your perspective decides.  And, in order to see beyond the demons, one must have a sense of humor for the chaos that is education.

We have to come to terms with one thing: If you have no sense of humor — or you lost your sense of humor — you have no business in the classroom. [Insert exasperated, curmudgeonly comments here].  If you cannot muster up a basic joy for the job of teaching these developing brains, do yourself and society a favor and find something else to do that does bring you joy.

Why? Because, people who cannot love the process of learning cannot keep the love of learning alive in children. If you treat teaching as a chore (and heads up: your nonverbals are screaming it to your students), your students see it as an even worse chore . . . with no pay or benefits.

Now this, of course, does not mean that one must take every situation lightly. “Devin, you’ve failed your third test in a row. Isn’t that hilarious?” Not cool. Nor does it mean we must abandon all rules and expectations or ignore holding high standards.  Believe it or not, it IS possible to hold students accountable without being a caffeine-deprived, fire-breathing dragon. And yes, there are real concerns and issues in education and society. But, Carter acting like a squirrel shouldn’t top the list.

We often let the little things — the insignificant things — consume way too much space in our minds. We let Laura’s eye rolling, and Logan’s question-we’ve-already-answered-twice, and that stupid fuzz on the side of notebook paper become the biggest issue of our day.  And, the double-whammy here: the king of our worries is the lord of our perception. In choosing to let little things stress us out, we start creating our own annoying little world.

For more on the link between expectation and perception see:

Shawn Achor’s “Tetris Effect”
An example of the “Invisible Gorilla”
The effect of gratitude journals

We need to be able to smile at these insignificant things as a part of the development process — or better yet, a part of being human. Focus on what truly matters. Giggle at the rest. You’re smart enough to know where to draw the lines and on which side of the lines to paint some color. And bring on the Crayola’s.

So here’s the challenge:

Your homefun is to find one moment this week in which you choose to find more joy and humor — in your students, in your own actions, and in the little things that normally annoy you. Post your funny experience(s) to the comment feed and share some joy. It’s April Sours and we could all use a laugh.

Let’s make a vow not to be fun-suckers and kill-joys and pedantic dictators. The moment we stop loving teaching is the moment our students stop loving learning with us. Choose to stay in love. Choose to have fun.

67 responses to “Dear Kill-Joy, Take a Breather.”

  1. I have a funny story to chase the “April Sours” away! One of the best parts of teaching 4th grade in California is getting to teach California history. We just finished the “Westward Expansion” chapter which mentions the tragic story of the Donner party. We discuss the difficult life of these pioneers in detail, but I never say anything about the cannibalism that occurred. After a class discussion about how the Donner group had absolutely NOTHING to eat, one of my little girls raised her hand and remarked, “Well, it may be gross, but they could have eaten the dead bodies. That’s what I would have done.” The class could not understand why I was overcome with laughter.

    The really great aspect of this incident is that the little girl who made the funny comment is a student who can really work my last nerve. This just reminds me to let the little things go and to focus on what really matters.

    Thank you for such a wonderful post!

  2. I hope/ wish my 8th grade teacher sees this… I’m in college now but I still remember her quite well. She was definitely not fit to teach obnoxious middle schoolers..

    • I am an 8th grade teacher and I completely understand it takes a certain personality to teach middle school students. I laugh daily at things that come out of my students’ mouth.

      • I too am a grade 8 teacher and I can’t think of one day where I didn’t laugh – at them, at me, all together…. they are the weirdest, funniest, most ridiculous group of humans to spend time with (other than maybe grade 7s) and I love it! The moment I “don’t get it”, I’m outta here – they deserve to be surrounded with love, laughter and high expectations while they travel the road of adolescence.

      • Chase! First my slightly funny story. One of my funniest kids comes in to eat her lunch and chat. She says – Oh, Mrs. Stein – do you know that Mary Smith is awful for every other teacher – you are the only teacher she is good for. (Mary Smith is a HANDFUL – so this interests me.) I say, really? OH YEAH, she is bad to xyz and abc. Well we all are bad to abc. Well – pretty much we are bad to everyone. I said, I find this hard to believe. She gets this BIG smile on her face – We TORTURE our teachers – but not you. We like you. I just started laughing and said – well, you tell everyone I said, thank you. (They KNOW they are doing it! And they think it is funny. )

        Second – I read – “What kids need to hear” – to my most challenging class. I hadn’t planned to – but they just couldn’t allow me to start teaching. It was Friday and it was junior dinner and they were just not having it. Please don’t make us learn today Mrs. Stein. And all the reasons that I should just let them slide. I finally said – Well guys – I need to tell you something. I didn’t write this, but I wish I had. (I told them that I disagree ONLY with the idea that High School may not be the toughest time in life. It could be. They are expected to be good at every subject and play a sport and navigate their first love – or desperately want a first love, etc, etc. BUT all the rest of the essay I agreed with. )

        They were completely silent. When I finished – we had an excellent lesson and they all wished me a good weekend. This class has kids who leave for half day trade school, it has ELL, Special Ed and kids dealing with drug issues and truancy. It is quite a mix. One of them recently told me that I am the only teacher who still “writes her up.” So I said to my students, you know, Linda told me I am the teacher still writing her up. You know why I do? They said – because you care. Yes. I am not giving up on her or any of them, ever.

  3. Two students in my first class of the day love to try to derail the lesson by interjecting with questions that are really only tangentially related. They’re clever, funny, and smart 9th grade boys, and I could talk to them all day about anything they want, however… we do actually have to learn the material! Sometimes I just sit in front of them with my face in my hands. They do know exasperation when they see it.

    I was just telling them the other day how much I enjoy spending my working day in the company of teenagers. Adults are fine and all, but there is such freedom in talking to teens. They love for you to just tell them the truth. When do we stop wanting that?

  4. Chase – I often see so much humor in my students – and we have a great time together. I have amazing kids – 90% of whom live in poverty. Many have told me they no longer “hate math” because our class is fun. However, at this point in the year, the failing kids, the cases of truancy going to CPS, the cut lines down the arms of one my juniors, and the child who needed to speak to me on Monday because she couldn’t “get to her homework” because of the restraining order against her mom – I don’t know. It feels like a rough time in the High School and we have a long, long time with no break right into June testing. I will look for more humor and laughs to share – or I will be laying awake at night stressing about my students too – as in your other post which I plan to share with all of my kids. (I wish there was a way to only share it with the 25% who really need to hear it….)

    • Hsteacher, my heart goes out to you. I see the lives of many of my students mirrored in yours. I actually did only share this initially with a handful of students. I pulled them aside after class for a heart-to-heart. Is there a way you could make that happen?

  5. I’ll never forget when I walked into a classroom of all 13 year-old boys and smelled. . .well, you know. Thanks for capturing the horrors (and joys) of teaching! 😉

  6. Thank you for this post! It is truly inspirational, a great message for all. As teachers we sometimes forget how important it is not to take things too seriously and to always fun. If you enjoy what you do, students will enjoy learning with you! Humorous moment coming soon 🙂

  7. I strive to be the happiest person in my classroom every day. Some days (i.e. yearbook deadline days), are not the easiest, but you’re right: how we act affects our kids’ learning. I completed the #100happydays challenge on instagram, which even inspired some of my students to do the same. Promoting happiness, even on bad days, is just as important as curricula.

  8. Enjoying the beautiful creatures they are! After 23 years of teaching I have never worked a day in my life because teaching is so fun! We laugh in my class…. often!

    The story:

    The test is over and everyone is sitting quietly while the rest of the class is finishing and I hear a very faint thumping sound. As I scan the room to see where this noise is coming from I view a student with his face covered by his hand, fingers spread out from forehead to temples and he is pulling his middle finger out as far as he can with his opposite hand and letting it slap back to his forehead! It didn’t seem to be bothering the other test takers and he seemed to be enjoying it so I giggled under my breath and observed this odd behavior for about 2 minutes…. another day at high school!

  9. A colleague recently told me this story. As Easter approached she asked her group of third graders if anyone knew what “resurrection” meant. One lovely little girl raised her hand and said, “I’m not sure exactly, but I saw an ad on TV and if it lasts more than 4 hours you’re supposed to go to the doctor.” I have no idea how she continued the lesson!

  10. I passed the link to this article on to my son-in-law. He teaches in an elementary school and I thought he would appreciate some encouragement at this point in the school year and the acknowledgement that being a teacher is not easy. I commend you all.

  11. I had an 8th grader today who heard their parents talking over dinner about “government puppets.” I’ve told them before that since I’m a teacher, I do work for the government on some level–so today he came to class and asked if I was “one of the government’s puppies.” =)

  12. When I asked my daughter (8 yrs old at the time) why she chose Mrs. P as her favorite teacher so far, she thought for a moment and then said, “She’s always laughing with us.” This is the best answer I could imagine. There was clear joy in the classroom. I teach in high school and the laughs might not come as easy, but I strive to keep it as goofy as possible. We’ve had a pet banana in the classroom for the past 2 years. It’s a blackened, shriveled ghost of a banana handing from Christmas lights in the corner of the room. It’s silly. It doesn’t make any sense. And it makes us smile. When we laugh, we’re all on the same side.

  13. I’d tell one of the chronic nose pickers that one of the joys of adulthood is being able to pick your nose in the privacy of your own car. You can even eat your booty.

  14. Whenever I find my students silly, I remind myself of how silly I was at their age… and it stops any impatience on my part right in its tracks! Better yet, I “play silly” with them. It relaxes the atmosphere, and soon we are ready to tackle something challenging… with a smile.

  15. My April joy came during a discussion about the diverse traditions different cultures have. One of my juniors remarked, “embalming the dead is like human taxidermy”!

  16. Hi Chase, Great post. How do you handle the expected common annoyances such as students not coming to class prepared with anything to write with. Every year it’s the same of course because we get a new group of students. Some students end up walking around the room asking others for a pencil or sitting back down without and ready to sit there doing nothing until someone bails them out (this process is kind of distracting). After a time of the same students refusing to be responsible – I can’t help but become annoyed. And like you said, it’s stupid to be annoyed at something so trivial. I’d like a solution that keeps the responsibility on them, but is stress free for me. Any ideas or advice for this example ?

    • I have a clear consequence: they get a tardy for lack of preparation, which adds up to detentions based on our school policy. So, if a student comes in unprepared, I remind them of the policy, the leave a shoe (or something else valuable) at my desk, and take a pencil. The valuable is just collateral to get my pencil back 🙂

      It’s not perfect by any means, but it is clearly set in our class foundation so students are aware. The process is quick, I can keep a smile, and there is some incentive to oblige. Does it work every time? Nope. I still have consistent offenders, but I try not to let it bother me too much.

      • This is also my struggle. Students come in entirely empty handed. They don’t want to work, or be responsible in any way, shape, or form. 7th grade 74% low income. My admin asked me if sending them to the office was really solving the problem. 4 tardies = referral. No, it does not change the behavior. Motivating strategies is what I need. I am going to read to them What Students need to hear. Any other ideas? I am really having a hard time smiling this year, my 12th year of teaching.

    • I will encourage them to get help from a peer, but I also encourage the peer to charge “Sherpa Fees” that usually prompts a bit of vocabulary learning. I also lend them a writing utensil, but they have to give up a shoe to get it. I get the pencil back, you get your shoe back. Since they are teens who would rather pluck out and eye than to be publicly censured for foot odor, they don’t often forget again. Plus, we get to discuss their sock fashion choices.

    • I lend them a pencil, but hold their shoe for ransom, until the end of class. When I get my pencil back, they get their shoe back.

    • I bought a big box of bic stick pens. When my students ask me if I have a pen, I respond, “Do you have a quarter?” They can buy the pen for 25 cents or give me the quarter as collateral and trade back at the end of the period. This maintains the sense of accountability but reduces the distraction — once the get used to it, it can be done in a matter of seconds during their warmup/bellwork. (I accept other forms of collateral such as cell phones, but only things that are valuable to them.) The quarters more than make up for the cost of the box of pens, and the extra money can buy boxes of tissues for the classroom.

      • I sell supplies at cost, too. Yet, I still have many who simply won’t put forth an ounce of effort. I refuse to give up on them. I used to take a shoe, but some of their clothes are so revealing of their economic status, I stopped this borrowing process. All I really want is for each student to come to class prepared to work. You know, book, pencil, notebook.

  17. I taught high school for 21 years and I was always saying, they’re kids, not adults. Of course they act childish!

    As teachers, it’s our job to guide these children. It takes lots of training.

    I was fortunate in that I had the same students basically for three years. You can do a lot of training in three years, and when they got to be seniors, the other teachers in the school would tell me how fortunate I was to get the best kids in the school. Uh, no, I just trained them to be the best kids in the school!

  18. I teach 4 year olds. Today was hell, I needed this. Sometimes it’s so easy to get lost in the “She doesn’t want to be my friend!” and the “he hit/kicked/pushed/punched/bumped into me!” and to forget why I love this job. Some days are full of laughter and good little boys and girls, and then there are days when pod children attack and I’m left with a room full of demons. It’s on the latter days when I find myself wanting to throw in the towel and run far way from the school building. Then one of the demons remembers how to write his name, or one of the demons gets excited because my toes are painted pink and she LOVES pink, and the demons don’t seem quite as demony. It’s the small things… the “look I can zip my jacket!” or “I drew you this!” and even if it’s nothing more then scribbles on torn scrap paper, it gets added to the wall and later my scrap book to remind me on my hell days that it’s more than just showing up.

  19. You are an amazing writer. You’re spot-on with observations in the education world as we know it. Can’t thank you enough for putting it into such delicate, yet straight forward, words.

  20. Chase,
    It’s an awesome night. Got my own assignment turned in before deadline, stumbled across Kid President’s “Pep Talk to Teachers and Students” and found your blog. Keep up the good work. I’ll do my best not to be a “Everyone-needs-to-know-what-I’m-thinking-this-very-second” blurter when I see my teaching partner when I get to school in the morning, but no promises. In fact, I’ll just email her a link to your blog right now. Keep up the good work & thanks!

  21. Yay for funny teaching stories! Here’s my favorite story from the last week: Kindergarten sings a song in English and then Chinese. A little boy asks me excitedly “can we sing it in…in…what language do they speak in Oregon?” I say “English,” stifling a giggle, and he says “no, not English. Can we sing it in cursive?”

  22. Wow dude, you totally get it. I’ve been teaching 18 years and on the days when I show my happy, the class is “cooking,” as I like to call it. We all have to laugh w our students and find the joy each and every day. Someone else mentioned finding that one thing in a very craptastic day (because let’s face it, we do have them)…and finding that one thing can give you something to smile about. Keep up the great teaching & the great writing. I’m a new follower. 🙂

  23. This was last year, but will probably go down as one of my favorite teaching stories of all time. The school I work in has these windows that open out instead of up and down and in order to push them open, you open this 8x8in. square in the screen and push the window open. One day, I’m up at the board trying to present some lesson and I look over to see that one of my HIGH SCHOOL students has somehow become distracted by wondering if he could fit his head through the square in the screen. He could, by the way… but he couldn’t get it back out. So, while I’m thinking solving algebraic inequalities are so important, I now have a 15 year old with his head stuck out the window. Then, of course, every other 15 year old whips out their cellphone to take pictures. It took a few minutes, but we did get his head out and while I lost the focus of the class for quite some time, I eventually got them to refocus by measuring his head and the window and having them try to figure out how big the window square would need to be to safely pass through.

  24. HOLY MACARONI you have basically hit the nail on the head because I have had all of these EXACT thoughts going through my mind during my last practicum! It’s funny how the little things add up, from the kid who is playing with his broken pencil and doesn’t realize to get a new one or the other student who is playing around in his desk and becomes mesmerized by their eraser or random piece of paper. As a new educator, graduating this year, at times you become overwhelmed by all of these little things “observations” and you wonder why can’t these kids get it together?! Why can’t they just give me their attention and do the tasks in which I assign them? The answer is because they are kids. Yes we are here to educate them, but they are also at an age where exploration and curiosity is heightened and it is our responsibility to rather enhance that rather than discourage it with curriculum. My partner teacher wisely told me that the curriculum should never take priority over the needs of the child. Whenever we are teaching, you should see the child and not the lesson plan because you are there for them as an individual and they are waiting for you to make a connection with them.
    Love your blog, will be reading it for further inspiration or when I need a break from my little lovely stinkers 🙂

  25. I have known plenty of tenured graduate level professors who have developed exactly the same attitudinal problems regarding exactly the same behaviors and characteristics among their masters’ and even doctoral students! Nobody can squirrel-chase, melt down, or yes, nose-pick more determinedly and skillfully than an undergraduate collegian or grad student!!

    It’s not least among the reasons I self-selected *out* of upper academia after teaching for nearly two decades, the fear that besides not being ‘born to teach’ I was in grave danger of becoming one of the ugly curmudgeon teachers I found so mortifying around me. Had I had intelligent input like yours at the time I am sure I’d’ve had a better chance of survival, and my students a far better chance of learning what I was trying to teach them. But I’m glad you’re in the trenches and offering this guidance now; surely others will succeed in ways I only dreamed of doing, thanks to better pedagogical and sociological input from the likable likes of you. Well done. I look forward to learning more from you, never mind that I’m not in the classroom myself anymore.

    Thanks, and cheers!

  26. Me to Kindergartener: Oops hey you forgot that part – go back down and stick your lunchbox under your chair
    Kindergartener: (before I can even breathe…two steps forward and leaps off the stage instead of going down the stairs)
    Me to self: What is this…rookie mistake day?
    Me to Kindergartener: Next time take the stairs ok? I know you like sirens and flashing lights but we try to avoid ambulances at school.
    Kindergartener: (grins and nods)

    smh…just shows what Friday afternoons look like to a teacher

  27. As an elementary band teacher, I teach 10, 11, 12 and sometimes 13 year-olds. The month before school ends is painful and long. The kids start to resemble their upcoming grade-level and it’s hard to manage this change in my sweet kiddos.

    A couple days ago I was having the class do playing tests in order to advance in our “band karate.” My two drummers are in the corner of the room having a “light saber” battle with their drum sticks. They kept waiting to get in trouble. I let it go. They were playing nice, weren’t hurting anyone, weren’t really disturbing anyone and they were amusing to watch. They even added in sound effects and dialogue between Luke and Darth Vader. Love 5th graders!

  28. After 40 years of teaching & administering educational settings, I retired but decided I wanted to substitute teach – missed exactly what is being discussed here – I had broken my arm & had this amazing blue cast on my arm – I was is a high school teaching government. We were starting class & this huge young man I had taught before in another class asked what had happened – the kids were so sympathetic & then they all asked to sign my cast – they were like little kids – I gave them a space on the top of my hand & told them other classes might want to sign it…the rest is history – I sub in 5 different high schools, & by the time 6 weeks had hone by, my cast was covered in well-wishes from these precious kids. You have to see the loving nature of kids

  29. “exasperated, curmudgeonly comments here”
    I am simply roflmao now! Thanks!

    I realize that you probably intended your audience to be teachers, as in-in the classroom, however, this applies to me. Parent of adhd/aspie person, online public school caregiver for all of those non-generalized skills, the refusal to contact teachers because he ‘knows’ what they meant(shaking my head nooooo you so do NOT), really tired person. I used to marvel that any other parents complained about how hard this thing was. Now, it all looks so easy for others and pitty pot me. I’ve been teacher therapist 24/7 with no respite for uhmmmm four years now. Perhaps this curmudgey fudgey is NORMAL!! I will attempt-again, to rise up from my own burnt up ashes due to the energy of your post.

  30. Agree wholeheartedly with this post! Love your perspective on all things education. I am a seventh grade teacher and I laugh everyday!!! I LOVE my kids and my school.
    Here’s what made me LOL last night…
    Dear Ms. Moffat,

    For the blog, it’s due before I go to bed. What if I don’t go to bed until Sunday, can I turn it in then?

    Thank you,

    A little context…we have started the 20% Project and I asked them to blog each Friday before their bed time and I would check over the weekend. Gotta keep them accountable and I want their parents to be able to follow their progress. 🙂

    My response… He had to email me every hour on the hour until bedtime on Sunday! 😉

  31. I read your post and was inspired to make Friday into “Funday Friday.” We told jokes in between subjects, skipped to classes, answered questions in British accents, and had a dance break before a quiz. Everyone had a blast and we still learned what was needed. Thanks for the post!

  32. I like the idea of not taking mistakes too seriously And I think it is good to instill some humor into every lesson.

    Creating a relaxed atmosphere can go a long way to improve learning, but I would advise newer teachers to be very cautious when setting an informal tone. The more students see you as a friend, the more easily they will be able to talk you out of teaching your lessons.

    “It is such a nice day out Mr. Smith! Can’t we go outside? Please!”

    This is the Puss In Boots routine. “I don’t want to face my fears. Let’s go outside!” (Cue Sad Puss In Boots Face)

    It IS hard to resist the Puss in Boots look, but a good teacher has to develop a resistance to it otherwise the students become the ones controlling the environment.

    You may THINK that the students are listening to your lectures on the grassy mount, but chances are they feeling the sun on their face, whistling blades of grass, or staring longingly at the object of their affection.

    I was guilty of this myself when I first started out. Caving to the motto “Carpe Diem!”

    You have to find a happy balance of humor and discipline and that is NOT an easy task, nor do I think it is a task that is ever truly mastered.

    Bottom line…you are there to ensure that they have the skills necessary to run a dangerous and unpredictable world when they become adults. And that danger can sneak up very quickly on youths that are not trained to see it coming.

    Teach humor?…yes. Teach laughter?…OK. But teach alertness and persistence above all else.

  33. Loved this post. I shared with several of my coworkers and we all agreed. Considering it is a Monday, I am not surprised by the funnies that happened in 8th grade math today. My students are allowed to re-take tests as long as it is on their time and they have shown me the work they have completed to prove they are prepared for a re-take. I had several students asking for seminar passes to come see me to re-test. One of my students raised his hand and asked for a seminar pass to come see me which would be normal except he forgot he was already in my seminar. Second incident of the day, a student attempted to cross multiply to solve a proportion (we do not use cross multiplying in my class unless they can explain why it works). I told him he could not do that unless he explained why it worked. His response “it works because my 7th grade math teacher told me to do it.” Conversation to be continued tomorrow with the whole class to explain the mathematical reason behind cross multiplying.

  34. OH. MY. GOSH. You are spot on with how hilarious teenagers are. When I was teaching The Crucible by Arthur Miller we had a discussion about the signs of being a witch. One of those signs was having a third teat like Chandler on the Friends tv show. One of my students raised his hand and said he thought he may be a witch. He stood up and said, “I, too, have a third teat,” and then lifted his shirt up to show the class. Then the bell rang. Saved by it once again!

  35. Learning a new song recently, one of my altos pointed out that some singers were putting an “s” on the word “dream,” which was singular in the lyrics. I nodded and said, “Yes, everyone, it’s dream, not dreams-with-an-s.” The alto looked at her classmates and said, “You only get ONE dream, okay? Just one. That’s it.” It took us a few minutes to get back to singing, but you know, every time we do that part of the song, no one adds an “s” to the word!

  36. Thank you so much for this!! =D
    Really wish more people could understand this – not only in the teaching word!

  37. I shared a video segment about a local student, a gifted musician who is having some unexpected immigration issues, and who needs $ for college admission fees. I shared the story to inspire my students to find their gift and to move past their obstacles. A first grade class yesterday told me they would all bring me all their money tomorrow so he could go to college! The sad part is, it didn’t even dawn on me that they would want to do that. I got very choked up, of course, and now I have to send home a note to parents so they understand why their children want to bring all their money to their music teacher!

  38. Monday is “C” for Career Day in the 26-day alphabetic countdown to the last day of school. I asked one little girl what she wanted to be when she grew up and she said, “A wild rumpus planner.” She then said, in her best Max voice, “Let the wild rumpus begin!” (a slight misquote, but impressive for a kindergartener! I love my job!

  39. I teach freshmen English — always a good time — and one day as I looked out over my class, I saw a kid in the back row with sucking on a lemon through a straw. He wasn’t making any kind of fuss or noise, he was completely engaged in the conversation and raising his hand…the only weird thing was the lemon. I never got an explanation, but it makes me laugh to this day. You do you, kid.

  40. Just read your post and even though it is months later I need to share a recent story. I am a science specialist at an elementary school. I was working with a 2nd grade class learning about light energy. We had a little “No Light, No Sight” (jazz hand) dance, a “light travels in a straight path” action and students bouncing to define the word reflection. I told them we were going to quickly perform when their classroom teacher came. As the students were lining up I told them it was “game time”. Spontaneously, a student covered his heart and began singing the National Anthem. The rest of us joined and turned toward the flag! Still makes me laugh…

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