Writing is like being able to put life into a snow globe. It takes the things that are too big and scary and reduces them into a form that I can put away when I want and look at from a distance. It also takes all that’s good in life and captures it into something I can take out when I want and look at close up and keep forever. It makes the bad things into something I can hold…and the good things into something I can hold onto. Both help so much that I need that little souvenir of life.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Why There Should Be No Talking in School

With the end of the school year looming ahead of us, here are

Ten True Exchanges I’ve Had in School

  1. Me: Here is your assignment written on the board. Everyone needs to be looking up here and listening. You are to read page 234 and answer questions 1-5. That’s page two-thirty-four and numbers one through five. Any questions?
Student: Um. Do we have an assignment?

  1. Me: And finally, the correct answer to number 30 is 4,208.5 cm. Any questions?
Student: (With hand raised.) Do you like cats?

  1. Me: When I call your name for roll, please raise your hand. Michael?
Michael (raising hand): Excuse me? I have dreams of cheese.
Me: Oh. I see. What kind of cheese?
Michael: Gouda.

  1. Sixth Grade student, after watching a theatre film that mentioned concubines (and feigning an innocent look): What is a concubine?
Me: Sort of like a mistress.
Student: I knew what it was, but I didn’t think you’d tell us.

  1. Me: …And that’s your assignment. Any questions?
Student: (With hand raised.) What’s your favorite color?

  1. (Question I hear at least once per week.)
Student: Did you used to teach grade school?
Me: No.
Student: You look just like a teacher at my old school.
Me: What is her name?
Student: I can’t remember. (They never can. For years I had a double named Sue. Now I have a double in the grade school, but she is apparently unmemorable enough that no one knows who she is.)

  1. High school student: Excuse me? Will you please take a look at this rash on my arm?

  1. Student: You look like that one lady in Mrs. Doubtfire.
Me: Was the lady Mrs. Doubtfire?
Student: No, the mom.
Me: (Thinking) Stop messing with them, you idiot, because one of these days they’re going to say yes and mean it.

  1. Me (looking at a 6th grader’s desk while he was coloring a social studies map): My goodness, that desk looks like an episode of hoarders! Please share the markers.
On-looking student (with a very solemn face): Yes, all he’s missing is a few dead cats, some old newspapers and some dust bunnies.

  1. Me (in gifted 7th grade classroom, calling roll): Ethan?
Ethan: Here. At least that is my perception. I could merely be an existential hallucination of some higher being.
Ethan’s friend: Or some lower being.

Only the educated are free. ~Epictetus


  1. I hope you're writing these down somewhere, Tammy, because they'd make a wonderful collection.

    1. Thanks, Sioux. Do you write your students' comments down? Hope so. They may not keep me young, but they definitely keep me entertained.

  2. I am pleased to hear that somebody else gets called for rash duty. Did you give a diagnosis?

    1. I did. Contact dermatitis. But I stressed that doctors are also helpful in these situations.

  3. Oh what a hoot. I can relate because this week we are having Dad's Night at preschool. A little girl dictated a story, "I call my daddy Shart and he calls me Turd, and we kick each other's butts."

    I figured as long as we were potty mouthing I'd prepare the dad. So at conference last week, I said, "You are going to shit a brick when you read what your daughter said about you."

    1. Linda, you're the one who should write those down. Yours are at the REALLY fun age.

  4. Laughing here, but glad I'm not Ethan's grandmother.

    1. Really? I think the "Ethans" of the world could learn so much from someone like you, Kay!

  5. PS
    Tammy, I forwarded this to my husband, a retired teacher. He'll love it.

    1. I'm flattered, Kay! I bet he has plenty of quotes of his own....

  6. haha....I don't know who I like better, Ethan or his friend. :) These are a riot. My daughter's old college roomie teaches Spanish to middle grade kids up in NY. I'm always amazed by some of the things these kids come up with.

    1. It's funny, but I used to loathe middle school age. Now I sort of like it. I guess it's an acquired taste.

  7. Ah yes, a book in the making! How funny!

  8. Oh my! I agree with Sioux. You need to keep a folder full of these gems!

    Critter Alley

    1. Thanks, Pat! I do write them down, but I don't hear too much only because the older ones have learned to keep their voices down around adults....


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