I think anyone who goes to any job in the world every single morning, day in and day out, knows that if you don't find little ways to entertain yourself or make it more exciting, you may very well go insane. Anyone who teaches middle school for a living is probably certifiably insane anyway, but my job is no exception to this little mantra.
I will stop what I'm doing and have conversations out loud with myself when my students are not paying attention. I will slam a book shut and make them all stand up and walk around the room when they look like they are falling asleep. I will creep over to a corner of my classroom and make odd noises, timing how long it takes them to realize I am not even at the front of the room anymore when they are "off-task."
However---hands down---my favorite form of entertainment is writing comments on their turned-in papers and assignments as I grade them. Recently, as I sifted through a ridiculously massive pile of graded work that I needed to input in my gradebook, I glanced down at some of the comments I'd written to these kids. Some of these papers were so old that I didn't even remember when I graded them or that I had written the comment, but I found myself laughing.
I don't know if these kids actually read the comments I diligently write on everything they turn in, but if they do, I hope they are getting a little laugh as well. Now that I'm conscious of some of the absurd things I am writing in response to their work, I'm making efforts each time I grade for my "constructive criticism" to also be at least a little bit entertaining for them. I figure they could use a little humor in the midst of my not-always-super-positive-or-friendly feedback.
And, as you might have guessed, I made sure to document all of my most off-the-wall handiwork, which I will share with you now......
I give you: Notes from the Margins: Teacher Edition
This student is reading one of the Percy Jackson novels, and inquired as to what a "manticore" was. I couldn't remember, so I responded with this.
Later on in that same assignment, I found out the kid had gone and Googled it, which I had also done. On a related note....Manticores are very creepy looking:
This girl "realized the punctuation was not correct" in the book she was reading. I...was...EXCITED.
Of course I have to question this kid's legitimacy and street cred if he is questioning whether or not zombies are real!! He later came up to me and asked if he had lost any points due to this comment...
My students are obsessed with incorporating my name or personal life into their written responses, example sentences, quiz answers...anything. "Ms. Townes is very gregarious on her good days." I suppose she could've written much, much worse.
And again. "Ms. Townes likes to mediate when there is horseplaying going on." What?! Horseplaying in a middle school classroom? Never.
After informing me he would only be responding to the name "Big Dog Savage" from this assignment on, I decided to indulge the kid's ridiculous request at least once. "Big Dog Savage, Good work. You made a 100. --Ms. Townes"
Okay...I get a lot of weird gibberish turned in to me, but I could not come up with a translation for this one. "Yelp, I saw an extraordinary and omit of disappointment, from the movie the Paranormal Activity 2. I sure know now why they called it choronic because it was deffinitely a waste of my time." Um....wtf? Zero.
I graded and wrote this on 67 quizzes before I realized I might want to come up with a better acronym for deducting points for incorrect "part of speech," or "P.O.S." 1/2 off, piece of.....
The student's thoughts? "It's official Count Olaf is a creeper. He looks and sounds like one. This is a weird book." My comment? Creepers need love too!
What exactly does it mean to "have a stretched butt?" I am at a loss.
Sometimes, I respond to their work as if I have a British accent. At least 2 sentences please, good sir!
This student's Double Entry Journal reads "I hate when that happens because then I always wish I had the Force to bring it over to me. When I do that, my mom or dad walks and then they call me weird." These kids are either epically awesome in their continued Star Wars allusions, or they know how to suck up with the best of 'em. Either way, I am digging it.
The assignment was to write a parody of a well-known children's story, and this student chose Little Red Riding Hood. We are adamantly working on grammar and spelling, however, so that Grandma never gets "raped up with some rope" ever, ever again.
Originally, my comment to this simply read "I lol-ed here. You kill me!" I then went back and added the (metaphorically, with laughter) so as to avoid sticky interpretations of what I had written.
Student: "How did he prove Hitler wrong. Was Hitler a raceist man?"
Teacher: "YES. The Holocaust???.........(head explodes).
Sometimes, I might be a little bit too snarky. "How can a human just magically fly. You can't fly around anything." My response? "In a plane." Of course, this is the same student who asked if Hitler was racist, so.....................................yeah.
And finally, some other random little notes or tidbits picked up here and there on any given schoolday.
"Ms. Townes, life in the world is like a box. That's why I drew you as a mermaid so you can be free."
"Ms. Townes a ass-hole because she talk to much." Self-explanatory?
My affinity for Diet Coke even made it on to the Algebra test!
That's all (for now) folks! I'll leave y'all with an image from the heygirlteacher tumblr (if you haven't been there yet....Go!) that is super appropriate given the content of this blog post:
Why thank you, Ryan Gosling. :)