Wednesday, March 16, 2011


If you've never been in a room with 30+ seventh graders, then you won't fully get my meaning when I use the term "squirrelly". It's not so much that they can't sit still, which they can't, but how they can't sit still. It's how five of them have to sharpen their pencils at the same time. Or how a simple worksheet takes them a full class period to complete.

It was a difficult day.

It was an easy enough assignment. They were to label the parts of a plant, write the function of each part, and color the page. All they had to label were the leaves, stem, and roots. And yet, somehow I found students who were still working on this at the end of the period. (There was a second worksheet for them after they finished the first.)

I think the main problem was that they were playing around.

So, I was doing battle. It was the usual: stern reminders to get to work, questions about what they thought they were doing, chasing down students who kept getting out of their seats, and helping the two students who needed assistance with understanding the assignment. I was in constant motion all day.

I noticed the girl after it happened. She had drawn bars under her eyes--the kind of bars that one sees on football players, except these bars were white, not black. I would have been more upset at missing this happening, but see above. At that point, all I could do was wonder what she was thinking.

What she wanted then was to get these bars off of her face. They wouldn't come off. I relented and asked the question. Turns out that she had used Wite-Out, and now she couldn't get it to come off. Wet paper towels were used. I assume some scrubbing was involved.

If I hadn't been so frazzled, I might have worried about laughing out loud. As it was, I barely had time to register this before moving on to the next catastrophe (from their perspective).

I have no idea if she did get those bars off her face. I kind of hope she didn't. Now, there's a lesson for you.


  1. Both of my parents are school teachers. My dad's taught middle school shop and remedial math for almost 25 years...yeah, you guys don't get paid enough.

  2. I remember when I was in kindergarten, my teacher said, "write your name in blue". I thought she said, "Write your name in glue". I made a mess. I definitely sympathize with the white-out thing.

  3. I'm sorry you had a hard day. I have 2-3 7th-grade classes a day, so I totally understand squirrely and impulsive. As a daily sub, those are some of the most difficult classes to teach. That, and kindergarten.

    White Out - serves her right it won't come off!

  4. My son is in 8th grade, but this still applies. Kudos to you for teaching 7th graders. I couldn't do it. They'd be carting me out of the place in a straight jacket :)


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