Wednesday, January 13, 2021

The Weird Kid

The first day back from winter break, I was called to cover middle school choir. Because of course. 

The lesson plan had them looking up traditional/folk songs sung in a different language (hopefully one that they were also familiar with, but not everyone was bilingual). 

That I got lots of questions was not surprising. Middle schoolers always have lots of questions. But add in something that they are totally unfamiliar with, and they were lost. But that's good for me. It meant I had something to do rather than look at a computer screen with all their cameras turned off. 

But that's not what I want to talk about today. 

Every class has one. The weird kid. They're more prominent in middle school classes (as by high school, they learn to hide it better). 

Seth logged in early. His first question was about who I was. I explained that I was just an ordinary, run-of-the-mill, daily substitute teacher. I said it that was because of the way Seth asked about me. He wanted to know if I was their new teacher. 

Immediately I knew he was the weird kid. He sounded younger than middle school age. There was a bit of whine to his voice. And he had lots of questions. 

While I might tell you that he's weird, to him and the rest of the class, I act like nothing is different. Because he may be weird, but that's not a bad thing. 

All period I was fielding questions from the whole class as to whether this song or that song was one they could use. (They wanted to choose "Happy Birthday" but in Spanish.) 

Seth "raised his hand". (In Google Meet and via an extension, the students can indicate that their hands are raised.) I called on him. 

"My hand's not raised," Seth informed me.

Sure enough, the indicator that shows a raised hand was not on.

Another student chimed in. "He does that a lot." 

The indicator beeps when the hand is "raised". It also beeps when the student turns it off. So, when my computer kept beeping, I noted that Seth was raising his hand and putting it down. Repeatedly.

So, I went back to what I was doing. I did not call on Seth again.

"I do have a question," Seth piped in a bit later. "Why do you keep turning your head?" 

What I had been doing was marking the roll on my second computer. (Yes, I have two computers going most days. It's easier that way.) And I do this most days. But no one had ever questioned me on it before. Leave it to the weird kid to notice. 

I told him what I was doing. It wasn't a secret.

Ah, the joys of middle school (virtually). 


  1. I think the question thing is to delay the actual getting to work thing, wasting time. Yep, nothing bad about being different. I like it.

    1. Yes, true. That is a part of it. With me, though, they quickly learn I have no good answers to give, so they might as well get to work ;)

  2. He will be interesting as an adult.

    1. Or he'll be very ordinary. Hard to tell.

    2. So true. But your guidance is crucial. Best wishes on that, my dear.

  3. Hopefully he develops some social skills in high school. Or as you said, he'll learn to hide it.

  4. It's always easy to spot the weird ones in middle school.

  5. He does sound weird. Also like he's trying to deliberately annoy everyone.

  6. The weird kid from Jeckle's primary school years has just been made school captain at his high school (year 10). While in the younger school years his weirdness was just weird, now his classmates embrace his weirdness as being him. It's nice to see.

  7. Oh day he will receive Disability checks. I would have loved to do this since I loved and still do, German folk songs and yes, yodelling.

    1. Maybe. Maybe not. Some of them really do grow out of it.

  8. Hi Liz - kids I guess are strange as they've to establish their way in life ... but as teachers I'm sure you're taught to be aware of these kids ... take care - Hilary


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