Two and a half more weeks and I have survived my first year of teaching junior high Latin! Wow. Fastest year of my life. There were times I thought I wouldn’t make it…either I’d get fired for saying something crazy (try talking nonstop from 8:30-3:30 everyday and not saying something you’ll regret) or I would melt into a puddle of goo from the stress. But I didn’t! woo! summers off! PTL!
Looking back, I have so many good memories, warm fuzzy ones of the cute kids, sweet things parents have said, special days, favorite lessons or stories. But that’s for the scrapbook I’ll never make. What’s far more interesting is my growing collection of “foot in mouth” moments…which I’ll save up for that book I’ll never write.
12. “Well I really wanted to show you guys a cool picture of Dido and Aeneas, but I can’t find anything where she has her clothes on…so I drew this tank top on her!”
13. One of our vocabulary words is “tut,” pronounced “toot,” which, of course, because it is a fart noise, makes every junior higher laugh. When I introduced the vocab, and heard the laughter, it all somehow led into a conversation about how I wasn’t allowed to say “fart” when I was growing up, and my mom made us say things like “fluff” and “foof” and “baby bunny bubbles.” Then we started talking about all the weird things Dads say to cover up farts, like “oops! Just stepped on a duck!” or “did anyone just see that tiny elephant running under my chair?” or the classic “That was a California barking spider.”
14. Today I somehow found myself telling my seventh graders about how I almost got suspended in junior high for writing “I do not like green eggs and ham” in the back of every Spanish book in evil Mr. Levin’s class, but that I talked my way out of the punishment by saying my parents were going through a divorce and I didn’t know how to handle the stress. The divorce part was true, but…what a manipulative little drama queen I was!!!
15. “STOP TALKING OR I WILL THROW THIS BOOK AT YOUR FACE!” <—at least once a week
16. While crying at my desk during one particularly horrifying 8th grade, end of the day, approaching a three-day weekend Latin class from hell, I said to the backs of all their heads I had made put face down on the desk, “I am never coming back to this place if you guys don’t figure out how to be nice to me.”
17. “The reason that the Romans kept the verb “estis” as it is, even though it’s irregular, is that they knew that thousands of years from now, there would be a really hot baseball player named Shawn who would have a similar last name, and he would play for the great team known as the Giants for a time, and Miss Weight would be happy. But then he would leave, but there would still be hot Giants players. And if your family ever wants to give tickets away, remember your Latin teacher.”
18. I once spent an entire class period detailing several particularly horrific outfits I remembered wearing in elementary school and junior high, to explain why they’re so lucky to get to wear uniforms to school instead of being subjected to the public humiliation that comes in yearbook photo form when you get to dress yourself from ages 6-18, according to the fashions of the time.
I drew overalls, platform Rocketdog flip flops, demonstrated the Jansport that you would wear in the front (with white-out all over it), how you had to have like eight thousand keychains, the animal backpack craze, colored jeans, and babydoll tees with obnoxious things written on the front like “What are YOU looking at?” And of course, the revival of the yellow smiley face on everything, and how we were obsessed with pooh bear paraphernalia. At the end of the conversation, I felt like I had betrayed the secrets of my generation.
19. “There will be NO mention of Beiber fever or that Miley Montana character in my classroom! Got it?! ….. except for that “Party in the USA song….it’s amazing!”