Some classroom snapshots that demonstrate why I love and hate teaching middle schoolers, who I refer to with equal parts affection and exasperation as goofbuckets:
Goofbucket #1: If I have a red-headed baby can I just throw it out the window? [Having temporarily forgotten that he sits next to a blatantly ginger (sweet sweet sweet) girl.]
Ginger-Haired-Shoulder-Partner Goofbucket: [Shoots him with an eat-poo-and-die look that I thought she was incapable of making.]
Me: There’s a word for that: defenestrate. And no. And I’m pretty sure you just hurt Ginger-Haired-Shoulder-Partner Goofbucket’s feelings.
Goofbucket #2: Hand sanitizer low-key tastes good.
*****In my school district, students have to wear uniforms. And. It’s. A. Battle. Every. Single. Day. To. Get. Middle. Schoolers. To. Follow. The. Policy. (Do I agree with public school uniform policy? No. But I enforce it because it’s part of my job.)
We always have a few who try to get away with not wearing uniform shirts by just wearing a school-approved sweatshirt or hoodie instead with whatever t-shirt underneath.
Well, a couple of weeks ago, one of my students rolled into first block wearing a black hoodie, which they’re not allowed to wear. *****
Me: [Stopping him at the door.] Hey, you know you can’t wear black hoodies in the classroom. I’m just going to need you to take it off.
Goofbucket #3: I can’t.
Me: Why not?
Goofbucket #3: I don’t have a shirt on.
Me: [Startled.] You don’t have on any shirt underneath your hoodie????
Goofbucket #3: No, ma’am.
Me: [Aghast.] Who wears a hoodie without wearing ANY shirt underneath it?????
Goofbucket #3: [Hangs head in shame.]
Me: Go downstairs and get a shirt from ISSP.
[Goofbucket #3 comes back 15 minutes later wearing a very wrinkly school-approved anorak that’s a tad too small. His midriff is visible when he raises his arms slightly.]
Me: What are you wearing????
Goofbucket #3: Coach was out of uniform shirts so he sent me to the locker room to find something to wear. All I could find was this jacket.
Me: So you just took some random jacket????
[Both of us hang our heads in defeat.]
(Sidebar: A few years ago, a similar situation transpired, but it was with a girl, and she couldn’t take her sweatshirt off because she wasn’t wearing a bra. Like, I get you girl, #freethetatas all the way, and whew, you’re brave, but you can’t do that here!!!)
*****I’m not quite sure how we arrived at this conversation, but this transpired during my advisory.*****
Me: Teaching is like performing, and y’all are my audience.
Confused Goofbucket: We’re your audience?
Me: Yeah, and if this were back in Shakespeare’s day and I were performing on stage at the Globe Theater and the audience didn’t like my performance, what would the audience have thrown at me? You should be far enough into your Shakespeare WebQuest to answer that.
Goofbucket #5: BEER!!!!!!!
[The whole room gets silent.]
Me: [Deadpans.] Wrong answer. Also, you better believe that I’m telling your mother you said that.
Goofbucket #5: [Cowers in fear.]
Me: [Behind a hardened stare, delights in his fright. Takes a silent curtain call.]
*****In the middle of class, I watched a student, Goofbucket #1 who’ve you already met, drink water through his mask. (I honestly think he forgot he was wearing one.)*****
Me: [Stops going over intro to Romeo and Juliet slides.] Did you just drink water through your mask?
Goofbucket #1: [Puts the water bottle down and closes his eyes because he knows the class will never let him live it down. Starts laughing.] Yes.
Me: When’s the last time you washed your mask????? [Asks because obviously 8th graders are gross and some of them wear the same mask every single day.]
Goofbucket #1: Yesterday.
Me: Thank god. [Finds my own mask getting wet from the laughing-so-hard-I’m-crying tears.]
*****I watched the wet circle on his mask slowly dry the rest of the block.*****