You may remember the "sociable fellow" from the other day, the one who couldn't recall a single awkward memory. He and another boy had done a particularly good job reading aloud in class--these are two of the three boys I'm usually getting after because they blurt out answers or fall out of chairs or just can't figure out why they are standing up while waving a pencil in the air. I pulled them aside after the bell rang to make sure they knew I had noticed something good about them. "I just wanted to let you two know that you're doing great at showing expression without being over-the-top. Thank you."
The one smiled vaguely, nodded, and walked away. But the sociable fellow beamed. "I know, Ms. C. The people in this class are all over the place, but I behave myself."
Um...not exactly what I was going for. Not wanting to crush his spirits with the truth, I tried to rephrase the compliment: "Well, everyone in this class can be a little crazy at times." (Emphasis on the everyone.) "But today I was really pleased with your reading and the way you put your heart into it."
"Yes, I listen much better than the other kids. Sometimes they are just not paying attention." No wonder it's so hard to think of a time he felt left out! It's hard to be on the outside if you're sociable enough to reinterpret everything you hear. :)
"Leprechaun" returned to class after two days of being sick. He was simultaneously pale and flushed, eyes drooping. He hadn't finished the homework, so I excused him from the room to work on the assignment while the others corrected theirs. "If I don't come back," he groaned, "don't call an ambulance. Call the morgue."
That prompted the others to plead, "Can we act dead before he comes back in the class?"
"Sure," I said, and with that, they drooped into various comatose positions on the floor. That is, until I told Leprechaun he could come back in. He stepped through the door, glanced at the boy sprawled across a desk on his back, and asked, "Why do you look like a cockroach?" It all went downhill from there, 'cause you can't laugh and be dead at the same time.
One of 3 boys in English 9 (3 boys, I should mention, and 13 girls) noticed an upcoming assignment worksheet on the corner of my desk and groaned, "Group work. I do not like working in the group."
"Why not?" I asked.
"I like to do this in Korean. No one in the class speaks Korean. Well, [boy] does, but he is a patriot!"
I'm still trying to figure that one out.
Finally, one of the 8th graders swept into the room today with a dreamy look cast over his face. He was smiling a goofy smile into the air until I asked, "What is happening?"
"I finished my book last night...and everyone got married! It was sooooo cute!" He dropped into his desk. "I just can't stop smiling! I have been smiling all morning." Once the other students had entered, he handed the girl his book and cried, "Read the last page! It's so sweet! Read it out loud!" And we all listened as she read about the marriage ceremony and the final kiss. Meanwhile, the boy was nearly melting out of his clothes, so warm and mushy had he become in the glow of this fictional love.
In the middle of the lesson, I noticed him gazing off again and smiling. "All right, come back to me."
He snapped to attention but grinned the entire rest of the class. "They all got married! I'm just so happy right now. I can't stop smiling."
With kiddos like this, I can't, either.