Diapers and Dragons

Friday, December 18, 2009

It's the Holiday for the Rest of Us

In case you didn't know, I am NOT an elementary teacher. Not by a long shot. I deeply respect elementary teachers for being able to keep their sanity teach a bunch of little snot-nosed buggers kidlets. If I were to teach elementary school, I'd end up in a straight jacket and the children would end up on a therapist's couch. Well, sooner than they would otherwise, at least.

No, I teach high school. And this means that I am not the grateful recipient of two dozen little holiday gifts this time of year from my adoring students. I may have five times as many students, but the vast majority of them view giving gifts to teachers as a form of major sucking-upage. Much to my dismay, far too few of them want to be known as sucking-uppers.

(Yeah, yeah, I know I'm making up words here. My plan is to make it into the Urban Dictionary someday. Bear with me.)

It probably doesn't help that I'm not exactly a warm-fuzzy, maternal, "nice" teacher. I have a reputation for being tough and a little bit of a bitch, a title I claim proudly. I'll meet you halfway and help you out if you need it (the quality of mercy is not entirely strained in me), but by old Willie Shakespeare, I'll make you WORK for your grade!

Case in point: today is the last day before our Winter Break. None of my classes are having holiday parties. They don't get to goof off all hour.

Oh no.

My sophomore and junior classes have not one but TWO quizzes to take today (one vocab, one literature), and my Mythology class has to finish reading their Norse myths packet and show me their notes by the end of the hour.

My gift to them? I'm not giving them any work over the break. AND THEY SHOULD BE GRATEFUL.

So my students aren't exactly falling all over themselves to express their undying love and gratitude to me.*

However, some years I do pretty well around the holidays. This week has been good. Yesterday I received gifts throughout the day from a few students, my department Secret Santa, and one of the young teachers I mentor. For some reason coffee and chocolate have been a consistent theme. Wonder why. Maybe they're under the impression that caffeine and endorphins might inject a little holiday spirit into me and make me grade their papers a little more leniently.

Of course, they might get a little unlucky and end up with some Festivus spirit.

Maybe I should save that batch of persuasive essays for the 23rd and find a red pen to replace my usual purple.

You know, for that special holiday effect.

I'm just awesome that way.

*At least, not right now. I do get students who come back a year, two years, five years later and thank me for being such a hardass. At some point some kids do realize I'm doing them a favor.

7 bits of love:

Kathleen said...

So with you on the elementary school teacher thing. I did it for one year. Almost quit on Day 1.

A Teacher said...

Here I tried to give them a break and show a video, and OHMYGODS I made them answer 10 (I know TEN!) questions on the 42 minutes we watched. Of my 15 students in Essentials, 3 turned it in (one of those was mostly blank) 2 had them torn up for copying in the back row, and the rest just walked out.

I wonder why I bother.

Draft Queen said...

I volunteered an hour a week in my kids' classes in pre-k through 3rd grade. Oh. My. Gawd. No way I could do that every day.

Of course, I can't imagine high school kids are any less of a pain in the ass- just in different ways.

Beth said...

Amen to that. Last year, I taught English in a small primary school here in France for three hours a week. I was completely tired out after each hour and a half long class and wondered how the poor teacher managed to stay there all day long.
Like herding cats, honestly...

Arby said...

I always graded with a green felt pen. I never accepted gifts. After I left the middle school, I don't think anyone wanted to give me any, either. I took that as a signal that I was doing my job.

Brit in Bosnia / Fraught Mummy said...

You remember your hard ass teachers though. They got you shifting. May there be more of you!

Have a good Christmas and a very happy 2010. x

Daria said...

I have never been a teacher. For a while I wanted to be one - but I fear speaking in front of people, and I really didn't think that I would have the patience. I'm one of those people who get frustrated when someone doesn't understand what I'm thinking. lol...

But I definitely remember the teachers who didn't take any of the typical BS. Some of those teachers could be pretty cool with stuff, and relaxed when the time called for it - but business meant business! =) I am hoping that when I eventually have a kidlet s/he has those same types of teachers! Kudos!

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