Me

On my comparative success.

<This week, one of my best friends is in town. Last week, I was discussing the impending visit with a student of mine when this discussion happened.>
“So, who’s coming to visit?”
“One of my best friends.”
“You got more than one?”
“Yes, the one who’s coming to visit is a doctor in Baltimore, and then my other one lives in New York and works for Rolling Stone.”
<pause>
“Miss, do you just like, feel bad about yourself all the time?”

On rap attention getters.

<Today, we had no internet. Which means the kids who usually zone out on their phones were instead running their mouths like crazy. I decided to make the most of this.>
“Y’all…y’all…baby children…<finally yelling> GUYS!”
<Most students quiet down.>
“Okay, look, fam, this isn’t going to work. I can’t yell all day. So, let’s try a new thing. Y’all know how some elementary teachers have like a thing, where they go, ‘Reeeed Robin’ and all the kids answer ‘Yuuummmmm?’ “
“Miiiiss, nooooooo.”
“Yes, this is where we’re at. But as I was driving to work this morning, I made myself a promise. So let’s see if you can finish our attention getter without me explaining.”
<I clear my throat.>
<Clap.>
“Sit down!”
<Clap clap.>
Half the class: “BE HUMBLLLLEEEEE!”
“Yeah, that’s a thing we’re doing now.”

For adults who don’t listen to Kendrick, see below:

On mixing fiction and reality.

<Students discussing the end of The Rest of Us Just Live Here in class.>
“Who turns down a healing?”
“I kind of get it, but I would take him up on it.”
“That boy- he needs to whip out the warm oils, turn on some smooth jazz, and tell his friends to heat them hands up and get their glowy selves on me.”
“Y’all are gonna kiiiiiill me.”
“Nah, I got Jared on speed dial. You ain’t gon’ die.”

On deciding their futures in the worst way.

“Hey Miss.”
<Student walks up to me in the hall and hands me a note.>
It reads: My dad like the new tree you planted in your front yard and he wants you to email him the name of it. He’s so weird. Don’t tell me, he’s so embarrassing, just email him so he doesn’t like, call you in class.
“That’s not weird, it’s a really cool tree.”
“Miss, just email him. I don’t want to talk about it.”
“DO YOU NOT LIKE MY TREE?”
“See, I TOLD him you were gonna get weird about it!”
“Why aren’t you answering me? My tree isn’t good enough for you?”
“Yes, yes, it’s good enough, what’s it called?”
“A golden rain tree.”
“Why you won’t tell me the truth now?”
“I did – look it up.”
“If I look this up, and it’s not a tree, you have to give me a free 100.”
“Okay, but if you look it up and it IS a tree, and it’s MY tree, then you have to become an arborist so you never make this mistake again.”
“Bet.”
<Looks it up.>
“MAN, MISS! I don’t even know what an arborist is! Do they like, work on arms or boards?”
“Trees.”
“Oh.” <pause> “I’ve got to stop making bets with you…”

On eternity.

“Miss VanSickle, the next time you talk to God, can you tell him to make sure he lets me into heaven?”
“No, because then I have to deal with you for all eternity.”
“I’m’a move in right next door to you! And then I’m gonna take you to visit all the hermit crabs and hamsters I killed on accident.”
“You’ll be like, doing your thing, and then I—- gon’ pop out of the cloud like, ‘Hey Miiiiiiiiissssss.'”
“No.”
“Yes. I’m gonna move in on the other side, so it’ll be like I—-, then you, then me.”
“And you can’t touch us or you’ll get banished and you’ll have to be nice to us forever!”
“Miss VanSickle’s gonna end up in Hell, y’all.”

On seeing me again

<While filling up at Quiktrip, I ran into a former student.>
“Miss VanSickle!”
“Hey, baby, how are you?”
“I’m good Miss, I’m good. I wasn’t sure it was you, y’know?”
“I know, I look different.”
“I know, I was like, ‘Damn, that girl looks like a younger hotter version of Miss V, and then you turned and I saw your tattoo.”
“Thanks?”
“It’s a compliment.”
“If you have to say it…but even if I’m hotter, why do you think I looked older when I taught you? Because the last time I had you, I was like, 24, and now I’m almost 30.”
“I know where you’re going with this, and I don’t like it.”
“It was your fault.”
“See, I said I didn’t like it…”

On coloring

<Today, if my students finished their timed writings, they had the option to color. ALL of my 4A students chose to color.>

“Miss, I see what you mean now. This is the most relaxed I’ve been all week.”
“I know, right? I came in here wanting to punch someone out, and now I don’t even want to a little bit.”
“This is the most valuable thing you’ve taught us all year.”

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On returning compliments.

<Today, I told all my classes that I love them and they’re the reason I come to work. These are two of the responses I got.>

“Aw, thanks, Miss. You’re my favorite English teacher this year.”

“Nice. I’m’a go rate you on Yelp. 10 out of 10. Would recommend.”

On my royalty and outfits.

“Miss V— did your mother not let you pick your own outfits as a kid or something?”
“Not often. And she made me wear those like, footed stockings all the time?”
“That explains it.”
“Always the parents’ fault.”
“What, do you guys not like my outfit today?”
“It’s pink and purple and furry and sparkly and fluffy…”
“That’s why it’s awesome.”
“…right…”
“I like it. You look like a princess, Miss.”
“Thank you, I AM a princess.”
“She looks like a fairy princess.”
“Can you do magic, Miss?”
“Not so much.”
“You could magically change my grade to a 100 for the year, I bet.”
“No, that’s not really something I can do.”
“Can a fairy queen do that? Because, like, we can make that promotion happen.”
“Dude, I don’t know what fairy queens wear, and I’m not sure it’s worth a 100 to find out.”

On why I’m a role model.

<Former student interrupts me talking to another kid.>
“Excuse me-are you wearing Joe Biden and Obama earrings?”
<grinning> “Yes, yes I am.”
“See, this is why I want to be like you. You’re weird and you do ridiculous things and wear stuff that adults aren’t supposed to wear and like stuff that adults are supposed to think is stupid and you’re just like….what? This is me!”
“It’s the only way to go through life.”
<Walks off.>”Goals, Miss. Confidence goals. Person goals. Everything goals.”

And then I had an internal moment of feels.