Pop culture

On sugar requirements

“Miss! Can we have candy?”
“If you explain what you did to earn it.”
“No, not today. Today, we watch a movie.”
“Like, ten minutes of one…”
“Yes, but we need candy because Americans eat candy when they see movies, and we’re learning to be American.”

Fair enough. I gave them candy.


On anticipating plot twists

<As I set up The Outsiders to in the computer so we can watch what we just read, the students chatted with me.>
“What this movie, Miss? Is for children?”

“Noooo…it’s the book we’re reading, remember? What happened in chapter 1 so far?”
“Oh, he got beat up.”
“Is not for kids.”
“No, not really. It’s PG-13. That’s why I had to send that note? To your parents?”
“Miss- ¿hay alguna parte sexy?”
“Uh….yes? There is? Even though I hate that I understood that question…”
“Ayyy siiiii, Miss. Okay. We watch.”

They’re going to be so disappointed when they realize I was referring to Rob Lowe getting out of the shower…

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.>
“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 Dr. Seuss consequences.

<I had my students practice STAAR strategies with picture books last week and this was overheard.>
“Aw, MAN, he straight up RATTED on that star-bellied-thingy. I’d cut him.”
“Oh, and look, they’re going to end up friends. Because this is a book for kids.”
“What can I say, man? Sneetches get beaches.”


On amusement at my accessories.

After a few minutes of my students’ giggling for no apparent reason at the very beginning of class, I finally broke down and asked.

“Okay, guys. What’s the deal? Like, I know you’re laughing at me, but why?”
“OOOOOH Miss VanSickle.”
<Louder laughter from everyone.>
“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO we won’t tell you.”
“Why not?”
“Because you’re not SLOW, so eventually you’ll realize what we KNOW..”
<Just assume the hysterical laughter is a constant.>
“Why are you rhyming?”
“You have to guess, we won’t tell you just because you say SO.”
“Is it something with the way I talk?”
“That’s beLOW us.”
“How I’m dressed?”
“You’re getting warmer, GOOOO onnnn..”
<I glance down.> “I thought I looked normal today? I’m wearing boot toppers and a nice bracelet and- oh.”
“I hate you guys so much.”


It took like 5 minutes to get them back on track. Apparently, they all talked about it and made the plan to emphasize the “OH” sounds all class while I was greeting students at the door, but couldn’t keep it together.

On my musical preferences. Again.

<Former student calls me to the door, where two more are with him, to ask a very important question.>
“Miss, were you listening to Shots by LMFAO this morning?”
“Immunizations are a very important part of leading a healthy, successful life as an American citizen.”
“Miss, really.”
“You know that’s not what the song’s about.”
<Looking at my favorite of the three.> “Sure it is. D—- knows that, don’t you?”
“Yep. All about vaccines.”
“Oh come on, it lists off shot names.”
“Yeah, so you know which ones to get.”
<sings, in rhythm>”Flu! Chicken pox! Measles! Malaria!”
“Malaria isn’t actually a shot, though…”
“Miss, come on, I’m trying to help you out here.”

On R&J reactions

<After reading and acting out Act III, scene i of Romeo and Juliet, we’re watching the clip of the fight scene from the 1996 film with Leonardo DiCaprio to compare.>

“Heeeeey Romeo, you cute!”
“Guys, come on, focus.”
“How a thirteen year-old get him?”
<A few minutes later, Romeo starts getting the crap beaten out of him.>
“Noooooo, not the cute one!”
“Miss, they’re messing up his face!”

On accurate descriptions

<Students are trying to select words that best describe a character in a book, based on a passage that reveals her racist tendencies.>

“Miss, the best answer isn’t up there.”
“What does it need to say, then?”
“Helen’s going to build a wall between the mansion and the apartment above the garage.”

On tech math

<First, I have to point out that this was a beginning English learner, which makes the joke more impressive – but it’s still a corny teacher joke, anyway.>

“Miss, I have iPhone eleven.”
“That’s not a real thing.”
“Yes, look!” <Pulls out two phones.> “6 plus five!”