On my fighting signals.

<At a soccer game, a parent from the other side said something incredibly offensive, and I literally jumped out of my seat to my kids’ defense.>

MHS parent: “No mija!” <pats my arm>

<Former student comes clambering down the stands> “Yo, Miss, it’s aiight, it’s aiight.”

“I’m fine, D- but thanks.”

“You for real, huh? You even took yo’ glasses off and everything. Put those back on, Miss.”

“D- come on. I’m wearing contacts.

“For real? I just thought that was the Miss V version of taking your earrings off and I was like, ‘YOOOOOOO, shit’s about to get REAL!’ But I guess you came ready to fight, huh?”


On my love of the “wrong” things.

<I open an email.>
“Ooooooooooh! How sweet!”
“What is it, Miss?”
“Yeah, boy or girl?”
“Oh, no, it’s not a baby, it’s pan dulce.”
<I drag the email over so they can see.>
“You made the noise people make for babies…because you saw a picture of pan dulce.”
“Miss, come on, what’s wrong with you?”
<All at once, in response to the student:>
“Bro, you can’t even be surprised anymore.”
“I don’t know you.”
“You do you, Miss, you do you.
“Thank you for your support.”


Image credit: Eric E. Castro @ https://www.flickr.com/photos/ecastro/5164162429

Why it’s been a minute.

Without giving too much detail that would reveal a little much about who and where I teach, I’d like to offer a bit of an explanation for why I’ve been so silent for the past few months.

First, it was because I was feeling frustrated and negative after some choices about my position at work were taken out of my control. The impending changes to my job were making me resistant to seeing the good that might come (still waiting on that, for the most part).

In addition, our school has been inundated with tragedy for the past few months. Laughing didn’t happen very often, and when it did, it almost felt wrong. The tragedies continue to pile up, but as I told my juniors this week, part of surviving the world we now live in is being able to find the good amongst the bad. Being able to recognize what brings us joy in the midst of sadness.

We all need some positivity in this life, regardless of how happy we are or if everything is following the plan that we’ve laid out for ourselves. And so, I’m going to resume my blog, and hope that it brings me the happiness that I need.

On me saving them.

<Student comes in singing along with headphones.>
“I – was the knight in shining armor to your movie, so put your lips on mine and love the aftertaste. Now – I’m a ghost, I call your name, you look right through me -“
“Wha- Miss. I’m listening to the radio version, not the regular one, there’s nothing bad.”
“Ohhhh, okay. I just didn’t want you to ruin your dating life for the next four years.”
<Thinks, with a confused look for a minute.>
“OHHHHHHHHHHHHHH, MIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIISSSS, what if I HAD sung the original words? No girl would come near me!”
<Immediately gives me a huge bear hug.>


For the record, the next line in the unedited, non-radio-edit is: “You’re the reason I’m alone and masturbate.”

On my voices

<I finish reading an expository passage aloud as the students continue to chart their ideas.>

“Miss V, do you know Tom Brokaw?”
“Uh, no. Why?”
“You sound just like him.”
“Did you, like, take a class to talk like a reporter, Miss?”
“No…but I do have a degree in journalism.”
“That seems like too much just to talk in that voice.”


On truth in teaching.

I have always said that when the kids weren’t enough for me, I would stop teaching. Because every child deserves to have a teacher who loves her job, who wants to come to work and see them every day, and who gives them 110%.

Everyone has bad days. Some people even have bad years. But I also believe that every teacher will reach a crossroads in their career, where there are three paths to choose from:

  1. The path that leaves teaching because her heart isn’t in it anymore and the kids deserve better.
  2. The path that points to a change to get the teacher back on a positive path, in a better environment where her love of teaching and the love she has for her students can continue to grow.
  3. The path that no one should choose, where the teacher becomes resigned and bitter and begins to turn into one of those teachers that no longer loves students.

I’ve never wanted to be the third teacher, and I’ve always expected that one day I would be the first…and that day may be coming sooner rather than later.

I hope not, but the way this year has started…and not improved…let’s just say that I don’t have high hopes.

But for now, I’m just going to hope that my students are going to keep me on the right path this year. By the end of the year, I’ll pick a path, and until then…let’s just see how much they can make me laugh. 🙂

On my recent injury.

So you understand their comments…here’s what I did to myself this weekend. It looks a lot more dramatic in person.
Photo Jun 20, 5 40 29 PM

<Student tries to high-five me, and I pull away just in time.>
“Miss. For real?”
“Sorry, I fell in a hole and hurt my hand.”
<I show him my palm.>
“You fell in a hole.”
“Doing what?”
“Mowing my lawn.”
“Miss – you have like, a room full of Mexican kids who could do that for you.”

<Former student comes by as I run back up to the room to pick up a book.>
“Hey Miss!”
“Hey, do you want a cupcake? I’m leaving them for tomorrow, but if you want…”
<I hold out the tray.>
“Cool, cool, yeah-WHAT THE HELL?”
“I know, they look weird because I melted the icing too much, but-“
“Nah, Miss, nah, I’ma need Benji’s address so I can beat some sense into him.”
“OH! No, no I did this when I fell in a hole. I was mowing my lawn and-“
“Okay, no, then it’s still his fault. What kind of boyfriend lets his clumsy-ass girlfriend mow her own lawn?”
“The fake kind?”
“I hate you.”
<Takes two cupcakes.>

On a hip alternative to our lesson plan.

“Look, guys, I’m really tired and it’s the last period of the day, so let’s just take care of business and gear up for Halloween, okay?”
“Or….we could just watch Netflix.”
“And chill.”
“Guys, I’m not so old that I don’t know what that means.”
“English and chill?”
“You’re making me feel uncomfortable. I know you’re trying to be funny, but you’re making me uncomfortable. We’re going to work.”
“No. Just…no.”
“Miss, maybe HE’S not old enough to know what that means.”
“Nah, I’m just smooth enough to know that English and chill is what smart women want, right Miss?”
“I’m going to pretend like that doesn’t give me all kinds of creeps and just say that we’re going to write our final drafts today. Good with everyone?
<all the girls> “YES.”