Category Archives: Ridiculous

Student Size Me: The School Lunch Experiment

Woke up in the late afternoon…

In late November, I had one of those lazy Sundays that sets you up to be very distressed at the beginning of your work week. Not only did I barely plan a lesson for Monday, but I left a laundry list of errands undone in favor of college-esque napping, football, TV, and goofing around.

Aside from leaving my laundry undone and my parking tickets unpaid, I totally forgot to do any grocery shopping. I neglected to pick up the essentials for my morning sandwich creation routine, including deli meats, bread, cheese, and of course, snacky-poos.

As I hungrily realized my mistake during third period, I knew that I didn’t want to spend 11 dollars on the one decent sushi place at the corner. I also knew that our school sits in the middle a neighborhood that is far from any worthwhile food.

All of a sudden, an idea swept over me. Why not go downstairs to the basement cafeteria, (where the children eat ) and order me some school grub? Few teachers have ever thought about this as an option (maybe because they cherish their few minutes away from screaming students, or that they are adults and can buy their own food). But in my heart, I knew I had always wanted to go through with the school lunch experiment.

Because I love getting excited about eating, I thought that consuming five straight school lunch meals and writing down my notes on them would be worthwhile. Maybe they would affirm or dispel some of  people’s assumptions about the free and reduced school lunch program in our city. Let’s see what you think.

Day 1 – Monday – 11/28/11

Breaded chicken patty, whole-wheat bun, pineapple chunks, fried potato wedges, chocolate milk. Other option – slice of pizza.

The breaded chicken patty was very processed, slightly warm, and a little too solid. It was your standard “That’s definitely not really chicken” patty, that you know was frozen in bulk for months before getting heated up. No condiments were offered, and even with added ketchup from the teacher’s room, it was super dry.

The whole-wheat bun was a nice surprise and was the best part of the sandwich. Healthy options were always a positive during this week.

The pineapple chunks were your standard canned sugary serving of vegetable in water.

The big serving of fried potato wedges was very heavy and filling. They were delicious because of their dense, greasy potato insides, yet by far the most unhealthy and tasty part of the meal.

The chocolate milk was wonderful, and the pizza (which most students ate) looked very re-heated and unappetizing. Other students ate school option peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, food from home, or candy and soda substitutes.

Day 2 – Tuesday – 11/29/11

Beef burger with whole wheat bun, pickles, peaches in water, herb sprinkled potato fried and baked, milk.

The burger looked like one of the poorest pieces of meat I’ve ever seen. The lunch lady said that she, “Usually has what the kids like, but today’s menu was not the best”. It was clear the kids were staying away from this mystery meat patty, but I decided I had to experience it.

I placed it on the whole wheat bun, threw some of the many pickles they served with it, and dipped it in the giant dollop of ketchup they added to my styrofoam plate. I was much easier to chew than the over-microwaved chicken patty from Monday, and actually didn’t taste terrible. The pickles and ketchup helped out, but this for sure did not taste, or feel like a healthy burger during and after consumption.

The potato’s today were different, and somewhat of an oddity. After one small burger, I assumed I would be hungry after the meal. I was wrong. After these potatoes, which each had the weight of the entire burger, I was satisfied and full. They were seasoned, which was nice, but what stuck out as odd was their super heaviness They didn’t feel or taste baked. I assumed that they were deep-fried, and then thrown in the oven for a little.

Finally, I had my healthy fruit portion – the pears in water. I was full due to the brick potatoes, and I fought myself in front of my laughing colleagues in order to finish the slimy pears off.

Day 3 – Wednesday – 11/30/11

Pasta with meat sauce, whole wheat bun, fresh salad, pineapple in water, chocolate milk.

The surprise of the week so far, this meal was tasty and healthy all around.

The pasta was delicious and light. It was the first main course of the week that tasted fresh and healthy. The only problem was that I wanted more.

The salad was fresh and the lunch ladies told me that they had just made it minutes before I came down.

The whole-wheat bun, pineapples, and chocolate milk were  all becoming good friends to me by Wednesday.

Day 4 – Thursday – 12/1/11

Oven roasted chicken with duck sauce, crepe with spinach, pepper, feta cheese, fresh salad, chocolate milk.

This was by far the best meal of the week. Wednesday surprised with a nice salad, and Thursday continued the salad and added some really tasty chicken and crepe combo.

Not only was the chicken REAL, hearty, and hot, but it tasted delicious. I’m sure it was in frozen packages hours earlier, but what I ate could have passed as freshly cooked chicken anywhere. It had a sweet duck glaze sauce on it, and by this time in the week, the lunch-ladies were throwing double portions on my Styrofoam plate (score).

I asked where they make crepes, and they told me that they were also frozen. Nevertheless, with the salad option again on the table, I was very much impressed with the cafeteria staff and the lunch in general. Even when I showed some teachers back upstairs, a few of them commented, “That’s from downstairs?!”

Day 5 – Friday 12/2/2011

Fish sticks, on flat bread tortilla, fruit punch, and chocolate milk.

Coming off some stellar meals on Wednesday and Thursday, it seems the students and teachers aren’t the only ones that may run out of gas a little by the end of the week. I mean no offense at all by this, but this meal was pretty weak by any standard. The fish sticks were almost inedible, and I just regretted not ordering the pizza at least once during the week.

I’m was actually a bit scared to post this one because I could see parents or others getting upset. The lunch staff was so kind to me, and it is obvious that the group of five or six of them work extremely hard within the boundaries of their control to offer quality meals (sound similar at all?). I want to give a big Kudos to them all, but this particular Friday the kitchen had run out of fruit options entirely. They apologized and gave me an extra fruit punch to compensate. Nevertheless, this should not be happening in our schools.

To be perfectly honest, now is a good time to say that most students did not eat this fish stick platter. The majority of the students, on most of the days, seemed to order the standard slice of pizza.

The real childhood obesity problem.

Although a few days had lackluster meals (cough-cough gross burger and fish sticks), I was surprised by the ‘better-than-expected’ quality and variety of lunch options throughout the week. I thought that eating the school lunch would be a one time thing for me, but I find myself going down for lunch once a week since my experiment.

You could make the case that most of the meals did in fact have all food groups accounted for, though nutritional experts might be terrified at the sodium and sugar percentages of some of the frozen, processed meats and canned fruits.  In addition, I would strongly suggest that salads be offered as an option every day.

I think that increasing the funding for federal and state school food programs could only benefit the healthiness and variety of options for our students. Imagine if more of those canned fruits or frozen portions could be exchanged for fresh ones?

I came in with an unfounded ‘Supersize Me’-like notion that the cafeteria only offered fried food, and that none of the food was edible at all. I came out thinking that while a few things could most definitely be changed (like not having the pizza option every single day), students who eat the school lunch have much less to complain about than they voice daily. In a follow up to come, I may look at nutritional content and what other urban school districts are doing to combat childhood obesity.

On a final note, students come into school first period every day with handfuls of potato chips, sour-gummy candies, and highly sugary soft drinks in their artificially flavor-stained hands before we make them dump them away. After school, and even at lunch, students pig out on meals entirely consisting of junk food. I know the dangers of making blanket statements about anything, so I won’t. But I can say that during my personal experience with adolescents at my individual school, many of the health issues stem from eating habits learned at home.

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The Winchester Penis Rifle

"This time...He put himself back together again!"

Blood. Guts. Gore. Murder. Mystery. Believe it or not, these are some of the most popular student interests this year in my 8th grade class. After giving out personal interest surveys asking them which TV shows, movies, and books they enjoy, I’ve received an overwhelming response of ‘Paranormal Activity 1-3’, ‘Fright Night’, ‘Scream 4’, and other psycho-killer-make-you-scream titles .

With this wealth of information about what interests my students, this year I’ve been trying to  make my class has fun as possible by using videos and readings that they can get excited about. If I can reel them in and engage them in the material, with the endgame being they READ and WRITE,  I’m fine with showing them a little PG-13 horror content. If you know me, you know very well that I myself have less of a stomach for this kind of stuff, but I guess it can serve as another way for them to poke fun at me.

On Halloween, we did a little research on Edgar Allan Poe and read a nice adaptation of “A Tell-Tale Heart” in kid friendly play form. The following week, I decided to continue the über spooky theme by planning the context of my lessons about ghosts. I showed them the classic Sixth Sense trailer, and followed with an activity where they did a little writing about whether they believed in ghosts and spirits or not. Interestingly enough, 12 out of 12 students in the seminar believed whole-heartedly that spirits and ghosts existed, and many said that they or their close relatives had had close encounters with ghoulish entities (A few related it to their cultural heritage – Caribbean or Mexican for instance).

So the kids are excited, I’m learning more about their lives, and all is well. This leads us to our most eventful lesson about the infamous ‘Winchester Mystery House’. The story of the Winchester Penis Rifle has been the funniest single moment this year, and it’s about how I came dangerously close to a disastrous drawing mistake.

To prep the class on an article about the story of the haunted ‘Winchester Mystery House’, the class watched a few clips from ‘Most Haunted’ and ‘Ghost Hunters’. Apparently all the kids these days love this stuff more than Selena Gomez or even Lil Wayne or Drake. The clips gave a good summary of the story of Sarah Winchester and her famous mystery house. I will recap shortly for those of you who do not know.

IHOM (International House of Mystery)

Sarah Winchester, born in New Haven Connecticut in 1839, was the wife of prominent gun corporation owner William Winchester. After their lone daughter tragically died shortly after birth, and then William of Tuberculosis in 1880, Sarah Winchester was insanely depressed. Aided by ‘mediums’ (psychics who communicate with the dead), she was absolutely certain that she and her family were cursed. Legend has it that a popular medium alleged that  spirits of all the men killed by the Winchester Rifle in the Civil War (so many ghosts!) had put a serious curse on her and her family. They told her to move to California to build a house for them to live, so of course, she did. In the end, the totally crazed Winchester woman moved to San Jose, built a mammoth, labyrinthine mansion full of odd and kooky staircases to nowhere and doors opening into walls. She spent over 20 million dollars of her inheritance and continued to build the house for almost 40 years to keep the spirits at bay until she died at the age of 83.

Ahhhhh, I felt like I needed to tell that story because 1) It’s awesome, and 2) I inadvertently drew the biggest penis-rifle in the history of the teaching profession while explaining the Winchester story.

My drawing looked nothing like this...

During the article, I needed to clarify how this lady was so rich, and why spirits from the Civil War would want to spook her. Off the cusp, as teachers occasionally do, I decided to use our fancy SmartBoard to illustrate the answer to both of these questions: The famous Winchester Rifle.

I started my drawing at what I thought would be the handle, and curved it up too quickly to the right. I extended a looonnnng line straight across the board, over two feet long, and drew another back to the left to signify a barrel of a long gun. Finally, I inexplicably wanted to emphasize the muzzle by boldly outlining the tip of the gun. As I finished my god-awful drawing of the rifle, I knew it immediately. The greatest moment was not my realization of my error, but the stunned and horrified face of my co-teacher sitting behind the students in the back of the room.

As he mouthed “Nooooooo!!!!”, slightly laughing with a face blushing red, I anxiously grabbed the SmartBoard marker to try to fix up the drawing before one of the kids made the connection. Of course, I went for the tip of the “rifle” again and wound of nervously making the bulbous head of the penis-gun more pronounced than before. I knew it wasn’t working so I tried to draw in a trigger near the handle. This didn’t work so well either. You can guess what the trigger ended up looking like. As my attempts to fix the drawing were increasingly backfiring, a few students confusedly yelled out, “What IS that?”, and just as fast as they said it, I snapped back “A Rifle!” With a giant sigh of relief, I erased the drawing by hitting the next slide on the Powerpoint.

7th grade English class 'Holes' cover. Soak it in.

As close of a call my penis-rifle incident was, I think the moral of the story is that phallic symbols can arise at anytime, in any work environment. Being a male teacher at a middle school for girls is one work environment that could be considered the most dangerous one for this particular scenario. I think we should just have each other’s backs, and let naive children do the drawings from now on. —————————>>>>>>>>>>>>>

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Mr. New Booty

Throwback Story – Mr. New Booty

This account takes place some time between March and May of 2010.

Walking toward to the teacher’s room, one of my wonderful co-teachers, Ms. H, asks if I can help her with her malfunctioning projector. She needs the projector to start her lesson and I go in to see what I can do (which obviously consists of just hitting it like a monkey a la Zoolander).

This class is a notorious one at the school, and one that I’m not too familiar with at all. It’s an 8th grade Latin seminar class consisting of a few too many students who think they run the school.

I stroll into the class and Ms. H is struggling with the power cord of the machine in the center of classroom. I don’t really know any of these students, and I squeeze through a few occupied desk-chairs to get to the projector.

A few girls instantly start giggling as I lift my leg to squeeze through one of the narrow rows. As I ask Ms. H when the machine last worked, I overhear a few of the girls blatantly say, through the chatter of a bored class, “Look at his a**!”, and “He’s got a big booty. Bah ha ha!”

At first, I ignored what I heard (as a teacher it’s always a tricky game determining which comments you should address, and which are better to let slide). I then tried to talk to Ms. H a few moments later, and I hear laughter behind me and two girls starting to sing, “Smack that! All on the floor, Smack that!  Give me some more. Smack that! ‘Til you get sore. Smack that.. Oh Oh Oooh”.

Yes, I know, the now classic Akon featuring Eminem song has been sung by many adolescents in the past few years. It’s catchy, and fun, and I’ve definitely sung it. It could have been a sheer coincidence that the song these girls started to sing happened to be  related to comments I’d heard about my rear end moments earlier. So I continued to pretend that this was the case. What else was there to do?

A few minutes later, the semi-quiet group of students began morphing into a more rowdy bunch of teens with nothing to do.

Through the waves of boisterous conversations, a more blatant song could be heard – this time, with more members of the chorus joining in. The lunchroom-esque decibel level gave way to a clear and crisp rendition of:

*Replace with Mr.

“Booty Booty Booty Booty, Rockin’ everywhere! Booty Booty Booty Booty, Rockin’ everywhere.Booty Booty Booty Booty, Rockin’ everywhere. Rockin; Everywhere, Rockin; Everywhere! I’m found you, Mr. New Booty!”…”

The Bubba Sparxx song, cleverly titled “Ms. New Booty”, which tells a wonderful tale of a man’s jubilation after finding the perfect bum he’d been pursuing, was being sung at me. It might surprise you, but this was actually a first in my life.

This song is another modern-day standard, but the teenage girls had changed the Ms. to Mr. and I was the only man in the room!

My first thought was that I’d never been more uncomfortable at school. I looked at Ms. H and wasn’t sure if she was hearing what I had. I really didn’t know how to react to this surprising and very funny act of harassment (either pronounced in the American or British accent).

The fact was that they were singing a song directed at my behind. I looked over at the group as they laughed and continued, but then I just pretended that I couldn’t hear. A few minutes later I just gave up on the projector and left the room not know what to do.

I proceeded to tell everyone I knew about the story, and how I awkward of a situation it was for me. I even think that it got around to the administration, and this event let people know to keep an eye out for this kind of behavior (imagine if these were dude-students talking about a female teacher).

It all ended peacefully, and this was by far the best harassment song-story I have in my arsenal. But then again, you never know what could happen tomorrow.

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Lacking Guile and Smelling Gasoline

I knew that teaching middle school was a karmic event when I was first offered the job.

Back in the comfortable and funded Jersey suburban school I grew up in, my friends and I would torture our teachers (and especially the ones who had no idea what they were doing). We would lick our chops at any opportunity to get away with being overly sneaky, annoying, or goofy.

More specifically, in 7th grade, at least fifteen of the twenty-or-so students in one particular class teamed up to prank, harass, and exasperate our permanent substitute. We called her “Fish-Lips” for obvious reasons, and she was not prepared or trained to keep us in line.

We would pass notes secretively, organizing specific times on the second when everyone would fall out of their seat in unison. We would do the same with organized coughing or laughing fits. I remember writing with pens with that had an obnoxious amount of pen caps stacked on the end. We would take turns reading the history passages insanely slow or fast, or even using ridiculous accents to spice up the dull content. By the end of the year, the teacher had resorted to sending out the five or six well-behaved kids to learn in another classroom.

We were like a Jewish version of these guys.

I bring this up because for one, its proof that karma exists and I deserve any grief that comes my way. Secondly, it shows a clear difference between my schooling and what I have to police EVERYDAY with the 7th, 8th, and 9th graders at our school: the absolute lack of guile. However you want to refer to it – cunning, sneakiness, or being slick – the majority of these kids don’t have an ounce of it.

This is obvious

Whether it’s putting your bag on your desk with BOTH of your hands inside, thumbing away at a sidekick phone you’re “disguising”, passing a note IN FRONT of you body in the FRONT seat of class, or using a hood to cover up a set of blinding neon headphone buds in your ears – so many of the students’ attempts at not getting caught are just plain sad.

A few of them might actually think that just because they do something more slowly and quietly, that the teacher does not have the ability to see it. (I always think of the rainy scene in Jurassic Park where the T-Rex blows the hat off the guy’s head). Why are so many students so terrible at masking their mischief? Is it because I’m a younger teacher and have better eyesight than a dinosaur that I see these things? No. The most senile of all teachers would be alive enough to smell the poorly hidden Egg and Cheese sandwich being eaten in the second row of math class.

This past week, after returning from a wonderful and relaxing spring break, I turned my back for a moment to write a note for the class on the board for my 7th grade Current Events class. A girl whose seat had already been moved because she was being loud,  got up out of her front row seat, and motioned to poke my butt with her pencil.

The class laughs behind me, and I turn to find her crouching with a pencil in her hand and a look like a frozen gazelle in the headlights. I just tell her she has one more chance to get it together and, as you would expect, the next time I turn to write, she gets up and pretended to poke my butt again. I just look at her and luckily she was taken out of the room by a counselor right then.

From me, this quiz received zero points. And a depressed exhale...

In a more flagrant offense of not caring about my class, this particular picture of a paper is not a note I confiscated. This was a student’s quiz of four questions that I had posted on the board. you’re reading it correctly, she answered, “La La La La La La La La”. I guess her capitalized Las were a reflection of what was going on in her mind at the moment. Ughhhhh.

Another funny but really-not-so-funny-when-you-think-about-it moment happened in my 7th grade class on Thursday. After reading article about pollution and reviewing the vocabulary word, ‘toxin’, my entire class excitedly agreed that gasoline smells good. A long-winded student then added, “My mother said that when was pregnant with me…she used to go to the gas station, to go smell the gasoline. She loves the smell!” She kind of stared blankly at me and I just bit my lip and tried to continue with the toxin talk.

Best Thank U Ever

Finally, in a bonus this week, this is a picture of an actual “Thank You Note” that a sixth grader wrote to an editor of a magazine. It is part of a career program that we run at school, and thankfully, our teacher made her write a more appropriate one after reading this.

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My Hair and Its Consequences on Learning

Tuesday, March 1st:

Most of the comments I received today were related to my recent haircut. I think I answered the question, “Did you get a haircut???” about twenty times. If you haven’t seen me since – it is fairly obvious that my hair can no longer cover my entire ears like earmuffs. By the forth or fifth time I had to respond to this query, I started feeling my short and non-shaggy hair and acted very surprised that my hair was gone.

I think that it’s insanely funny that random 6th grade girls, who I have never seen before, continuously came over to me in the hallway in between classes to say, “You got a haircut!”. Then they’d either run away to a group of giggling friends, or just stand there and look at me wide-eyed. Thank god these kids were there to remind me that I now sported less hair than I had before break…I guess that was nice.

This was how I looked in school a week ago, through select 11-year old eyes

Later on, I remember getting tired of this and quickly snapped back that I absolutely did not get a haircut. When the day was over, I was exhausted to be back, but wondering when students would stop looking at me like a strange new being. Little did I know it would get worse.

Wenesday, March 3rd:

Today one of my 7th grade students laughed at the sight of me for 50 minutes straight in the middle of class. This is no hyperbole.

After I warned her and told her to stop, she attempted to participate by answering questions while shielding the side of her face with her hand as to block my face out of her view. As you could guess, this foolish attempt failed miserably. She interrupted herself multiple times with rowdy bursts of spit-filled laughs until I got upset and had to call on another person. Each time she cracked up the other students would either tell her to shut up or chuckle with her. By the way, the particular lesson class was about a video and reading of child marriages in Afganistan – hilarious stuff, I know.

After class I spoke to her and she couldn’t keep herself from laughing so hard she fell on the floor and rolled around.

This student, albeit a needy and usually entertaining 7th grader, has been laughing uncontrollably at me for a few days now as I passed her in the hallway. Apparently, the sight of me with my new shorter haircut has just been too much for her to handle. After another teacher spoke to her about her disruptions and inability to contain her laughing-fests, she came to me after school and apologized. She proceeded to tell me that my hair was just too different and that I looked like a ‘new person’. She followed with, “You used to be so hansome…” I told her I was sorry I’m wasn’t handsome anymore but that she really needed to get it together.

Thursday, March 3rd: This is a Sorry Note that one of her friends felt she needed to give to me on Thursday.


Finally, I want to post another picture from my Current Events class with the 7th graders. I showed them some videos about what had happened in Egypt, and then we read an article together. I had them answer three questions at the end of class as a mini-quiz. This was one of the funny ones. It is messy for a number of reasons, one of which is that I was rushing them a little bit. I think that most of them understood the issue, but this is a good look at some of the work. Now that I recovered my digital camera, expect more student work to show up in the blog.

 

1) Why did the people of Egypt revolt? 2) Were the protests a good or a bad thing? Explain 3) What happened to President Mubarak?

That-is-all for now. Here’s to the hopes that I can continue posting once a week, even if it is just about my hair.

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March-ing Along: My hope for an early spring/rebirth at school

Tonight I’ll try to squeak a post in the last minutes of the shortest of all months. I last posted on February 3rd – a time that feels like eons ago for so many reasons.

This prolonged hiatus from posting my stories and funny encounters in the classroom is not the result of sleep depravation, forgetfulness, nor overwork, (as it has been in the past). The reason I’ve not posted in a while is that this February, (aside from a much needed week off last week) I’ve experienced the most difficult few weeks in my professional career. I was down on school and more upset than I have ever been at work – but now I’m really glad all of this struggle had happened.

If you talked to me during the beginning and middle of February and asked me about work – its safe to say that I was unusually down on myself and conflicted about a bunch of things going on at school. I had a tough transition into the 3rd marking period, and many of my students were not responding to my seminar class or my attempts at motivation. Everything seemed to explode in my face when I had an insanely poor observation lesson where almost everything that possibly could have went wrong did. I can’t go into the details – its just too traumatic still.

Okay, well maybe this is going a little too far...

This led me to a mini-life teacher crisis and a stinging feeling that all my students had just let me down during the time I needed them the most. I felt like a caring Dad who had tried so hard to reach his children and everything backfired in his tired and confused face. Now you can see why I didn’t feel like I had much positive or funny to share…That would just be awful to read about right?

Looking back at those tumultuous  few weeks, I feel a hundred times better now. Aside from feeling bad for myself like a big ol’ loser for a few days, I’ve worked really hard and I changed my entire class to make my lessons more engaging . In the past two weeks alone, I’ve re-packaged and switched my class to ‘Current Events’ and done entire lessons on Nicki Minaj and Lady Gaga in a unit about what makes a role model.

She was born this way

It’s hard to admit when your wrong or need a major change, but I really needed the slap in the face in order to get back to reality. In order to figure out a way to climb out of a pretty depressing hole with my students, I needed to change a whole lot.

Currently, I’m more content with the content that I’m able to bring into class, and I feel that I’ve won back most of the kids. (last month they were ready to revolt because they felt bored, stupid, and angry for being put in my class).

Now that school is back in full swing after February Break, we have 7 straight weeks with only a few days off. I’ll most definitely be keeping an eye out for intriguing quotes during my push-ins with the 9th graders reading Romeo and Juliet, and other situations that offer major comic relief.

Finally, it’s time to grind it out, stay hopeful, and set a positive tone for many of these struggling students who are used to people giving up on them.

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Field Trips & Vomit

I just finished packing for a long awaited trip to Orlando for my first ever English teachers conference. Check this out:

It’s being held at Disney resorts. We’re staying at the Wide World of Sports. I’m riding Space Mountain five times. The weather is twenty degrees warmer than Brooklyn.

All signs point to good.

Also, for all you nostalgic ex-middle school readers, THE Gary Paulsen, author of The Hatchet will be in attendance at the conference.

What I really wanted to take a few seconds to write about was the recent trip that I went on yesterday (and field trips in general).

Yesterday, I was a chaperone (a word that the students find hilarious), for a ninth grade trip up to the Bronx for a College Fair. We’re trying to get our oldest grade more aware of what it takes to get into college, and every year there are a bunch of opportunities offered by the city for free.

Since I don’t have a “normal” teacher schedule and I’m usually not in front of three or more full classes a day, I’m more available to be a trip chaperone than most other teachers. That being said, this has been my third trip this year – and I’ve been on a trip with each of the grades so far. While I can definitely say that the maturity and level of ridiculous behavior of the students from 6th to 9th grade varies drastically, one thing has been universal – vomit.

Being a city school we use the subway for any trip that is close, and buses for trips far away . The trips this year have been to upstate New York and the North Bronx – both around an hour trips factoring in BQE traffic and completely sad and lost bus drivers. So out of the three trips that I’ve gone on, there has been some major pukage on each. Thankfully, I was the designated driver on the first few trips in my bumper-car Camry, but yesterday I got to experience the magic first hand.

I’ll start off by saying I’ve never seen a bunch of human beings so excited to watch one of their friends puke. Actually, now that I think about it, there was a gallon milk challenge the winter of freshman year at college but that another story. Anyways, an interesting part of this particular incident was that the girl who started to throw up all over the back of the bus said that it wasn’t because of motion sickness at all. She kept saying that it was some exhaust smell from the window that was just causing her to continuously vom.

For the beginning stages of the drive the bus was filled with your standard (albeit loud) student conversations about anime, horror stories, and pregnancy. Other noise pollution contributions were of obnoxious renditions of Justin Beiber and Trey Songz. Suddenly, us teacher chaperones in the front of the bus are alerted to “a situation” by an uproar of laughter and general excitement in the back of the bus.

As you would expect, many of the girls were turning their heads and covering their noses and mouths. What was crazy was that the puking girl and her seven or eight friends were having a grand old time –  laughing and jumping up and down. I’ve never in my life seen a person so joyfully throw up her lunch and breakfast. The happy face of this girl after she came up for air was priceless.

On the way back from the college fair the same girl was at it again. She caught a whiff of whatever evil smell was in the highway air and just started back at it, this time filling up a see-through yellow bag that we had taken from the college fair. The weirdest thing was that she refused to move to the front of the bus to get some fresh air. Her friends literally didn’t move their seats and continued to sit right next to the girl, either helping her or just having fun with what was going on. While it was kind of gross and disturbing, it was nice to see they cared about each other.

Also – Sorry I haven’t posted in a while. I’m sure there have been a million funny or inappropriate things that students have said in the past few weeks. The fact that I haven’t been able to post is really because the days in November have really started to blend together in my head and I feel like Thanksgiving is coming at a good time. I’ll try to write some more notes and get in another blog before then. Until then, stay strong.

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