Tag Archives: K through 12

Staying Positive During Assessment Week

Last year, I really began to stress out.  I felt ill many times and became distracted by all of the noise.  I was taking it personally that “everyone” wanted to judge my ability as a teacher.  It is not that I doubt my abilities.  Am I the best teacher ever?  Hardly.  However, I work with them everyday.  Every day I have learned from my colleagues.  They do whatever it takes.

When I was in high school, the athletes around me motivated me also.  I swam with some of the best in the state.  Coach (for the first month I thought that was his name) made me swim in the sprinter’s lane.  These guys swam the 50 free in 23 seconds.  One day Coach gave us a set of 10 x 50 on 30 seconds.  If we swam the two laps in 25 seconds we would have 5 seconds rest before we swam the next one.  Only Coach, with his wisdom, experience, and sadism, told me to swim breaststroke, the slowest stroke, and my best time was 29.5 seconds!  How was I going to swim 10 of these in a row in 30 seconds with half a second rest? Coach had a T-shirt that with “Rule #1: Coach is always right.” On the front, and “Rule 2: If you think Coach is wrong, see Rule #1.”

"Retired" Coach being a commentator at the State Swim Meet.

“Retired” Coach being a commentator at the State Swim Meet.

Of course, I tried my best.  And, my teammates encouraged me to do my best.

Many say swimming is an individual sport, like a teacher alone in a classroom.  However, my teammates wanted all of us to swim fast.  All would succeed! And, my colleagues share this sentiment.  They have always shared and collaborated to have every child learn and improve.

Each day, I see the great things the teachers around me are doing and I marvel.  How can I keep up?  What can I do?  It is the kind of challenge that makes teaching fun!  (The students also create a challenge, which is fun most of the time.)

Luckily, I have realized that my teaching will survive the scrutiny made from assessments indifferent students take.   Survive?!  On the contrary. My teaching will improve as I tackle the challenges of devoting six – eight days for these tests and a shortened schedule for five days as other students take the graduation test!

images  Assessments?  They are nothing compared to Coach’s workouts.

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Filed under Education, Goals, Learning, Measuring Student Success, Teacher Evaluations

I Refuse to Work!

What happens when a student refuses to do the work?  What would you do?

Yesterday, I had a young lady with a 2×4 chip on her shoulder refuse to comply to class procedures.

The background:

Since day two of school, I give the students 3 words and their definitions.  The students then create a sentence with context clues.  Yesterday, I walked around the room, looking over shoulders and offering encouragement until I came to Angie’s desk.  Once there, I stopped in my tracked and looked at an empty desk, for she was not on task.  Before I could say a word, she said, “Don’t talk to me.”  Of course, being the rebellious person that I am, I had to say something.

I reminded her that she was to be copying the vocabulary words and creating an original sentence.  She felt the need to repeat, “I said don’t talk to me!”

With that, I sent her into the hall.  She was poising the class with her negative attitude.  I have tried to help her, but her anger prevents her from succeeding.  At the start of the last nine weeks, I feel that I have to concentrate on the kids who want to do well.  It is a constant struggle any public school teacher faces.

Well, I told Angie to sit in the hall, and class discussion was a positive experience.  I wrote a discipline referral and the vice principal suspended out of school for two days.  It seems that her attitude and behavior is not confined to my class.

I am left with the feeling that she has a lot of baggage in life and will not succeed.  However, I do have to teach the other 29 students in class.  Am I suppose to cut the losses and give up on her?  How much time and energy do I devote to her?  This is something every educator in the United States struggles with.  If you have the right answer, I am all ears.


Filed under Education, Learning

Non-Responsive Student or Victim?

The day started with an email.  Our intrepid leader sent out the draft of the plan with aiding a non-responsive victim we may find.  She told us about this drill a month ago, and it can help us know what to do in an emergency.  It’s a great idea, but I still felt the need to be facetious this morning.

I ran into one of our vice principals, a former social studies teacher, and I couldn’t resist a little fun.  I asked him, “What if the non-responsive person is in a social studies class?  Isn’t he just sleeping?”

HaHaHa.  Karma sucks.  We had the drill today.  Outside of my classroom.  I was the first one on the scene.  This is how it played out:

“BEEP!” The tardy bell rings.  Students were already getting laptops out to finish their revisions of an essay.  Louis was asking me for help because he has a propensity for writing run-on-sentences you know the kind that never seem to stop or utilize any punctuation what-so-ever.

Then, this stranger, a thirty-something woman with a clipboard, enters my class.  I see many badges, the kind schools, businesses, and hospitals give out that are difficult to read, yet give some people the sense that this person is safe and belongs here.  I didn’t fall for it.  I did not recognize her, and I grabbed the only weapon a good English teacher has: my red pen.

“There is an unresponsive victim in the hallway,” says Miss Stranger.

I get up and proceed to go to the hallway.  As I step through the doorway, she informs me, “It’s only a dummy.”

Seeing four students entering my class tardy, I ask, “Which one?”  I notice through the corner of my bad eye that she smiles.

I approach the dummy.  It is the upper torso.  I choose to not alarm the woman, but I know he is not going to make it.  I follow our written procedures:  I yell for one of my students to run to the office as I pull out my cell phone and call the office.  I call and get a voicemail.  I call again and get an administrative assistant and let her know what the emergency is, where it is, and to call 911.  Of course, I mention that it is a drill because I have no idea if Miss Clipboard has told anyone.  next, we here the announcement for a lockdown.

English: CPR training with Welch Allyn AED 20

English: CPR training with Welch Allyn AED 20 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

She asks me if I know CPR; my certification expired years ago.  Another teacher arrives; she does not know CPR either.  The nurse arrives and begins CPR.  The AED arrives and the nurse works to save the dummy.  The drill is over.

We learned that we had some flaws in our plan.  I did what was written; however, I should have told my student to get another teacher.  I should have told the teacher to push the emergency button in the classroom and inform the office of the emergency.  When the lockdown occurred, the teachers in nearby classrooms stayed with their students, as we have been taught to do, and did not come outside to help.  We learned some other things, too.  However, these lessons apply more to me.  Soon though, all of us will be trained in CPR and be able to do more than yell for help.

When I explained to my students what happened, I said it was like the first draft we wrote.  We will look at what we did wrong, make improvements, and do it again.  It became a great teachable moment.

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Filed under Education, Humor, Learning

Welcome To Another School Year

Welcome to another school year.  I share this blog with my students and their parents, as well as the world.  I tend to share my thoughts, however politically incorrect they may be, with anyone who meets me.  I welcome others to do the same, and I would die defending their right to their viewpoint, no matter how wrong it is.

After two days, I am beginning to see who the shy students are, who the gregarious students are, and the ones who understand my sense of humor.  I have yet to discover any student I wish to defenestrate.

Each year, I look inward to see how I can improve.  Although I know I am perfect, I entertain my wife’s thought that I can be better.  (It never hurts to humor the little woman…).

This year, I have created a separate document to show student’s mastery of the Common Core Curriculum.  To be honest, I have done this with my grade book, but the spreadsheet will make it easier for administrators to see the job I am doing.  Realistically speaking, it is not really how well we do our job, but how well we convince bosses that we do our job.

Administrators, parents, students, and other blog readers: do not fear.  I am utilizing the “I Can” statements of the Core as presented by Christina Hank, an excellent resource.  I am very aware of the direction we are headed, and I am happy to see it.  I just notice that we (leaders in education) have been this way before.  The difference is that leaders changed and terms changed, but the ideas did not.  Now, we have a common language and goals to help our students succeed.  This is exciting!

For parents, it may be too much information.  Nonetheless, know that your kids are in good hands.  I am teaching writing and reading.  I have lots of other words to describe what I am teaching, but for most of you, that is not important.  I am working hard to prepare your child for success in college and / or a career.  I know that all of my students will not be English teachers, although several have chosen that path.  I do know that the kids will need to think and analyze and support their opinions.  That is what I focus on.

For any current students reading this, know that I plan to challenge you.  I do not care what your opinion is as much as I care how well you support it.  I want you to stand for something, not fall for anything.  I want you to disagree with me.  I want you to show me with facts why I am wrong.  I know I am not perfect; I am married with 4 kids.  The family tells me how wrong I am all of the time.  I merely like supporting details and examples.

Here is a little secret: I will disagree with you just to see what facts you present to me to show me that I am wrong even though, in my heart, I agree with you.

Good luck this year students and parents.


Filed under Education, Learning

Parent Teacher Conferences (with or without the police)

Many parents try to take an active role in their child’s elementary education.  At the young age, there are three types of parents who attend conferences.  There is the I-want-to-hear-how-wonderful-my-kid-is parent.  These are the perfect parents who want the teacher to pat them on the back and say, “You have a great kid.  I wish I could be such a great parent, too.”  Then, there is the I-guess-I-should-go-to-conferences parent.  He or she is not sure what to do, but doesn’t want to be looked down by others for not attending. Lastly, there is the I-was-called-by-the-teacher-to-attend parent.  This parent feels like he or she has been called to a tax audit.  They have that feeling that there is a problem with junior.

Once a child reaches high school, only about 10% of the parents attend parent teacher conferences.  Some parents feel that it is time for the child to be adult like and take ownership of their education.  Some young adults are responsible and do not need mom or dad talking to every teacher.  Some parents have given up because they always hear the same thing.  Some kids do not remind their parents when conferences are.  Some parents only visit a few teachers.  Having taught and coached summer swimming in the area for so many years, many parents know me and do not feel the need to come in to get to know me.  They know my expectations.  They know my school and private email addresses.  They know my cell phone and home phone number.   Still, parents do attend conferences.  These parents can be classified into two categories: the ones who want to hear how wonderful their child is and the ones who were called by the teacher to discuss a problem.

The first year of teaching brings out many parents to learn about the new guy, especially if one is at a small high school.  I started my career at a high school with 350 students.  Many of the students’ parents attended the school.  Everyone knew everyone in the town, which was a foreign concept for me.  My hometown had a population of 60,000, and I graduated from The Ohio State University, with an enrollment of about 60,000 back then.

One of my first conferences taught me that the apple does not fall far from the tree.  I was planning on letting the mom know that her daughter had been tardy to class enough times to get two detentions.  Well, mom was late.  As a twenty-three-year old neophyte teacher, I was not going to admonish mom.  Instead, I gave her the facts and the consequences of being tardy.  We agreed that sometimes being late is not a big deal.  Other times, like paying taxes, going to work, or menstruating, being late can be a big deal.

Another conference during that first year showed me how we act when we are nervous.  Julie was a quiet student, barely speaking a word in class.  She barely did her work, too, so her mom and I were concerned about her grade and lack of effort.  Julie’s nervousness came out when she sat on a desk instead of a chair.  She tried to dominate the conversation and tell mom what life was about.  Mom and I worked together from the beginning.  Without saying a word, we showed Julie we were the in charge.  I had her sit in a chair and listen as we went over the poor performance so far.  Then, we asked her what ideas she had for success in the future.  The three of us, a triangle of trust and responsibility, came up with a plan for Julie’s success.  We were all responsible for 33% of her education.  Julie came to the conference hoping to create a rift between her mom and me.  Instead, she met a united front of two people who wanted her to be successful.  Once Julie realized we were working in her best interests, she turned her attitude and work ethic around.  She started to succeed.

Unfortunately, not all conferences went so smoothly.  During my second year of teaching, Ryan’s dad wanted a conference with the math teacher, the principal, and me.  Apparently, Ryan was failing English and math.  Ryan was a very likable kid and did class work all of the time.  He just didn’t do homework or prepare for tests.

During the conference with Ryan’s dad, I was accused of not caring, not teaching, and not doing anything.  It was my fault Ryan was failing.  Is it the dentist’s fault when we get a cavity because we did not brush or floss?  Yet, it was my fault because his son did not do homework or study for tests.  I was told I only worked six hours a day.  Then, I was insulted and yelled at.  I tried to remain calm and professional.  However, I lost control.  I slammed my briefcase on the table, popped it open, and showed him the 90 essays I had to grade.  I told him what a great kid Ryan was, but he needed to get work done outside of class.  I started to get into a stink fight with a skunk.  Then, the chief of police arrived.  I guess a secretary called him in.  Being a small town, and my being young, new, and not a resident, I did not know the little details.  The chief ended the conference and escorted Ryan’s dad home.

A week later, Ryan had a very believable excuse for not having his homework.  He said his mom took a shot at his dad.  I asked, “What?”

Ryan responded, “It’s okay Mr. W.  It was only a .22 and she missed.”  I did not give him a zero for the assignment.  He taught me to focus on student learning in class because I cannot control their lives outside of the school day.  I would make sure not being able to do homework did not cause a student to fail.  Thus, a bad conference taught me how to be a better teacher.  It is part of being a freshman.

Today, our parents have access to the grade book on-line.  They can see grades as quickly as a teacher can enter them.   Parents can email teachers instead of calling them, which has been better for me because I have a computer at my desk, but the phone is down the hall.  I can remember a few years ago when I told my classes that parents were going to have this access to grades and teachers, the kids hated the idea.  If teenagers hate the idea, then it probably is good!

What else have I learned?  Parents may be afraid of coming to school.  They bring all of their memories that they had with teachers with them.  They are cautious and worried that the teacher will judge them as a bad parent.  Some teachers may do this, but remember, the reason that teachers do their job is because of the kids.  If mom is concerned about Junior, then she is a good parent.   The only “great knowledge” the teacher has is knowing the true purpose of the conference: to find out what everyone needs to do for the child to succeed.  Once we set aside egos, we can concentrate on the real crisis – the child’s struggles.

Therefore, my advice to teachers and parents:

  1. Do not blame the other or accept blame.
  2. Listen to the other and hear their frustrations, without being defensive.  Let him or her vent the frustrations he or she feels.
  3. Remind each other that you are part of the triangle of learning, with the student being the third side.  We all have 33.3% of the responsibility.

Can you think of any other advice for teachers and parents?

Even though I was young and childless, many parents asked me for advice.  Unfortunately, the classes I took to be a teacher did not prepare me for being an expert on raising teenagers, which can be akin to nailing grape jelly to the old oak tree in the back yard.  So, I decided to ask the parents what they have done in the past that worked and didn’t work.  We would brainstorm ideas and develop a working relationship to ensure success.  I also learned a lot from the parents of the successful students.  After all, experience is a great teacher.  I then passed on the ideas to the parents of the struggling kids, telling them other parents have found success this way.

Some of the ideas I learned from parents included:

  1. Establish routine.  Make sure homework is done right after school, or set aside an hour to do homework together.  If there is no homework, then it is reading time.  Discuss the completed homework at dinner with the whole family.
  2. Learn how your child learns best.  Most teachers are visual learners.  We like worksheets, chalkboards, multi-media projectors, etc.  We learn best when we see it.  However, some people are auditory learners.  They learn best by listening.  Audio books or reading notes aloud would help these learners.  And, most of us learn by doing.  Experience is the best teacher.   We learn to ride a bike by doing it; we learn to write by doing it; and we learn to swim by doing it.
  3. Check Junior’s daily planner; does it look up to date?  Or, check assignment posted the teacher’s web site.
  4. Contact the teacher for a weekly progress report.  Email works best today.  And, many school districts have grade books on-line.  Check the grades frequently and if you think your child is not telling the truth, you are probably right.
  5. Set up consequences, both rewards and punishments.  You know what will motivate your child best.  One parent gave money for good grades and fines for bad grades.  Another parent used her daughter’s social life as consequences.  My dad rewarded me with dinner and punished me by making watch TV with the family.

What ideas have you learned that I may share?

Parent – teacher conferences are a great way to learn from each other.  I have learned how to be a better teacher and better parent.  I have also learned about hidden talents the students have.  I learned about Lura’s love to play the piano; I learned about Luke’s love to ride horses and rope calves; I learned about Lyndsay’s love of the theatre; and Billy’s dream to attend The Air Force Academy and become a pilot.

Conferences also reminded how hard some kids have had it. I learned about Kelly who lost her mom to cancer three years ago; I learned about David fighting his own battle with cancer; I learned about Zak whose parents were going through a divorce; Chris, who at age fourteen, was a recovering alcoholic, and Carlos, who just found out the man he thought was his father wasn’t because his mom had an affair.

As we start another school year, I look forward to meeting another 150 students and a few of their parents. I look forward to learning about their dreams and I hope to help them through any adversity life throws at them.


Filed under Education, Learning, Lessons from students

Adapting, Improvising, Overcoming, Or How to Get Around the System

Extra Credit.  When I first began teaching twenty-three years ago, I liked extra credit.  I was the type of high school student who always did my work, but not always to the best of my ability.  A chance to earn a few extra points to get me from a B+ to an A- would be welcomed.  However, after twenty-three years of teaching, I am not fond of extra credit.  Too many students want something easy to replace an assignment not turned in.

My first year of teaching I thought I had a great idea.  Today, I call it an idea.  I had 100 tests for 100 books and plays.  I gave the students the list and let them read independently to earn extra credit.  My mistake was to not put a limit on the number of works that could be read.

Enter Brent.  He was failing.  He disliked writing.  He was smart.  He took tests on all of the plays on my extra credit reading list and aced them.  And, he did not read them.  How?  He rented a videotaped version of a production of each play!  He followed my rules.  He found a way to beat the system!  Sure, I wish he would have written more.  However, Brent used his brain to solve his problem.  I praised him on intelligence to improvise to pass the class.  And, I changed my rules: students would only be allowed to read one novel or play.  (On a side note, no other student ever chose to take a test on a play.  Brent was the only one to figure out PBS records dramas all of the time.)

The past couple of years I have only allowed students to rewrite essays for a new grade or complete short vocabulary / writing assignments during any free time in class for extra credit.

I know I have readers from education and the business worlds, and I am curious to your opinions.  If you can take a minute or two, I would like to hear what you think about extra credit for students.  Thanks.

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Warm Fuzzies and Smiley Faces


education (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

Teaching high school has had some perks.  When my children were younger, I knew who the most responsible babysitters were.  However, at the end of the year, teacher gifts and thank-yous are not the norm. Nonetheless, I do get a few.  And, I always get that warm fuzzy feeling when a student or parent writes me a thank you.

I am sure his mom made him do it, but what he wrote is definitely his own work:

Dear Mr. ,

I really enjoyed your class despite having it with an ex-girlfriend.  Your a really cool teacher and I love your jokes despite how bad they are and thanks for living through all the sentences our class wrote about you.


And what does this note tell me?

1. English class is more fun if one can share it with a girlfriend.

2. Bad jokes are cool?

3. Continuing to live even though students try to insult you with vocabulary words is a good thing.

4. I did not teach the difference between “you’re” and “your” very well.

5. Missing periods can be bad.


Filed under Education, Humor, Lessons from students, Teacher Evaluations, Writing

To See or Not to See

Frustration seems to be hanging in the air like a thick fog.  Students seem frustrated with school; teachers seem frustrated with students.

One of the recurring frustrations I encounter is a student who will not wear his or her glasses, thus negatively affecting his or her grade.  Perhaps the idea, dare I say “eye”dea, is more pertinent to me because I recently suffered a torn retinal in my left eye and a detached retina in my right eye.  The thought of losing my sight was a little scary.  I realized I would not see my kids participate in their sports (or try to disappear when it was time to wash the dishes.)  I also realized I might not be able to teach.  What other job could I have that would allow me to torture high school students?

I guess I had taken my eyesight for granted.  Now I get very frustrated when I see students refuse to wear glasses even though doing so would improve their learning.  Yet, I do understand.

In the spring of my sixth grade year, I found out I needed glasses.  I couldn’t see the black board and kept looking at my friend’s paper to copy his notes.  The teacher noticed and called my parents.  One eye doctor visit later and I was the owner of a pair of brown glasses.  Since the cool-looking glasses were not on my parent’s insurance plan, I was reduced to three choices.   One was exactly like my mother’s.  Can you say, “many years of therapy” if I chose to look like my mom?    The second choose were little kid glasses that had kittens on the frame.  Can you say, “Even more years of therapy”?  The last pair looked like they were rejected by Sally Jessy Rafael.


However, it gets worse.  A week later, I got braces.  Not just braces that I could hide by not smiling.  That would have been bearable. However, lucky me had to wear neck gear because of my overbite.  My face became hidden behind coke-bottle glasses and a wire running around my face.  I felt like a lightning rod.  To this day, I still loathe thunderstorms.

Needless to say, this experience has helped me empathize with students who are struggling with the idea of being different. Kaleigh was one of those students.  She struggled with reading the chalk board because she didn’t think she looked pretty enough with her glasses. I tried to convince her to wear them in class.  Instead of sitting her up front, I let her sit in the back of the class.  Everyday, she would covertly remove her glasses from her purse and put them.  The rest of the class was focused on the front of the room, so they never noticed.  Or, if they did, they never said anything. Her grades improved and after a month she realized no one was noticing or going to comment on her new look.  Her grades and confidence improved.

Another student had struggled for over half of the year.  Because he could not see the board, he did not take notes.  Instead, he would speak out of turn.  He would do anything to try to get attention and avoid doing his work.  He just seems to live by Kurt Vonnegut‘s philosophy: “Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward.”  He wasn’t a bad kid, just struggling.  When he wore his glasses, he could stay focused, (sorry, couldn’t resist the pun).  Being able to see the assignments, the notes, and his book kept him on task.  He even started to do his homework.  He reminded me of Lech Walesa‘s words: “It is hardly possible to build anything if frustration, bitterness and a mood of helplessness prevail.”

So, my frustration ebbs as I remember these two kids who overcame obstacles.  Good luck with you frustrations.

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Smiley-Faces make me Smile

The Eye-patched smiley face mascot, as feature...

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Remember when you were in grade school and the teacher would put a stamp on your paper that read “Nice work” or “Keep trying”?  Or, if you did really well, she would put a gold star near your name!  Brings back some good memories, doesn’t it?

You would think high school kids would think this kind of thing is too immature.  However, they love it!  Now, I don’t do this every time I grade something because I usually have 150 papers to grade and placing stickers on a paper or stamping them takes time.  Although, I have cheated and let my children do it for me.  One student had 15 stickers and a dozen stamps on her paper.  Four year-olds tend to get a little sticker-and-stamp happy.

Last night I hastily drew smiley-faces on papers.  When I returned the graded work to the students, I heard a few giggles and comments:

“Is this a smiley-face or is he constipated?”

“Mine looks like he has no mouth and a double chin.”

“This one has an eye outside of his head!”

In my defense, I lost my artistic ability in kindergarten.  Tragically, I had chicken pox and my mom actually made me miss school for a week.  Not just any week! It was the week we learned how to draw a smiling person with fingers.  Mrs. Erke never took the time to let me make up drawing.  Perhaps she was jealous of my earlier abilities with houses and trees in art class.  Perhaps she was just mean.  Come to think of it, one day I mentioned to the class that I missed Carl, who had moved away a few months earlier.  She reprimanded me for being off task: ” We all miss him.  But, it’s time to paste the pictures to the correct words on the worksheet.  And, Bart, please stop eating the paste.”  See, she was mean. What kind of teacher keeps  a child from eating?  Everyone knows you learn better on a full stomach.

Thus, today, my drawings of people resemble Picasso’s self-portrait with mittens on.  It is miraculous that I have achieved any success in life.

Of course I am joking.  About Mrs. Erke … not my artistic ability.  She was wonderful and I can’t draw well.  Nonetheless, the fact that students noticed the smiley-face means something.

It seems teenagers want cheerleaders.  They want supportive teachers and parents.  A “good job,” or “I can tell you put a lot of effort into this essay” can help a student work harder next time.  For example, I had a student, Scott, a few years back.  He thought he was a terrible writer.  He saw a “B” grade as a bright neon sign flashing “Failure.”  It took positive comments on what he did well to give him confidence. He realized that all writers make errors, especially novices who are constantly taking risks with word choice and sentence structure.  Gold stars, stickers, and smiley faces placed near his successful risk taking in writing made him challenge himself more.

By the end of the year he was getting his coveted “A” on all of his work.  He learned how to focus on what he did correctly.  Sometimes we all need a reminder.


Filed under Education, Humor


The Monkees, left to right: Micky Dolenz, Davy...

Image via Wikipedia

I am a daydream believer.  (Sorry Monkees)  I daydream all of the time in class. Sometimes I even do it while students are answering my questions.

I began daydreaming when I was a freshman.  I would sit and think of different ways the teacher could be teaching the lesson.  Of course, I was a teenager and knew everything.  Unfortunately, teachers did catch me once in a while and left me feeling slightly embarrassed.

I was reminded of daydreaming today in two different classes.  I hope I did not embarrass the young ladies, as that was not my intent.

It all started in a morning class.  Lindsey was sitting at her desk with a big smile on her face.  Thinking she was finished with her writing, I called on her to share it with the class.  Her eyes blinked rapidly and the smile faded.  She looked around sheepishly and I could tell she wasn’t ready.  I smiled and asked her if she was daydreaming.  She relaxed and replied, “Yes.”  I chuckled a little and asked her what she was daydreaming about.  “Basketball,” she answered.  (She is on the basketball team and they have a big game tomorrow.)  I told her I understood; it happens to me all of the time.  Lindsey relaxed and refocused on class.  Nothing unusual, just a typical day in a classroom, right?  Not today.

In an afternoon class I noticed Ainsley sitting at her desk with a grin and staring at the board.  She looked like she was finished with her writing, so I called on her. The grin disappeared and a little panic swept over the face.  I smiled and asked her if she was daydreaming.  She frowned and said, “Yes, sorry.”

I know that Ainsley plays on the basketball team, so I had to smile and ask, “By chance,were you daydreaming about basketball?”

A big smile crossed her face and she even giggled her response, “Yes.”   What are the chances?

I smiled as I was reminded that my class was not the most important thing in a freshman’s life.  I hope they win the game tomorrow.  We can write more next week.

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