Archive for Tales from the teacher

Standing Ovation

I’m pretty sure everyone on here knows that I used to sing. A lot in fact. Well, this little nugget of information has leaked out to my students…and oh the consequences!

Yesterday after school, the choir and band teacher came into my classroom and begged me to sing the national anthem for the VALIDATE assembly today. I tried to wiggle my way out of it, but the man just would not take no for an answer…so I sang it.

I was sooo nervous! Why is it that singing for huge crowds of people is no biggie, but singing for students is like jumping off a cliff?! I don’t know how it got out but by the time I got to the school this morning the whole student body was abuzz with the news. I told them I was scared and they reassured me all day long.

When the moment of truth finally came I stood and walked up to the podium in the middle of the gym. My heart felt like it was going to jump out of my throat. I took about 4 steps forward and the gym errupted. The boys all jumped up and started cheering. It was my first standing ovation since performing in college. Not a peep in over 400 adolescent boys the whole time, except for giggles with me when my voice cracked at “Rockets Red Glare.” Before I even finished the last line they were out of control again.

I felt like a celebrity. I went out an a tiny, shakey limb for them and I know that the fruit I was reaching for will be oh-so sweet. I have proven to them that I will go the distance for them and you know what… It makes all the difference.

I feel so very honored.


Appreciated…at last!

Appreciated…at last!
So, as we all know teaching is a very thankless job. Everyday I taught in Hawaii I felt like my students would be just as happy to see me hanging from the banyon tree behind my classroom as they would come to my classroom. Interstingly enough, it has taken me teaching convicted criminals to finally be appreciated.

My students call to me from across the quad, they peek their head in to say hi between classes and they defend me to the end of the Earth. If a visitor comes into my class-they cover like you can’t believe! I let them talk about controversial topics (ex: “Are Americans terrorists because of the bombing of Hiroshima?) that are not usually tackled by classrooms. But guess what…they are LEARNING…and even more…they’re EXCITED about it!!!

Several students have come to me for help recently. Some for additional help to pass the GED and others to get info on colleges. All of the kids who I’ve helped with the GED writing portion have passed!!! One guy after failing twice finally got it after our study session. I was so proud.

My most recent anticdote happened on Friday right before I left for the weekend. One of my favorite (shhh) students has been talking to me about college. He never thought he’d be able to go and figured he’d be in and out of jail forever. After many prep periods labored over the laptop with him, he has nailed down a plan. He knows what he wants to study. He has a timeline. He is going to make it! He came by my room yesterday afternoon grinning ear to ear and practically bouncing. He told me he was going to college. He took my hand, shook it, looked into my eyes and told me, “Thanks Mrs. Price. I never could have gone to college if it wasn’t for you.”

Tears are coming to my eyes even as I write this. Nobody ever seems to understand why on Earth I would ever teach criminals…this is why.

The few, the proud in Colorado

Adam & I (along with 3 other chaperones) took a group of our guys to see the filming of the new Marine Corps commercial. The silent drill platoon was filming up in Leadville (which I loving call Rockville & Nowhereville because it is so far in the middle of nowhere). 20 students enjoyed meeting real Marines and asking them questions. We even made the Marine Times. You can check out the article at

Here are some pictures from the event…it was freezing!!!



Short Antecdote: I was standing with our guys when an old Marine came up and said he wished he’d had hot teachers like me when he was in high school. (eye roll…I’m so sick of this line I could puke!) One of my students came up to me and said, “Do you want me to assault him Mrs. Price because I would go back to Orientation for you.” It may have been one of the sweetest things a kid has ever told me! 🙂

In action!

I had Marc take pictures of me teaching today for a final project at UH. Thought you might like to see what this crazy job looks like in action…

directions.jpg Can anyone hear my directions?

facilitator.jpg Discussion on Romeo & Juliet.

So, there you have it. A class period for Mrs. Price

Let the stoner-fest begin

For those of you who don’t know…today is 420. It is an undeclared day to smoke weed. I don’t know why we even bother teaching this day since our students come high everyday anyway, and today it’s just a sea of bloodshot eyes and hysterical laughter. Here is my favorite quote from period one:

Student: “Miss, do you burn (smoke weed)?”
Me: “No…because it is illegal!”
Student: “No it’s not!”
Me: “Um, yes it is.”
Student: “I mean only at school! It’s not against the rules anywhere else! It’s an herb, so it can’t be illegal.”
Me: “Yes it is. Illegal means it is against the law. As in, you will get arrested and go to jail illegal.”
Student: “Whatever Miss. That’s not true.”

*eyeroll* I guess they don’t think it is illegal because all their families do it. They probably don’t think it’s illegal either. Idiots!

Insight on love…

I had my students discuss whether they think teenagers experience love or infatuation today in class. They came up with some interesting ideas.

*We think that most teenagers experience infatuation because they are not mature enough to be in LOVE. The only love we have is for our families

*Infatuation because most teenagers aren’t ready to fall in love, they just check people out.

And a couple rants…

*Teenagers experience infatuation because most guys have a game they play. And most teenage guys can’t handle having just one girl and they don’t know what love is.

*Teenagers experience infatuation because sometimes it doesn’t work out and they like someone else. Most relationships people cheat on their boyfriend/girlfriend and that’s not love.

Interesting…very interesting. I asked period 2 why teenagers tell their boyfriend/girlfriend they love them if it’s not love. They think “the guy is just trying to get in the girls’ pants!” WOW! They are observant huh?! LOL

“The madness in A12” or “bad parenting”

Parents never cease to amaze me. In my life I was always amazed at my parents as I’m sure all kids are. However, my students’ parents really take the cake on this one!

I had all the students who haven’t obtained a copy of their literature circle book (aka outside reading) call their parents to let them know they are behind. Sidenote: they chose their book before the two week spring break.

After calling his mom, one student told me she wanted to talk to me and wanted me to call her back. I called after class and all I can say is…wow, she’s a piece of work! She yelled at me for over ten minutes because he has to buy the book they chose (Freedom Writer’s $12) and can’t get it at the school library.

I informed her that he could have chosen any book with a partner and that was the one he chose, it was not assigned. That wasn’t good enough. She wanted to know how did he even hear about this book? I told her it’s a popular movie right now and several of the students are interested in it. She interupted saying, “I understand you read this book and told them it was good.” This is true. “How DARE YOU tell my son about a book!!! He can’t get it in the library, so I don’t want him to know about those kinds of books. You are failing him and you are the problem in his class!”

Um, excuse me? I’m getting yelled at for telling a student about a good book about racial tollerance in my ENGLISH class?! Are you *explicit, explicit, explicit* kidding me???!!!

She is insisting that he change books to which I told her that would be fine if he can find someone else to read it with him. We’ll see what unfolds on Tuesday. I just can’t believe that this is the second parent this year to scream at me because I’m making their child read! What is wrong with these people?

What’s the limit?

So, I’m wondering…what’s the abuse limit? I mean, we all hear about child abuse and elder abuse-but what about teacher abuse? If you hit a kid too hard we call the cops, but when 30 kids tell you all day long what a horrible job you are doing, you’re the worst teacher they’ve ever had, they hate your guts, your a bitch, get out of my face, I want a new teacher…where does it end?

I had to call 28 parents tonight to tell them their kid is flunking due to not turning in any work. Oh, and that’s just out of 2 periods. I didn’t have to call 6 families. And you know who’s going to get in trouble? That’s right, because last quarter I had a 44% failing rate which makes me a bad teacher.

Today has definately been one that is making me seriously doubt my decision to stay out the school year. If I could find a job in Colorado at the semester I think I actually would probably take it.

I just don’t know what I’m doing wrong. To be able to look someone in the eye and tell them how worthless they are is pretty much as bad as it gets. I think this is where I’m drawing the limit.

My Birthday

Today I have reached the big 2-6! Wow…feels like any other day except instead of screaching weird sounds, my students are screaming “Happy Birthday Miss!” A calm birthday wish would be just fine…:)

Adam came at lunch to the cafeteria where I was selling water for newspaper and brought a beautiful boquet of purple and yellow flowers, a tuberose & baby roses lei and sushi! I couldn’t believe it! When I walked out of the cafeteria I was serenaded by a hallway full of my former students. It was awesome! I’ve had a smile on my face ever since.

Anyone in the area is invited to come have dinner with us at Bucca di Beppo on Ward Ave. below Dave and Busters. We are making a reservation for 7pm, so let me know so I can add you to the number. 🙂

What grade do I teach again?

I’m having one of those days. My third period class makes me feel like I’m running a circus, not a high school classroom. I bust the same kids every single day because they act like 3-year-olds! They scream, make sound effects, throw paper, say “near swears” (like mother flugger and son of a biscuit eater), and just generally make me insane!

To top it off I read journals to grade a couple days ago. Most were pretty gnarly, but this one was particularly alarming. The prompt was “describe this room so that someone who has never been here could see it.” Here are parts of this student’s response exactly how it was written:

“The Desks are in a circul The teachers Desk is in the Right Coner of the room. the floower is blue…”

Here is what it should say:

“The desks are in a CIRCLE. The teacher’s desk is in the right CORNER of the room. The FLOOR is blue.”

How in the world can I teach them how to write an effective essay when they can’t even spell words like circle and floor?! I wish this was the only kid, but almost all of the journals were like this! These kids are 14 years old! What happened???

I am so frustrated!

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