Archive for the The Sweatervest Sagas Category

The Sweatervest Sagas: Bad Hair Day

Posted in The Sweatervest Sagas on January 21, 2011 by gracedoccupation

(NickNote: It’s time for the third installment of The Sweatervest Sagas! I’m beginning to think my fellow contributor is more disciplined than I am…whoops. Anyways…enjoy!)

Well, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Junior High-aged children are odd. The oddest, in fact. It’s hard for me to ever remember being in this type of mindset.  It’s a time in your life when your hair means either absolutely everything to you or absolutely nothing to you.

I’ve drawn this conclusion upon observation; consider this post an ethnography.

There’s a student in my class, a bump on a log, a do nothing little darling.  This dumpling stands about four feet high, and close to three feet wide. His blonde hair falls limply over his eyebrows, his eyes covered by a pair of transition lenses that don’t seem to lose their tint quite quickly enough when we return from recess.  This leaves him sunglassed at the beginning of my class (which is just annoying, and quite frankly a bit unnerving).

But, back to the topic at hand…as previously stated, this star pupil stands a mere four feet tall, if that. This means, of course, that the majority of the eighth grade in the building along with myself literally look down at this child. Last Friday I looked down and dry heaved.  The amount of dry skin flaking off at the crown of his head was enough to make you vomit.  It appeared as if earlier in the morning, he had decided to perhaps, pour a box of instant mashed potato flakes on his head.  Obviously, I can’t be the only one who notices this because I’m talking nickel sized flakes here.

And I’m not.

A group of eighth grade girls notice during mass. They are gagging and pointing, and what am I supposed to do? I want to gag and point, but I’m the adult here. I give the girls a look. A “cut it out” look, cause no one is taller than an eighth grade girl, no one can look down at the crown of their heads and gag.

Poor little do nothing darling, I hope he discovers the importance of shampoo soon.



The Sweatervest Sagas: I love my job

Posted in The Sweatervest Sagas on January 5, 2011 by gracedoccupation

(NickNote: Oh, hey! Our fellow contributor is back and this one is a doosy! Our uniformed hero is now masked, shrouded in anonymity under the name A Graced Occupation. Check out this page from her book of life!)

I’m Blessed. I’m truly blessed. I work in my chosen profession.

I repeat this mantra to myself every night while I’m brushing my teeth, every morning while I’m sipping my  coffee and at lunch while I’m eating in a cold dungeon disguised as a lunchroom.

And it’s true – my principal gave me a shot when she hired me. I had no teaching experience and my bachelor’s degree is in media studies.  Today, my days are still as unpredictable as ever, but three years ago I had absolutely no clue what each day would hold. I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I took the job mid-year.

Seventh and Eighth grade – easy enough; I could handle it. Or I thought I could.  Year one left me exhausted and asleep on the couch by 4:30pm, or in my classroom til 8pm.  During my free period I’d go to my car and scream with the doors closed.  In my defense teachers still talk about the eighth grade that year.  The worst class in 30 years they say.

During my first two weeks at the school, a group of these darlings brought a water bottle filled with vodka to school.  Another time, I had a student after school for  detention when the toilets in the boys’ room began to overflow.  While I was rushing to find a janitor, the sweetheart sitting in my classroom suggested that I “go get one of the Mexicans who was working outside to clean up the shit.”  Really- he did.

The year dragged on and the my lovely students didn’t change, but I seemed to be the only one struggling. Granted, I was a new teacher and I came in halfway through the year, my classroom management was lacking, but so were these kids’ respect levels.  It all came to a head one day when I discovered that a group of these lovelies had broken into the school over the weekend.  Later that week, two students lit off fireworks and threw them out of the windows of the school at a group of second graders playing at recess. I had never been so happy in my life to never have to see that group of students again.

The following year a few would stop back and visit from their respective high schools.

“I’m really worried about your social life, ” I’d tell them. ” I can’t figure out what you are doing here. Don’t you have friends in High School?”

Thankfully, the visits stopped. I rarely think of any of those nightmares anymore, and I love my job.

I’m Blessed. I am truly blessed. I work in my chosen profession.

The Sweatervest Sagas: Welcome to a Catholic Junior High School

Posted in The Sweatervest Sagas on December 21, 2010 by m

(NickNote: A friend and former TLW contributor will be writing the following series about her trials and tribulations teaching at a Junior High Catholic school. In the first of the series, she introduces her life, her frustrations and the chaos that ensues in her every day interactions with 12-year-olds. To keep her anonymity and to prevent her from being fired, she will be going by the moniker “A Graced Occupation.” Leave her some radical comments, and stay tuned for more from: The Sweatervest Sagas! )

The Littlest Winslow presents…

A Graced Occupation joint:

I spend the majority of my time with a group of 85 sweatervested darlings. Ranging between the ages of 11 and 14, these (almost) people seem to rule my life.  They are constantly invading my personal space and generally lack many of the personal hygiene habits you and I take for granted.

Being a mere (ha) 13 or more years older than many of these sweethearts leads them to believe we are, quite literally, peers.  More often than not, this belief is what exhausts me by 3PM daily.  I love you all, but none of you are my friends- sorry kiddos.

Too many days I let students skip detention because I can’t even think about spending and extra moment with any of them.  Yet, my classroom is generally filled with students, many of whom can’t seem to make it to my class on time, after the 2:30 bell tolls.

I invite you to take a peek into the general chaos of my classroom; the countless hours I spend doing lesson plans, correcting papers, and updating my classroom homework website (GOD FORBID THE DEARS PICK UP A PEN AND WRITE DOWN THEIR GOD FORSAKEN HOMEWORK FOR ONCE!)