Monday, September 28, 2009

Bondage

Still bitter and confused.

Praying for release from the bondage of anger.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Old Man Strategery!



Sometimes, I’m kind of a moron. I mean, pretty frequently, actually. I’m about to disclose an experience that I had on Saturday when I arrived at the post office to mail my school pictures to my madre. Don’t leave a comment telling me I’m stupid. I already know. Here it goes.

I pulled into the stall next to the handicapped spot. I got out and started walking in with my stuff to mail. In the handi spot, an old man in a Buick was sitting in his passenger seat with the window down. It looked like he was maybe waiting for his wife who was inside the post office (strategery #1). He was really old, as in like 80 years old (strategery #2). He stopped me. He seemed harmless and sweet enough, and my mom taught me to be nice and respectful, so I was. I stopped and talked to him.



He started with, “I bet your husband’s handsome!” (strategery #3) I responded, “I don’t have a husband.” He looked at me in shock. He then asked how old I am. I told him I am twenty-two. He said, “Well maybe you’ll find one soon.” I smiled and said, “Maybe.”

He was shaking violently as though he had Parkinson’s, or some other thing that old people get. Looking back now, I’m not sure if this is another instance of his strategery or not. With his violently shaking hand, he reached down to get a stack of paper from his lap. He handed it to me, telling me that it was a stack of clean jokes and riddles. I took it and said, “OK, thanks,” incredibly confused as to why I’d want these. But I thought maybe he was just being cute and trying to make the world a cleaner place. That’s what old people try to do, right (strategery #4)?

Then he got to his point. “I was wondering if you could give me a little money for ‘em.” Now it was starting to make sense. I said, “Oh, sure,” and I went to get him a dollar. After I had already opened my wallet and he had seen my five dollar bill, he said, “Maybe you have a five or a ten.”

My brain paused and said, “What-the-fffff?! Did he really just have the gall to ask for a five dollar bill? For a stack of papers with TEXT on it?!” Oh, I was ticked. But I’d feel like a guilty douchebag if I said, “No, I don’t have a five or ten,” after he had already seen it. Geez, I’m such a sucker. So I handed him my five, feeling like a total ass who just got worked over (and I mean the cuss word in the actual “retarded donkey” sense, so I’m allowed to use it).

He then proceeds to tell me about how he adopted eight children (strategery #5) and is trying to get more money and whatnot.

I can’t remember how the conversation ended, but I was totally puzzled by why an 80-year old man would adopt eight children if he can’t bloody afford them. That’s when I really accepted that I had totally gotten suckered by an OLD MAN.

I went inside, and I was sure to let one of the workers know that an old man was outside trying to sell jokes, and that I didn’t know if they wanted to know or if that was OK or not. The post office worker said, “Oh, okay. Thank you for letting us know. I know exactly who that is, and no it’s not OK.”

Translation of the post office worker’s response: Affirmative Janae, you are an idiot.

When I mailed my stuff to my mom, I walked back out to my car. He tried to stop me again! I couldn’t believe it. This time he said, “Wait a minute young lady, come to my window.”

By this time I was completely freaked out. That line should freak anyone out who’s in their right mind. I flashed him my stack of (super lame) really cool clean jokes, and said, “You already gave me some.” He said, “Oh, that’s right,” in his old shaky voice.

He mumbled something else, but I hurriedly got into my car and left. Then I called my mother to tell her about this horrible old man who completely used his old age and many other acts of strategery to sucker nice young college girls into giving him money.

Lesson learned for Janae. Learn when to say “no.”

Rayden Stanley

On Saturday, I had a mission.

I would purchase a fish so that I could have something alive in my room once more. Without my rabbit, my room feels dead and boring.

So I set out on my journey to PetSmart with my friend Rob. It took me forever to decide what kind of goldfish I wanted. I finally decided on a black moor goldfish. Doesn't that seem like a redundant name to you? Black... Moor... Anyway.



Rob pointed out that since they were black, they're like ninjas. I went full-force Mortal Kombat style and named my fish Rayden. It was a toss-up between Liu Kang and Rayden, but I figured that the googly eyes made him have killer vision like Rayden. Plus he's kind of nerdy so his middle name is Stanley.

I'm happy to have something alive in my room. Yay!

Here's Rayden saying hello (by the way, you have no idea how hard it is to photograph a stupid goldfish, seriously):




What up?



He kept on running into the back of his tank trying to get out. So I backed it with some blue construction paper so he'd stop banging his googly eyes into the tank and lose his super Kombat vision. I'm so smart.






Uhm, sorry about the dust. The tank was under my bed, and I didn't want to Windex it and kill my ninja fish.



video

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Miss Balibrea Called on Me

I had my students write a journal entry the other day which was related to our reading. I asked them to recall a time when something bad happened, and they blamed themselves for it.

I had a lot of really touching, serious entries. Some students blamed themselves for their parents leaving, or dying, or for their siblings getting hurt, or their animals dying.

But my favorite, I think, was from a quiet girl in the back of one of my classes. She said,

"The time I remember was in here. Miss Balibrea [yes, she used my name like this in a journal entry that I get to read] called on me and asked a question, but I couldn't answer. I was only sort of half way paying attention, and so I couldn't answer. That was my fault."

haha. I'm not sure what the "bad happening" was, but I'm glad she felt silly for not paying attention. Pretty much killed me.

----

I also graded some papers recently where I asked the students to predict some things in the novel. One question was regarding Gram, who is old and who got bitten by a snake. I gave them lots of page numbers to hint at Gram's worsening state so that they could predict her death. One student answered it best,

"She's a dead woman."

My Boyfriend

My new boyfriend is so great.

We spend most of our time together on Wednesday nights after watching So You Think You Can Dance. It's nice to have that routine.

He is hilarious, and witty, and musical.

We get along fine. I love laughing and enjoying his artistic side. And I greatly enjoy his serious side also. He has lots of sides. And if you know me, you know I love complex individuals.

We also don't feel like we need to be right next to each other all the time. In fact, we spend our time together about 6 feet from each other.








That's right folks, my new boyfriend is Fox's new show, "Glee."



It is the love of my life.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Actual Picture, and More Stories

Well, here is my school picture. I feel like a junior high student again. It's kind of fun getting free pictures. It's not so much that I like having pictures of myself (I'm sending them to my mom), but I like that they were free. Besides, it's cool to commemorate my first year of teaching.



Oh, darling. You can even see the bags under my eyes. So attractive. I'd like to send a public thank you to Cody for telling me I look like a sultry minx in this picture. Woo woo. Don't we all like to know there is a sultry minx hidden within us? Oh yes.

So, I yelled at a student the other day. I don't so much feel like going into details. He made me angry by interrupting me in front of the class. Then he made me angry by telling me that he didn't have an EXTREMELY IMPORTANT handout which I had given out two weeks ago, which we've been working on every day. He was present to receive that handout and has been present every day since then when the rest of the class has consistently pulled out their handouts. So I'm not sure what the crap he's been doing every day for the last two weeks, but needless to say, I was angry.

In that same day, Aiden "Satin" made me angry also. He was being rowdy and looking for ways out of his work. He stayed after to apologize to me. I thought it was sweet.

The other day we were reading in Walk Two Moons. I let students volunteer to read the parts of certain characters. Following is an accurate excerpt from that reading. Mrs. Winterbottom is the mother, and Phoebe is the daughter.

Mrs. Winterbottom stabbed the brownies with a knife. "Want one?" she asked.

"They're burned," said Phoebe. "Besides, I'm too fat."

"Oh, sweetie, you're not fat," Mrs. Winterbottom said.

The reading had gone smoothly up until this point, or as smoothly as you could expect from an 8th grade class. So I read the narration, *Rheanna read the part of Mrs. Winterbottom, and *Andrea read the part of Phoebe.

Me: Mrs. Winterbottom stabbed the brownies with a knife.

Rheanna: Want one?

Me: She asked.

Andrea: They're burned

Me: said Phoebe.

Andrea: Besides, I'm too fat.

Rheanna: Oh, sweetie, you're not that fat.

As you can imagine, laughter erupted in the classroom due to that tiny four letter word that Rheanna added. Let's be honest, a mother telling her daughter she's not that fat is pretty hilarious.

It was a great little moment.

Another learning moment for me: check and re-check worksheet questions to make sure they are clear for students. It's a pain to have to explain to six classes what you REALLY meant to ask. My bad.

I've been collecting the journals on a weekly basis and getting them done before 4 o'clock on Thursdays and Fridays. So cool! I like it way better that way. It's so fast.

I had ward visits the other night. It was fun. Hopefully I can remember the names of the people who let us in. I'm so bad at it, I feel like. I've got so many names in my brain.

Anyway, I worked from 7:30 AM to 5:00 PM today, and then at Blockbuster from 6 PM to 11:30 PM. Needless to say, I'm beat.

Generally though, life is good and manageable with lots of hiccups in between. God is good, my friends.

*names changed to protect students' identities*

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Away We Go

I don't know how many of you take my movie suggestions into consideration, but I most enjoyed Away We Go, which I watched tonight shortly after I got home.

There are a few reasons I loved it. But the only one I really want to address is this movie's totally raw and realistic approach to parenthood. I adored the characters and their desire to provide a good home and family for the baby they were bringing into the world.

It was incredibly entertaining, with totally out there, hilarious characters. But my favorite characters were Verona and Burt's college friends Tom and Munch Garnett.

I am so obsessed with words that I will sit down and pause and play and pause and play a movie part to type out everything in a scene that I like. So I wanted to share with you what I thought was one of the most touching moments in the movie. Tom explains how to keep a family together:

Tom: What you need to be happy and sane is this! *holds up syrup* Watch this, OK? Here’s you two guys. OK, here’s you two guys. OK, so you kiss, you do other things, and then you make a baby. Baby comes in there and nestles in and you guys come and you get real tight. And then you do this, and this, and there *sticking toothpicks in pancakes*, and this *places coaster on top*. It’s your house. What is this? Is that a home? Is that a family? No! No, of course not. That’s just the raw material—the people, the walls, the furniture. OK so that’s the basics, but that’s not a home! That’s not a family. What binds it all together is this! *holds up syrup again* This is love.

*Pours syrup on toothpick home*

This is your love guys. Here it comes: patience, your consideration, your better selves. Man you just have no idea how good you can be, but you have to use all of it—all of it! It’s not like simple masonry where you use a little layer of mortar between each row of bricks. No, with this, you have to use tons of it. For every brick there’s a half ton of mortar.

Verona: I thought we were talking about syrup.

Tom: Mortar, syrup, syrup, mortar, it’s all the same; it’s the glue. It’s all those good things you have in you—the love, the wisdom, the generosity, the selflessness, the patience. The patience! At 3 am when everyone’s awake because Ibrahim is sick, and he can’t find the bathroom, and he just puked in Katya’s bed. Patience when you blink—when you blink—and it’s 5:30 and it’s time to get up again and you know you’re going to be tired all day, all week, all your *expletive* life and you’re thinking, “What happened to Greece? What happened to swimming naked off the coast of Greece?” And you have to be willing to make the family out of whatever you have.

Munch: You have to be so much better than you ever thought.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Lost and Found

Remember a long time ago when I was trying to find my Christmas presents for my dad, and I checked and re-checked a place I had already looked before? Then I prayed and I found it?

Well, it happened again tonight.

I should preface this by saying that my little red Emtec 4 GB jump drive has my whole teaching life on it. I've been having the thought repeatedly that I needed to back up my little drive before it crashed or before I lost it.

So earlier today I was working on a lesson plan before going to my grandma's house. Then I shut my computer and put it to sleep. I threw it on top of my clothes in my laundry basket to take it down to my car.

On my way out the door I noticed a large amount of trash on our doorstep that needed to be taken to the dumpster. So I did a spectacular balancing act holding my blue flimsy laundry basket full of clothes, a bottle of liquid Tide, dryer sheets, and my huge laptop, extended battery, and plug all in my left arm while trying to grab a large box and full bag of trash with my right hand. I got down the first flight of stairs and on to the second flight when I felt everything slipping.

So I set all my stuff down and readjusted. I put my laptop under some clothes so it wouldn't be on top and ready to slip off so easily. I grabbed everything, walked out of my hallway to the north and headed down the sidewalk to my car.

I set everything down on the sidewalk, and I unlocked my car. I put my laundry basket and all its items within on the backseat of my car. Then I walked with the trash over to the dumpster.

I drove to my grandma's up in Lehi, took my laptop out and put it on the couch, got my laundry started, and sat down to work on my lesson plans. I suddenly felt my head get burning hot as I looked down and saw that my red Emtec jump drive was no longer attached to the USB port on my computer. "Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh!" I was thinking as I retraced my steps mentally and thought of all of the ways and places it could have come off.

I ran out to my car really quickly and frantically looked all over the seat, digging my hands into the depths of my car cushioning. Then I ran downstairs and stopped the washing machine and threw out and shook out all of my clothes. Then I shook them out as I threw them back IN to the washer. It wasn't in there, thank goodness. I was starting to get a little upset at this time, sweating from stress and crying out of total loss of everything I had created to make my life run more smoothly. I knelt down at the bottom of my grandma's stairs and said a quick prayer to please help me calm down and to please help me find my jump drive because it's so important to me, begging Him to please not let this happen to me. I ran back upstairs and out to my car AGAIN thinking maybe I hadn't looked hard enough. I sat in my car totally upset. My uncle Dave came out to look with me. I really appreciated his concern. We found nothing.

I went back inside and calmed myself down. I sat on the couch and tried to think of what I could do. I still had four files open on my computer: my unit goals/map, one lesson plan, my lesson schedule for the week, and my document full of online ideas for Walk Two Moons. "Well, I'll just go from here," I thought. "I could be starting from nothing, but I've got something, so I'll just use this and plan my lessons."

I called my home teacher to see if he was at home and could retrace my steps for me. He wasn't home. I called my friend Karli. My ever-reliable and loving friend Karli. She retraced my steps for me and went out to the sidewalk and texted me back saying she hadn't found anything. She told me, "Well, it's not on your stairs or out by the sidewalks, so it should just be in your apartment! Don't worry." I thanked her and said I owed her one, but I felt stressed.

Suddenly, a feeling of total calmness just washed over me. I heard a voice say, "Janae, it's in the grass. Karli didn't find it because she looked on the sidewalk. You crossed the grass."

"OK," I thought. "It's going to be OK."

I texted my roommates letting them know that I had lost this all-important electronic device and to keep their eyes open for me. One roommate told me by text that she hadn't seen it. I felt disappointed, but again, the calm feeling and steady voice that said, "Janae, it's in the grass. You'll find it when you get home. Be still, and work."

"OK," I thought again. "I'll find it when I get home."

I sat at that couch and finished a lesson plan. I ate dinner and felt completely fine--enough to share a funny story about my eighth grade class from the other day.

When I finished dinner, I sat down and did the rest of my lesson plans for the week. I was done with this whole week's plans by 7:30. I got my laundry and left my grandma's to try to beat the darkness so I could look for my drive myself.

I pulled in, and unfortunately the flashlight in my car was broken. So I got all my stuff and ran upstairs. I set everything down and grabbed my red flashlight out of the kitchen drawer.

I slowly retraced my steps, going down each step on my stairway really slowly. I walked out on the sidewalk toward my car, flashing my light on the left side and the right side, onto the edges of the walk where it meets the grass. I noticed that the grass was wet and hoped that my jump drive hadn't gotten wet if it got sprinklers on it. But other than that, I didn't see anything and wondered if my flashlight would be sufficient enough for me to see it.

"Of course it will. It's bright red. It will reflect your light," I told myself. I kept looking. I got down on my knees and shone the light under my car and the car next to it. I was starting to despair a little but didn't panic.

I got up and remembered the first counsel that I had heard earlier, "Janae, it's in the grass." So I walked back toward my apartment, crossing the grass this time. I took two steps and there on the grass in front of me, reflecting my light, was my red Emtec jump drive. I grabbed it anxiously and ran back up to my apartment.

I pulled out my rice and a small tupperware container to dry out my glorious wet lifesaver overnight before trying to test it out.

So there it sits on my dresser, waiting to be tested tomorrow. And if it doesn't work? Well, I probably should have heeded the promptings to back up my things.

And... At least He helped me find it.

I love prayer.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Parent-Teacher Conferences and Blessings

So, in my blatant honesty and openness I think everyone's gotten the impression that I'm not perfect. This would be an extremely accurate perception. I'm an even worse person than I seem to be on my blog because, let's face it, I can go back and edit this. Plus my blog doesn't follow me around, documenting my every word and deed. And thank heaven for that.

While I'm thanking heaven that my blog doesn't document every one of my faults, I also have to note that heaven is where the record is kept.

In light of my new calling and my ever-growing desire to improve, I've been praying for a LOT of help. I have so many shortcomings that make me feel like I'm hardly in a position to stand as a leader or be an example or even a friend to the women in my Relief Society. I've prayed fervently recently regarding some of these things.

I noticed today that a lot of my consistent shortcomings have gotten better. I'm so grateful for the Lord's help when I ask for it. I'm feeling so blessed in this calling and in my efforts to be better for the sake of his daughters. Prayer is awesome. The Lord is awesome.

Switching gears a little bit...

I experienced another milestone as a teacher last night. I was at school from 7:30 AM till around 8:15 PM. Almost thirteen hours at school. Why, you ask? Because I had parent-teacher conferences.

For the most part it was extremely boring. Not a lot of parents came, which is probably the reason I have 65 Incompletes (D or below) in my classes, right? I'm not sure how much of it is lack of parent involvement, how much of it is my fault as the teacher, and how much of it is a total lack of responsibility which I can't comprehend in the least.

I had a few parents though who were concerned about their students and were right on top of them to bring those grades up. Some came to hear how great their kid was.

What I noticed in all of this conversation about my students was how smiley I was. I was genuinely happy to talk to these parents and to tell them that I love their students, and to tell them genuinely where I think their students could improve. I believe I was tactful. And I was so grateful for the parents who were open to these suggestions.

I had some parents suggest that I spend time on grammar and punctuation (which study has shown should be taught VERY differently than how our parents learned it, mind you), and one complain about my limitations as far as what I accept on the reading log. I took these suggestions into consideration, and I think I took them in stride.

What was most awesome aside from how genuinely smiley I was (honestly, my face was hurting after the day was over, haha), was how many Spanish speaking parents came. Most of them had translators with them, but for the most part, I didn't need their help. I was able to talk to them about their students' accomplishments and where they fell short. I told them what their students were required to do, and I told them what a pleasure it was to have their kids in class. I got two or three compliments on my Spanish, and the parents totally followed what I was saying; what I didn't know how to say, I was happy to hear the translators say because I was able to refresh my memory. It was SO awesome, and it did wonders for my confidence in speaking this language. I was so glad I could help them, and I was so grateful I have spent so much time studying Spanish. These parents care about their kids enough to not let the language barrier get in the way of trying to help them in school! It was so awesome guys, seriously. Did I mention it was awesome?

I was proud of myself, but mostly I was happy to be able to help them and talk to them in their own language, and hopefully make them feel more comfortable while I felt totally insecure. As the day went on though I was feeling better and better about my ability to communicate with them. Confidence boost to the max.

After my ridiculously LONG day... I went outside to my car. It had stormed yesterday, so when I walked out the ground was wet. I looked up at the sky though, and recognized the enormous tender mercy that the Lord had given me yesterday. The left over clouds from the storm were lingering in the westward sky. The sun had set, but its remnants were still lighting up the sky so that dark blue and light gray colors painted the vastness in front of me. It was so beautiful that I was actually grateful for the time of day I left school.

I got in my car and drove around the corner to head home. Centennial sits on a big hill, so right as I was going down the hill, I saw a huge lit up building on the east mountain. It was the Provo Temple. I'm blind, so everything was totally dark in the hills around it. But that Temple stood bright and clear right in front of me. It was gorgeous. I was grateful for that, and for the huge and obvious reminder that I need to get back there as soon as possible, which is why I've pleaded for the Lord's help with improving.

I'm feeling unbelievably exhausted, but incredibly blessed in my efforts. God is good.

Overworked Spanish-speaking Teacher,
Out

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Long and Productive Day

This morning I had to be at school at 7 AM for a literacy meeting. I am therefore extremely sleepy. But we got free bagels. Yay-uh!

I planned a lesson today to have the students connect with a character in Walk Two Moons--Phoebe. After I read chapters 9 and 10 aloud to them, helping them with characterization throughout, I had them write down their favorite quote or saying on a little strip of paper. They each drew out someone else's message and answered a little worksheet about it the quote and about the message which Phoebe received ("Don't judge a man until you've walked two moons in his moccasins").

The kids loved it. Every period was extremely well-behaved. Sixth period was especially good because I made a deal with them. It also didn't hurt that the assistant principal sat in for half the period.

After reading the same two chapters six times and giving instruction all day, my voice is hurting bad. I stayed at school until around 4:30 taking care of random things like grading and sorting and planning.

After school I drove to a local credit union which offers low finance rates for teachers to figure out how to apply. Turns out I need a Utah driver's license. I'm in no hurry to get one of those, but I guess I might as well get it over with sometime.

I left the union pretty quickly--I could've just called and made my life easier. Oh well. I went to Maverik to fill up the air in my tires, again. The light has been on for the past few days. Kinda bugging me. So I took care of that.

Then I stopped at Costco to pick up my new membership card. We won't discuss the fact that my picture on the card is absolutely horrific. No, really. Horrific. After Costco, I went to Macey's. I figure I should try Costco for bigger, bulkier trips. That's the logic.

I got myself some foods and didn't spend very much money, which made me happy. I got home, put everything away, stuck something to eat in the toaster oven, and continued grading. I graded and ate until a Relief Society presidency meeting at 7:30. That went quite fast, and I stayed after a while to make our magnet cards for everyone in R.S. to know who their presidency is. I actually had a great time with the president and new first counselor. They're great, and I'm glad to be serving with them. I've been praying every day to be prepared and able to do my calling and to set an example and for help to be (and feel) worthy of this calling. It is exciting, and I do feel blessed for my efforts lately. Anyway, I left Holly's around 8:15, too late to wind down by baking, which is what I originally wanted to do. (Baking is a great way for me to unwind. That banana bread turned out really good, by the way. It was slightly dry, so I'll use butter and probably a little more banana next time. Anyway, instead of baking, here I am blogging, since I rarely ever get to do it. It works for unwinding.)

So back home at 8:15, I finished grading some worksheets. I entered the scores, and here I sit blogging.

I have parent teacher conferences coming up this Thursday which I need to prepare for, but all my grading is caught up so that feels good. I'm really nervous about it. I hope it goes well.

I still haven't sold Edna. I'm thinking I'll take her to my aunt's dad's car shop so he can sell it for me. It's even on Craigslist and KSL. :( Edna, get out of my life!

Last night, I graded papers and watched Dirty Dancing for a little Swayze nostalgia in his honor. It was really fun, actually. I feel so bad that he is gone. :(

In an effort to feel worthy of my calling, I've also tried (in the last two days--that's a long time, I know!) to start up consistent scripture reading again. It's made a HUGE difference in my day today and yesterday. I love the scriptures. They're awesome.

I miss my rabbit. I can't wait to move out of Crestwood and get a kitty or a little doggy. That will be fun, to have something ALIVE again!

Tomorrow I need to do a reflection/narrative for my internship and also attempt to plan out next week (and all related worksheets/needed copies). It should be a productive day because 8th graders are doing ITBS testing, whatever that means. All it means to me is that I'll be able to sort today's worksheets in files, print out progress reports, get my cart and student files ready, plan next week and order copies, send a narrative to my professor, and figure out how to get Edna sold. I am really, really, really tired and am honestly probably going to be in bed within the next half hour.

While I miss the friends I used to have, and while I find myself lonely and tired and wanting "somebody" pretty frequently, and while this challenge is hard to go through "alone," I still feel immensely blessed, especially as I put more effort into being better. My kids were great today, my lesson plans are going well, I'm healthy (as in "not sick," but I desperately need to get on a workout schedule again in hopes of feeling less exhausted and less obese), and I'm enjoying my demanding calling. I also love my roommates. And I get to go home in a month exactly, plus a month after that for Thanksgiving. I am excited. Yay for vacations!

Wish me luck in my ongoing adventure.

Miss Balibrea, Out

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Banana Bread and Satin

I'm making my first attempt at banana bread. It is in the oven right now. I can smell it as I type. And it smells oh so delicious. Let's hope I'm successful.

In other news, I've decided I need to make it a priority to record my funny, frustrating, and saddening stories from my first year of teaching.

I'll start with the first couple. I have several already, but some of them aren't funny without names, and if I changed the names, I don't think they'd be as funny. Anyway, stories one and two, both having to do with the same student whom we'll falsely call Aiden.

I have a very noisy student. I think he's great, and hilarious, which is tricky for disciplining. How can I discipline if I laugh? Anyway, he likes to make noise in whatever way he can. One day while I was going over the syllabus, he finally stopped talking. But while I was talking, he was picking up his pen and dropping it on his desk repeatedly. Every three seconds or so, one could hear a very loud crash on a desk right in front of me. Finally, I stopped, slowly turned to Aiden, and said, "Aiden, gravity works... Every time."

Laughter broke out in the classroom, and Aiden slowly set his pen down and looked up at me sheepishly, embarrassed at the noise he had been making and the spectacle I had made of him.

Story number two: I passed out questionnaires to get to know my students. My first question asks about nicknames. Specifically, "Do you have a nickname, or another name you want to go by?" After completing their surveys, the students put them in their basket to turn in work. But Aiden proudly marched up to me, wanting to show me what his nickname is, proclaiming (as he pointed at his paper), "People really do call me this!" I stopped, looked at him, and asked, "People call you 'satin'?" He protested frustratedly, "NO! How do you spell it?!" And the last student across the room, on his way out, says, "It's S-a-t-a-n."

New name?: Aiden Satin.

I'll take pictures of my banana bread when it's done.

Teacher, out.