Hold on to your backpacks because we’ve decided to dedicate this week to “Back to School.” So sharpen your Ticonderoga No. 2s and get ready. Today we are doing a little show and tell with some of our favorite school memories. Basically we are here to humiliate ourselves.
This is me in 3rd grade.
The stories basically write themselves. Therefore, I decided to recall some of my favorite memories from teaching. It was an 11 years chock full of good stories, so I’m heading down that route instead.
My actual teaching journey began in China. After I graduated, I went to grad. school to delay being an adult. Then I decided to teach in China for a year to delay being an adult in America another year. It was a good plan.
-Before I began to mold minds for a living, I had to learn how to properly do so. It was my junior year of college, and every morning 5 of us would carpool to Wauka Mountain Elementary and observe a teacher and help in the classroom for 3 hours. A few times each quarter we would teach a lesson and be observed by a professor. Something to know about me: When I get nervous, or when all attention turns to me, or even sometimes for NO apparent reason, my neck turns red and splotchy. I hate this. Well, it was one of my first times being observed, and I was working with a small group in a special ed. classroom. It was perfect timing for my neck to do what it does best. WELL IT WAS ALL THOSE 6 KIDS COULD FOCUS ON APPARENTLY. “Oooooooh Ms. Stewart’s got a hickey!” “What’s a hickey?” “Look!” “There it is!”
Ooof. I don’t even know what I said during those eternal 20 minutes. For all I know, I talked about the best Full House episodes because my mind couldn’t focus on anything except wanting to crawl under the table.
-My next memory is when I was student teaching my senior year in a 1st grade classroom. I remember it all so well. Once again, a professor was there to observe me. I had turned to write something on the board, and a kid said something that caused me to laugh. Well, Derricka with her giant pigtails that she wore every single day decided it was a good time to yell out, “Miss Stewart, when you laugh your booty goes like this!” While she said this, she rapidly moved her hand up and down. Can you picture it? Not the time, Derricka!
-I honestly had to narrow down my teaching memories. I have so many. This one doesn’t really have the focus on me, but I chose one of my very favorite memories from one of my favorite students. Yes, teachers have favorites. Well, this teacher did. I taught middle schoolers for 5 years. It honestly could have been a reality show; they were so entertaining. Twice a year, we would go on overnight trips with them. In the fall, our trip was to a campground for some team building. We took a bus about 2 hours away to the middle of nowhere Georgia to a camp completely isolated in the woods. Ethan was too smart for his own good, but he was also skeptical and nervous about new situations. It was his first time going to this camp from Deliverance. His mom texted another teacher and me when we arrived at camp and told us to please check Ethan’s pockets and belongings to see if he ran off with his birthday money. Sure enough, he had close to $300 cash in his pockets in case he didn’t like it there and “needed to call a cab.” Unfortunately, we weren’t camping in Times Square; there was not a cab in sight. He survived. He thrived, and it became a favorite memory of mine.
I shifted routes. This year will be year eight of my teaching career, but instead, I chose to share memories from my own school career. Yes, the good, the bad, and the hairy.
–First Grade was quite a time in my life. I have so many specific memories from that year. This one still haunts me. Our class went outside for some reading time. I remember exactly where I was on my school’s campus. I was sitting and trying to get some Henry and Mudge in, and J.W. Mize came over to me and said, “I didn’t know women had hairy legs.” I was traumatized, but I’ve heard through the grapevine that he’s been in and out of jail. Who’s laughing now, J.W.?
-My birthday is in August which obviously coincides with the start of the school year. My aunt and uncle gave me a hot pink Barbie backpack with lime green straps. I can see it clear as day in my mind. The picture below isn’t it, but it’s pretty close.
Anyway, I was so ashamed of that backpack. I thought it was beneath me, but I wouldn’t ask my mom for a new one. So instead of wearing it like a normal child, I would carry it in front of my legs with Barbie’s head facing my knees so no one would see that childishness holding my Lisa Frank Trapper Keeper.
I’ll be the first one to say that I was very spoiled at school. Our mom worked at the same small private school that we attended, and when all the other kids were eating PB&Js, I got to go to my mom’s classroom and she’d provide me with a hot lunch. #blessed Well, one fateful day, my mom had to go on a field trip, and she left me with a cheeseburger from Wendy’s that I could heat up in the microwave in the lunchroom. Yes, my 12 year old self actually had to warm my own
gourmet fast food burger. Do you know where this story is going? You probably do if you’ve ever eaten at Wendy’s. Their wrappers are made of aluminum foil. I popped that cheeseburger in the microwave then turned around to assess the lunchtime situation only to be jolted back to reality by the screams of my peers as my cheeseburger was going up in flames behind me.
I was really a model student. I worked hard, and I didn’t get in much trouble. So if I ever did get reprimanded, it’s cemented in my brain. We were sitting in pre-Calculus with Mrs. Amberly. Mrs. Amberly was fresh out of college teaching a senior math class, but she was an excellent teacher. I’m sure she still is. We follow each other on Instagram. Anyway, if you’ve ever spent any amount of time with me, be it small or large, you know that I think in song lyrics. You say a word, and it triggers something in my brain to recall a song with that word in it. Often, I don’t even realize I do it.
Mrs. Amberly was trying to show us how to get the derivative of a function, and she said, “We’re going to go down, down.” And my brain goes to “Sugar, We’re Going Down” by Fall Out Boy. So I start singing out loud and my friend, Brittany joined in “in an earlier round. Sugar, we’re going down swinging. I’ll be your number one with a bullet. A loaded gun complex cock it and pull it.”
I. Could. Have. Died. because Mrs. Amberly was NOT happy with our sing-a-long. Brittany and I are 30 years old, and we STILL talk about our humiliation in that moment.
Stop today and say a prayer for all the teachers out there. They have to deal with kids picking apart every imperfection and Fall Out Boy singalongs. Unsung heroes.