The Sort-of-Scientific Method

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Oct 19 2012

Happy Birthday To Me!

Day 31: Today was my 27th birthday. And my kids made it one I won’t forget. This is a recap of the highlights.

Thursday sucks for me. I don’t have an off period. So, I was sitting in the teacher’s lounge around 7:30 this morning, more than a little stressed, when roughly 12 sixth graders showed up outside the open door. Despite the presence of maybe six other teachers in the room, these students serenaded me with a loud and proud rendition of “Happy Birthday.” J, a student in my homeroom, then presented me with a card that had been signed by everyone in my homeroom.

First and second period, my student “I” – who, if you’ve been reading this week, you know is not exactly my best bud right now – was perfect. Participated, worked hard, the whole nine yards. Halfway through class, someone mentioned that it was my birthday. “I” stopped his work and said, “It’s your birthday and you didn’t tell me? That’s jacked.” In that moment, I felt as if our tough fall together was gone and forgotten. That would be wishful thinking, but I had the student I’d known from last year back for at least a day.

When you teach sixth period, you pick your kids up from lunch. I walked into the cafeteria, and was immediately overwhelmed by the sound of 98 or so sixth graders singing “Happy Birthday.” Well, singing might be kind; wailing is more appropriate. Every other word or so, a different sixth grader ran up to me to give me an attack hug.

Finally, my seventh period class – by far my cutest class – shows up, and immediately, N asks if they can sing “Happy Birthday.” We’re a minute late, and I’ve exceeded my song quota, so I said maybe at the end of class. I’d forgotten about it, but then we got to the end of class, and when I thanked them for being a part of a great birthday … the singing started. And this was some serious happy birthday-ing, with “cha cha cha” between each line.

I’m so tired that I fell asleep trying to type up my grad school homework on the T on my way to class tonight, fingers poised over my keyboard. That was six hours ago. And yet, thinking back on today, my kids made it a really special day for me. I’ve talked to friends and family this evening, and I loved hearing from all the people who care about me. But when the majority of the people you love and care about aren’t with you, it’s an incredible joy to know I have a family of 98 crazy 12-year-olds who will make sure my birthday gets celebrated in style.

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