The Sort-of-Scientific Method

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Nov 22 2012

When Everything You Do Is Awesome

Day 52: Today lacked one salient theme, but it made up for that with several great moments, and all deserve to be captured here.

First period, AF asks me if she can be a background dancer for my performance in the talent show the next day. On the spot, I think to ask her to get the crowd amped instead by prompting a giant sing-a-long when I give a signal by scratching my head. She approves of this job.

Second period, IM is making faces because the turtle tank is in desperate need of cleaning. He says, “Mr. Adler, the tank smells gross.” Pause. “Can I give you some advice?” Me, sensing this advice has nothing to do with science class, and not feeling particularly patient: “No.” IM, sensing my lack of patience, and being a generally acquiescent guy: “Gotcha.”

Lunch is student council’s first sale of the year, and we’re selling popsicles. I’m not quite sure what we’re trying to make money for, but that’s neither here nor there. Given that I woke up to frost, I figured one in three kids would want a popsicle, max. I was wrong. After one grade’s lunch, we’d sold more than half the popsicles I had bought.

I got someone to watch the kids, sprinted to my car, sped to the closest grocery store, bought 120 more popsicles, and hauled ass back to school – just in time to sell to the 6th graders. The sale itself was a mess; students sold to the wrong classes, other students whines about having nothing to do, money was counted then recounted. But by the end of the day, my student council members were overjoyed at their most bountiful profit of $119.70.

Eighth period, I find JR – she who is relatively likely to be a hot mess any given day – during our review activity. After I quiz her, I am satisfied she can correctly estimate the elevation of a point on a topographic map, but she grabs me and says, “Wait!” Pause. “Can you give me another one? I want to make sure I get it.” Any student caring enough to ask me to quiz him or her again? Win. JR asking me? TRIPLE WIN.

By afternoon homework lab, I am literally falling asleep at a desk in the midst of student insanity. I change my plans from grading tests to cleaning the room so I can stay awake. As I clean, WD asks if I’m ready for my talent show performance. I say no. He says, “You’ll be awesome. Everything you do is awesome.”

My job, while exhausting as hell, is pretty great.

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Experimental Procedures of a Second-Year Teacher

Greater Boston
Middle School

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