Tag Archives: children

The problem with yearbooks

So it’s finally the end of my first year as a teacher (as mish-mashed as this year has been, it still technically counts as my first year teaching), and I’m realizing now more than ever there’s a problem with yearbooks. Not even so much the fact that my pictures end up in there (thankfully there are only two of me, and they’re both decent) but more the fact that kids want me to actually sign their yearbooks.

Now when I was a kid, I remember this as being a fairly happy and exciting time of year (not to mention the fact that school was OVER and it was SUMMER ERMEHGAD). Signing friends’ yearbooks, as well as the yearbooks of your sworn enemies (I swear, the end of the year brought out a different side of people, i.e. a fake side in which all differences from the past year were thrown aside in favor of a “best friends forever” vibe in which you were forced to sign all the yearbooks of people you couldn’t stand and who, in turn, were forced to sign yours, all the while done with a huge, drugged-out-psycho smile) was always a fun and easy task, because you knew these kids and had probably spent at least the last year of your school career with them, if not longer. So finding the right words to put into each and every person’s yearbooks was never a particularly difficult task. And if all else failed and I couldn’t find the right words, I’d just default on my name and a skillfully drawn doodle of Trogdor. But I’m not sure anyone would get it if I drew a Trogdor in their yearbook (nor would that be deemed acceptable as something a teacher should write in their students’ yearbooks).

Now the advantage I had all year with my crazy, pieced-together job position is that I’ve basically had the chance to teach almost every kid in the school at one point or another, so I can probably recall on command about 98% of the students’ names. So when approached by kids I’ve probably only seen a few dozen times all year to sign their yearbooks, I have no problem remembering who the fuck they are. The problem I’m having is that I don’t know know most of the kids that WELL, so I end up writing the same generic garbage in about 98% of the yearbooks I sign. I can only hope they don’t compare notes and realize I’m just a horrible, lazy, unoriginal fraud of a teacher. To me, it just seems like a lot of pressure for a teacher to endure. I mean, I had to put up with you all year and impart wisdom on you and now you expect me to write some eloquent, meaningful goodbye note in your yearbook? Such high demands, kids. I mean, really, c’mon. I should just start writing random facts in there. For example: “When I was 10 years old, I had a pair of mittens. Love, Ms. Bodwell.” They probably wouldn’t get it, but it would be hilarious to me. I think I’ll go with that for next year. Done.

P.S. I realize this is also about a week late on my own part, but I guess that just makes me a procrastinator as well as a horribly unoriginal teacher. A lot of schools are just now getting out though, so I find some comfort in knowing I don’t completely suck. It’s not like I’m posting this in September guys, geez.


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From the strange minds of children

We’ve been heavy into FCAT the last few weeks at work, so I figured I’d give my kids a break today with a fun writing exercise. Basically, I gave each student a different story start and they had about 5 minutes to continue the story. When it was time to switch, they each had to continue the stories their peers had started until it was time to switch again and finish the stories. So they got to collaborate on different stories in a fun way. Working with elementary students, I can usually expect to get silly responses when it comes to creative writing, but there are always a few that are especially goofy and make even me laugh when the kids are presenting. Here are two of my favorites:

When I got to school today, there was a new girl in my class. I walked over to her and asked her what her name was and I asked her where she was from and she said she was from Mars. Then I just ran away because she was an alien. She was sick so every time she coughed on someone, she turned them into an alien. Then there was a new kid in the other class named Eliot. Eliot liked her and kissed her. Eliot turned into an alien. Everyone was shocked. But then her father came and said “come on dear” and then he saw Eliot and said “what a handsome boy you are and you and my daughter will get married and we will have a lovely feast and have a party.” The end.

When I was walking home from school, I saw an elephant in the middle of the road. Then there was a BMW coming toward the elephant, then the BMW hit the elephant and he went to Uranus and he had a broken leg. Then Sacajawea popped out of his head and said “the wind will carry you to the place.” The elephant was very hungry and thirsty so Sacajawea had some food and water but the elephant was still hungry so he ate Sacajawea. The elephant was highly trained but it destroyed Mars, and Earth. The end.

It may not be award-winning material, but these kids sure know how to entertain me.

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What Easter means to me (absolutely nothing)

About 13 years ago, I found out the Easter Bunny wasn’t real. I was 12 years old.

I’m actually surprised I made it to that age. Nowadays, kids are finding out these mythical creatures don’t actually exist at much younger ages (or maybe I was just an unusually late case; or maybe both). My brother and sister never ruined it for me and my parents let me go on believing, probably (if I had to guess) because they didn’t want to ruin the magic for me. I positively hated them when they told me. I actually threw myself onto the floor, started crying and screaming “you lied to me! my life is over! they aren’t real?! how could you do this to me!?” Or something to that extent, I can’t actually remember verbatim (although my mom remembers vividly, and enjoys telling the story every chance she gets). I don’t blame them for telling me; I was, after all, in middle school by that point, and starting to get into verbal arguments with kids at school over it. Basically, other kids would try and convince me that it wasn’t real, that our parents snuck into our rooms late at night and took the teeth from under our pillows, replacing it with money, or that it was really they who left presents in our stockings and under the tree. I wasn’t buying it. I had hardcore evidence, after all. Like the time “Santa” (aka MY FATHER) left a boot print in the soot inside the chimney. Or how the cookies were ALWAYS gone. And how that one time I heard the reindeer on the roof (still not sure about that one; how could my dad get up on the roof, anyway? It’s not like he was a carpenter and had ladders and spent a lot of time on roofs anyway…oh wait…never mind).

So basically I had my hopes and dreams crushed by my elders, never to trust or believe in anything ever again. And then shortly thereafter, it was Easter Sunday.

We spent the first Easter after “the horrible revelation” at our cousin’s house in Maryland. I remember waking up Easter morning and being so bitter, watching the younger kids joyful and somewhat confused at how a bunny had snuck into the house while everyone slept and left them treats. I, however, knew the truth, and sulked in the corner. My mom pulled me into the laundry room, ashamed and belittled (as she SHOULD feel after destroying her daughter’s dreams forever), and offered me an Easter basket she had put together for me, claiming that even though I knew it was no longer real, she still wanted me to enjoy the holidays and believe in the “magical” part of it all. Whatever that means. I accepted the basket (obviously, there were toys and chocolate in that thing), but I never quite felt the magic the same way from that day forward. Depressing, I know. I never said this story would be happy. Oh wait, it gets better. Not.

So that night my dad calls from our house in Pennsylvania to tell me that my guinea pig, Hairball, had gotten really sick and didn’t look like he was going to make it. My dad stayed with him through the night, holding him and making him as comfortable as he possibly could while he lived out his final moments, but Hairball didn’t make it and I never got a chance to say goodbye. So, while everyone was all excited that Jesus had risen, I had to endure the loss of my childhood innocence AND my loving and faithful pet Hairball. Talk about a rough time.

So Easter doesn’t really hold a special place in my heart anymore. Not that it ever really did, because I’m not religious and don’t really care that “the tomb is empty” or whatever.

But really, what’s the point of celebrating a holiday if a giant (albeit, somewhat scary) bunny ISN’T going to break into your house while you sleep, eat your raw vegetables and leave you candy as a means of saying sorry for the breaking and entering? I just don’t see why I should bother anymore.

Does anyone else remember how they “found out” or have any Easter stories that maybe aren’t so depressing? Do share, I could use a good laugh right now. I guess if all else fails I can just go laugh at this Easter post from last year.

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4 steps to becoming a terrible parent

With my second year as a camp counselor at an end, and my first year as a school teacher (hopefully) about to begin, it seems only appropriate that I reflect on the difficult job that is: being a parent.

Not a parent yet myself, I can only imagine what it must be like to constantly endure the beautiful little pains-in-the-ass that are children. Now first of all, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE children, el oh vee ee love them. But they can be difficult and trying and no matter how you raise them will probably always try and test your nerves sometimes. But you can give yourself (and those who will become their nannies and babysitters and educators) a fighting chance by raising them right and being a good parent and at least trying to make sure they grow up to be a positive addition to society. But in case you’d rather screw them up, guarantee them a hard life and generally piss off anyone and everyone they come into contact with from here on out, here are 4 steps to becoming a terrible parent.

1. Perform lawn care with your children at a dangerous distance. With all the recent “accidents” involving lawn mowers and young children, it’s no surprise that this is number one on my list. To ensure you screw your child for the rest of their lives, run them over repeatedly with a lawn mower, weed wacker, hedge trimmer, etc. and then blame the tragedy on the manufacturers. Don’t forget to insist on stricter manufacturing regulations and sue for unsafe machine conditions. You will most likely lose and spend the rest of your life embarrassed by your amputee child.

2. Ignore your children at every available moment. This is especially effective when out in public and your child is screaming at the top of their lungs. This will also make them feel unwanted and worthless and will probably cause them to grow up unable to love and feel compassion for others, at which point they will probably wind up with twelve kids and no regard for anyone’s feelings but their own.

3. Teach them bad manners. Make sure it’s things like slamming doors in people’s faces, saying mean things to others, being selfish and generally disregarding anything and everything that does not affect them directly.

4. Tell them you don’t love them. Make sure you emphasize that they were a mistake and how you wish they were never born.

If all else fails, drop them off at the nearest orphanage and never look back.ugly children

In all seriousness though (I know, who ever thought I could be serious, right?), I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve had to work with kids. I’ve had some amazing campers in my class over the years, I’m blessed to nanny for the two coolest little people I know, and I’m so looking forward to beginning my career as an educator. I can’t wait to be a parent someday and do my best to raise my kids well, the way my parents raised me (most days), and in the meantime, I hope to make a difference in the lives of those unfortunate kids whose parents’ influence has contributed to this satirical list. And as for the ones who were raised right and still turned out to be horrible people, well, they’re just little shits, and there ain’t nothing to be done about that. Except maybe flip ’em off. Or feed them to hungry sharks. We’ll see.

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