Break Face contest finalists!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

I have never had so much fun reading emails in my life.

Over a hundred of you crazies emailed me your Break Faces, and over a hundred times I giggled, gasped, or said, "OH MY GOSH LOOK AT THIS ONE!!" to my roommate.  Even though I'm psyched to be on break myself, there's something about seeing everyone united in craziness and joy that just really makes my love muscles ache.

It was about as easy for me to pick finalists as it would be if you brought me to a zoo full of only baby animals and told me to pick only a few to bottle-feed (i.e. it was not easy at all).  But, as I do when I visits zoos full of only baby animals in my dreams, I eventually narrowed it down to the following eight contestants:

Contestant #1: Lori 

This was one of the first emails I received, and I'm pretty sure I clapped my hands with excitement. 

Contestant 2: Tara

My favorite is 3 PM.  And that you're trying not to laugh in 12 PM. 

Contestant 3: Melissa

I. cackled. 

Contestant 4: Kim

A bunch of you sent in some awesome paper-throwing pictures, but Kim took it to the next level by JUMPING. Awesome!

Contestant 5: Joann and Joann's Husband

Joann and her husband are both teachers, and I dare you to look at their Break Faces and not smile gigantically.  Also, if it looks like they are cold, it is because they live in the YUKON!

Contestant 6: McKenzie

We can file this under "Break Face pictures that made Ms. Teach laugh maniacally". 

Contestant 7: Brooke and Brooke's Mom

You and your mom are teachers + you get out for Christmas break + you have a tiny trampoline = this.  Beautiful.

Voting starts now and ends at 9:00 PM CST Sunday, December 22nd (that's tomorrow)!  
I hope you had fun taking the Break Face pictures, because I absolutely loved seeing all of them and reading your emails. Totally put me in the winter break spirit :) 


Or else.




Congratulations, KIM!!  Your paper-throwing brought joy to my (and the majority of voters') hearts.

Let's play this again in June :)


A Break Face Contest!

Sunday, December 15, 2013


My plans include:
  • Eating an overabundance of complex carbohydrates
  • Running to somewhat offset said carbohydrates and also to meet lots and lots of dogs
  • Reading the final installment of Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake series
  • Bribing my two year-old nephew with food, books, and dinosaur paraphernalia to love me best
Oh, and starting grad school!  I am PUMPED!

This year, to get the rest of you on my level of excitement (if you're not already there), I've decided to issue a little challenge.

The challenge is this: 

Take a photo of your Break Face, that is, your face the moment you are officially off work, and email it to me at It can be the second your classroom is empty, when you're walking (or running) to the parking lot, when you arrive home-- whatever you consider being "on break". If you're not so sure about sending your face, feel free to send a picture of your jazz hands or other school-appropriate body parts!

Since most teachers get out for break this week, I'm making the deadline for emailing me the photo Friday, December 20th at 11:59 P.M. I will choose the Break Faces that convey the most excitement and post some finalists here, right on this here web log, on Saturday the 21st**, then I'll have you beautiful specimens vote on a winner.

OH.  I almost forgot! I served TWO detention duties in the past couple of weeks so that I could afford the following prize:

A FIFTY dollar (that's $50) gift certificate to the wonderful world of Amazon!

So, to review: 

What: A contest for who has the best "I made it to Christmas break!" face
How to enter: Email your Break Face to 
When: Before 11:59 P.M. on Friday, December 20th (this Friday!!)
Why: WHY NOT?! And because also there's a gift card up for grabsies.

So get your Break Faces on, people.



*You also don't have to be a teacher (no discrimination here).  If you're not on break this week, you can always pretend! I'll never know! :)

**So don't put anything in your Break Face picture you wouldn't want the world to see, like the tops of your hairy feet or your DVD collection in the background that includes Baby Geniuses II.

Don't Date a Girl Who Teaches

Saturday, November 23, 2013

I stumbled across this sweet, darling blog post by another blogger entitled "Date a Girl Who Teaches".  It lists examples of traits common to teachers and explains why they would be desirable to men. Here's one:
It is easy enough to date a girl who teaches. She won’t want expensive gifts; you can buy storybook for her birthday, flowers for Teacher’s day, craft punchers for Christmas. You can buy her anything but please spare her with coffee mugs; she has lots from her students.
Positively saccharine.

I read the post, then immediately began writing my own version. Friends, I give you:

Don't Date a Girl Who Teaches

Let's say you meet a girl.  She's cute, fun, and when you ask her what she does for a living, she replies, smiling, "I'm a teacher." You probably jump to some positive conclusions about this girl.  She must be extremely patient and have the kindness of a Mother Theresa/lamb hybrid. You might even picture stock images of teachers, laughing as they point to vowels in a workbook, or smiling triumphantly as little Johnny correctly identifies Macedonia on a map of the world. You think about movies and TV shows you've seen where teachers like Hilary Swank, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Zooey Deschanel charm the socks off their students, overcome seemingly insurmountable odds, and manage to do it all while looking awesome. 

Well, I'm here to tell you to snap out of it. Here's what you're really in for.

She will speak to you as if you're a student when you're wrong in an argument (and probably if you're right, too).
She's highly trained in the art of keeping her cool in an argument, and one of those ways of keeping cool is delivering some of the most mind-blowingly annoying one-liners on the planet.  For example:
"Let me know when you're ready to take responsibility for your actions."
"Use your words."
"Was that a good choice?"
These statements and questions, disguised as innocuous, even gentle hints, are designed specifically to make you want to set yourself on fire.

She will go hours without responding to your telecommunication attempts, often without explanation.
If you're one of those people who expects to hear back when you text or call someone, you should probably steer clear of teachers. I know that personally, from about 10:30 PM to 5:30 PM the next day, it's a complete crapshoot whether I will reply at all, let alone promptly.  

She has a near-perfect BS detector.
You will get away with nothing. 

You thought PMS was bad? Try PEGPS.
PEGPS stands for Pre End-of-Grading-Period Syndrome, the period of time before grades are due for report cards. Like PMS, PEGPS is characterized by extreme irritability, poor nutritional choices, and zombie-like fatigue. However, unlike PMS, PEGPS lasts for 2-3 WEEKS and happens four to six times per YEAR. 

And when PEGPS overlaps with PMS, you'd better get the hell out of Dodge, my friend.

She will bring home every strain of every airborne disease within a 25-mile radius.
Hope your immune system's perfect.

She will compare all your problems/accomplishments to the papers she has to grade.
"Honey, I just qualified for the Boston Marathon!"
"Oh, please. I just graded 180 persuasive essays in one weekend."

"That was my mom on the phone. They just put my childhood dog down."
"You think that's depressing? Look at these literary analyses they turned in. Five weeks on this unit and they still can't come up with a decent thesis!"

She won't be able to see you ever, especially during DEVOLSON.
And if she is available, she will only want to watch a mindless movie at home in perfect silence.

If you decide to take her anywhere directly after work, just know that it will seem to others as if you are escorting around a cardigan-wearing, homeless witch with unexplainable stray marker/pen marks from wrist to elbow.

Fellas, let me save you some trouble. If you're in a bar and you see a woman in flats and a cardigan with an oversized shoulder tote asking about discounts, stay away.

Stay very far away.



P.S. I was kidding about everything.  You should totally date a teacher.  They're pretty faboosh.

The Doozy Year

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Year four.

Holy moly.

I’ve made a chart to organize and demonstrate the evolution of my beginning-of-year perspectives:

Year number
What I thought it would be like:
What it was really like:
Freedom Writers, inspirational Teach for America promotional videos, puppies, rainbows, etc.
One giant, beastly (but beautiful) learning curve. Learned to respect myself enough to require it from students. Learned 1,000 teaching methods that don’t work (and about 10 that do). How to get what I want from students and parents.  How to adjust when I don’t get I want nearly all the time from administration.
That being on the leadership team as department chair would give me a voice to change the school, thus leading to puppies and rainbows
Discover that “leadership” means “dumping grounds” to my administration. Work and teach in a culture driven by fear. Find out what it means to be feel powerless and valueless.
~~~Transition to new school/district~~~~
Terrible. The end of my teaching career. Death. (Still thawing out from previous school.)
Puppies, rainbows, etc.
Mostly puppies and rainbows, but probably a few cockroaches and flash floods

Two things are going to make this year a little bit of a doozy. For one, I am completely altering my teaching style.  For the past three years, I’ve been teaching by the traditional daily lesson plan model because it was best for me. For the record, I’m not knocking that at all; I think new teachers should absolutely try to go by what’s best for them or they’ll die/burn out.  But now that I’m feeling more confident in my classroom management and ability to plan, my focus has shifted to thinking about what’s best for my students.  And right now I think what’s best for them is giving them the element of choice, helping them develop a sense self-reliance and responsibility, and facilitating their learning instead of dictating it.

Under the workshop model, I’ll direct teach on Monday and Tuesday of the week, then Wednesday through Friday students will be working on completing 3-4 assignments related to that week’s teaching independently or in groups with me going around the room to check progress.  The student chooses his/her own seat (unless I see it’s not working for them), as well as the order and pace to complete the assignments. Phones are OK (for reference purposes). Listening to music is OK.

Sound crazy? Yeah. Don’t worry. It does to me, too. The micromanager inside me is throwing a tantrum on the floor of myself.  But I just can’t have another year of students not knowing what to do about ant-covered Cheetos or I will end up in a mental institution.

The other doozy-ish item on my agenda is that this year I’ll be starting a graduate program in Creative Writing. I know, teaching, M.F.A. in Creative Writing-- I’m just all about those dollar bills, y’all! I’m completely psyched to be a student again and to be in a community of writers, but I know it’s going to come with an at-times frustrating and tearful period of transition.

So why take on two huge changes in one year? Why not do either grad school OR reinventing my classroom model?  I can’t really tell you (glutton for punishment?).  All I know is that if I hold off on either of those, either my students miss out on life or I do.

And that’s a decision I just don’t care to make.

Let’s all grab 2013-14 by the horns.


Dodge Teach

The Top Ten Things I Wish I'd Known as a First-Year Teacher

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

I blame the following for my nearly month-long blogging hiatus:

-State standardized testing
-Applying to grad school (%**@IFHDJFD#%*#@RE$$W)
-Promptly quitting Crossfit three weeks later and taking up running in the morning at 5:15
-Deciding to coach soccer
-Creating a book study with some friends
-Writing up and teaching a research unit
-Writing finals

Also, one of my students brought a ten-pound tray of fruit his mom had chopped up to a class party and I ate roughly half of it and had diarrhea for 24 hours straight.  That has nothing to do with my blogging ability, but I just thought you should know.  

Summer? You come now? 

Anyway, I’m really excited to be writing this post. I've found myself reflecting on my first year a lot in the past few months-- I think partially because I work with so many newbies and feel like somewhat of a Yoda/mother hen hybrid toward them, but also because I'm far enough removed from my first year now to think about it without experiencing PTSD.  I feel a strong sense of purpose in trying to help new teachers, and wanted to share things that have been game-changers for me; things that I've either learned myself (the hard way) or that others have passed on to me that have made my life as a teacher drastically easier, better, and more fun.  I hope you'll share this with a new teacher or a soon-to-be new teacher, or, if you’re a veteran, that you'll share some things that helped you when you were a new teacher in a comment.  

If you’re not a teacher and don’t know any new teachers and don’t care about advice, I hope you at least found the diarrhea story funny.

Ready? Here we go.

The Top Ten Things I Wish I'd Known as a First-Year Teacher

1) Don't eat lunch in the teachers' lounge.
Why? See my post on the Perpetually Negative. That's where they eat (at least at my school). 

2) Post instructions as often as possible on the board

It sounds unnecessary and/or like something you should only be doing for kindergartners, but it completely revolutionized my classroom management.  As much as possible, post exactly what students are supposed to be doing and be as specific as you can.  Every day when students come in, I have posted what materials they should have, what they should be doing, and how much time they have to do it after the bell rings.

This eliminates two major stressors, at least for me: one is students using the excuse "Oh, I didn't know," the other is having to repeat myself. By late September, if a student is still asking “What do we need today?”, most of the time another student will take over your response for you (“It’s on the board!!”)

I also post instructions for what to do when they're done with a test or quiz, what they can be doing during structured free time, and any other time where I have a feeling they could become forgetful.

3) Use teacher detentions for minor infractions 

For students who forget materials consistently, won’t follow directions, can't stop talking, do nothing, are marginally sassy, or for other behavior that doesn't quite warrant a write-up, use a teacher detention. These are informal detentions that don't go on school record, but can be used as documentation if the behavior continues. Really, it's just closer to Time-Out for older kids. You can arrange these detentions with a student before or after school, but taking them out of lunch is particularly effective.

But the other great thing about teacher detentions is the appreciation you'll get from your administrator. APs get a ton of office referrals for minor infractions that technically should be dealt with by a teacher, and nine times out of ten the teacher won't have called a parent OR taken any documentable steps to correct the behavior themselves. Teacher detentions will cut back on the amount of actual referrals you write, so that when your AP does get a referral from you, they'll say, "Yikes-- Ms. Lang hardly ever uses referrals, AND Johnny skipped her detention. TO THE CHOKEY WITH JOHNNY!"

Just kidding. Here at Love, Teach we don't advocate The Chokey. But you get the idea.

4) Procedure the heck out of everything 

The first 2-3 weeks are the most important of the school year in terms of getting what you want from your students. You can either set up your classroom as a place where things get done safely and efficiently, or a place where the students call the shots and you are constantly in need of shock therapy. Read The First Days of School by Harry Wong, the procedures guru. Here's how Wong's method works.

First, you need to figure out exactly how you want everything done. What do I mean by everything? The way students enter and exit, when they can sharpen pencils, if and how they will borrow pencils from you, what heading they will use on their papers, what to do when a visitor walks in, how to ask to go to the bathroom, how you will get their attention quickly, how students will pass in papers, how to work in groups, how to demonstrate active listening, etc. Then, have students practice these procedures until they are not just ok, but perfect.  This can take anywhere from 1-3 weeks. (I have about 25 procedures and it took me 2 weeks this year with 50-minute classes.) Only once your students have mastered your procedures can you begin real instruction.

Crazy, right? I know it may sound a little brainwash-y and restrictive, but having these procedures in place actually allows you and your students more freedom in the long run.  It builds trust and your students will feel secure.  Just read the book, pretty please.

5) Don't ever be less than 100% nice and accommodating to clerks/receptionists

As far as the title of this list goes, I'm kind of cheating since I am fortunate enough to have received this piece of advice before I started my first year, but I still wanted to include it because it's uber important, ja. Just off the top of my head I can think of four new teachers at my school that are currently suffering from bad relationships with staff members, and can think of probably ten other teachers that have been through the same thing over the past couple of years at different schools. You should know three important things about clerks and receptionists:

  1. They work the closest with and talk most often to the people who hire, fire, appraise, and make other important decisions
  2. They are often the ones in charge of assigning things that can either be really helpful or a huge pain for teachers (lunch duty, testing assignments, substitute arrangements, etc.)
  3. They do a LOT of behind-the-scenes stuff (and for a lot less money than we get).
Do you see how critical it is to be nice to them?

So send kids to the front office the moment they call for them, or complete tasks as soon as they ask even if it's a little inconvenient. Try to ask on a regular basis what you could do to make that person's job easier, because not everyone appreciates them.  And mark Staff Appreciation Day on your wall calendar, little black book,  phone alarm, forehead, etc.

While you're at it, it's a good idea to try to be nice to everyone as much as possible, but let's be real, it doesn't always happen. If you are cranky, try to find a teacher to be cranky towards, since they are emotionally desensitized to rudeness. Then apologize later and send him/her three of your nicest pens. 

6) Think really hard about friending anyone from school on Facebook

First, let me be clear that I have nothing incriminating or that I feel I would need to hide on any form of social media (except maybe my high school Xanga, but that's because it's frighteningly annoying). I'll be the first to tell you that my life outside of school is about as risqué as a Puritan's. But I still wish I'd never friended any of my current colleagues. Why?
  • You will find out things about other teachers you wish you hadn't.  This never occurred to me because I was way more concerned with what my colleagues would become privy to in my life than the other way around. You might find out that the math teacher down the hall apparently often comes to school after pretty intense "nights on the town," or that the history teacher you thought was precious and grandfatherly is actually a total bigot. Some information might just be annoying or disappointing, and some may leave you feeling obligated to report them.
  • Once you friend one colleague, you may find yourself friending all your colleagues.  All of them.  ALL of them. Think about it. 
  • You won't miss out on anything.  You and your coworkers will swap stories and pictures of anything important at lunch or after school, and happy hours and get-togethers are usually arranged via school email anyway.
 I mean, what? I don't know anything about that.

7) Be firm, but kind.

A very wise teacherwoman told me this little phrase about halfway through my first year and I've never forgotten it. I think it instantly stuck because I realized it was true of the approach of all the teachers who have had the greatest impact on me.  

Firm, but kind.  If you're firm without being kind, you're unapproachable and cannot inspire.  If you're kind without being firm, you're unstable and a doormat.  It has to be both.

8) Set life boundaries

My first year got dramatically better once I started setting boundaries. I decided in January of my second semester that I would not stay at school to work past the two-hour mark after the last bell, and that I would not, under any circumstances, work on Sundays. This meant that my to-do list was a little longer and that occasionally I'd have to take work home, but on the plus side, I got to be a real person.  I've changed my boundaries since then-- sometimes I have to make exceptions when I'm behind or notice that something's not working-- but the process of creating and respecting boundaries is now just as important as the things on either side of them.

Make fun weekly plans with people on the same days each week and follow through with them.  Don't cancel plans to grade papers or do anything that isn't extremely time sensitive-- your work WILL get done. If you're having a particularly bad day, make a list of all the awesome things you're going to do when you leave and commit to leaving as soon as possible after the bell. Here's an example of what my list might look like.

This is just a hypothetical list I made (I actually haven't had any truly horrible days this year!), but you can easily see where using foot moisturizer ranks in my list of life's pleasures. Sad.

9) Don't compare yourself to other teachers about things that don't matter.

I think I'm a pretty good teacher. My kids learn a lot every year and I try really hard to get them to think critically and creatively, love reading, and believe in themselves and important things. But sometimes I look at other teachers and feel like a big, gigantic loser. These teachers change their bulletin boards monthly and have rotating charts for classroom jobs (you know, Errand Runner, Materials Manager, etc.) complete with salaries and "official" job applications that have to have references. They have a classroom currency system with monthly silent auctions. They write their students handwritten letters for all major holidays including Arbor Day.

When I first realized I wasn't those teachers, I felt inadequate. 

But when I realized that I wasn't those teachers, but that that was okay, I felt empowered. I will NEVER have class jobs! I tried them one year and it felt so hokey, lame and awkward! I change my hallway bulletin board maybe once a year, or whenever the girls with good handwriting in my 5th period have finished their tests early. I am not too worried about my students moving on to 8th grade without the real-world knowledge of how to participate in a silent auction. Those things just don't work for me as a teacher, but it doesn't mean I'm not doing enough, or that I'm not enough. I do plenty of things really well that other teachers can't, like singing a made-up song about putting your name on your paper to the tune of "My Heart Will Go On." #highlyqualified.

Now, I say "about the things that don't matter" because there are times when you should compare yourself to other teachers and care about it. You probably shouldn't ignore another teacher's students outperforming yours by a 30-point average, or every one of your students signing a petition for your retirement. But don't sweat the small stuff.

10) Go in humble, ready to learn, and ready to laugh at yourself. 

Don't assume that teaching is going to be just like volunteering, babysitting, or any other role you've ever had with children. If you do, grab a sturdy umbrella because you're in for a storm, my friend.  Prepare as much as possible, yes, but be aware that your first year is essentially one nine month-long learning curve. Humility, a sense of humor, and a pack of people who love you are your best weapons for getting through and doing it gracefully. 

And that's all I have to say about that.

What game-changing advice would you give to a soon-to-be new teacher?



I don't really think it's fair for me to participate in this Monday because I'm a hologram

Monday, February 11, 2013

I have 25 unread emails in my inbox right now.

That little red light on my phone is blinking (meaning I have voicemails).

Since it’s testing season, this week kicks off massive school-wide tutorials before and after school and occasionally on Saturdays.

I was out on Friday and my bookshelf area now looks like a war zone.

I have four mandatory meetings this week that require so much time and preparation that I’m considering walking in to each one of them dressed like Princess Leia so that I can be dismissed immediately for insanity.  (30 Rock, anyone?)

But I have this written out on my desk by my computer:

“It comes the very moment you wake up each morning.  All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals.  And the first job each morning consists in simply shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in.  And so on, all day.  Standing back from all your natural fussings and frettings; coming in out of the wind.” –C.S. Lewis

Let’s come in out of the wind this Monday.


Princess Leia Teach

I do not. Need. Dental work.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Nothing too noteworthy has happened as of late, mostly because I’ve been busy transitioning to teaching without technology since my computer and projector are still down.  It’s kind of fun, pretending that I’m teaching in pioneer times-- I haven’t channeled Laura Ingalls Wilder since childhood. (Okay, maybe since adolescence.  Okay, maybe any time my power goes out at school or at home.)  But here is a little anecdote about Nutella, state testing, the movie Bridesmaids, and me being weird.

Testing season is already getting to me.

Earlier this week, my students took a practice test for the state exam, which means that I had the same kids in my room all day in total silence.  The way my room was set up for testing, they all faced me at my desk as they ate their lunches and as I ate mine.  If you’ve never had a classroom full of people watch you as your eat your lunch, just know that it is PAINFULLY weird having thirty sets of eyes eyeing you critically as you roll and eat your Boar’s Head Blazin’ Buffalo deli turkey slices (so good, by the way).

After I had finished my lunch, I got out a spoon for my standard post-lunch-spoonful-of-Nutella routine. One of them gasped.

“Miss, what is that?”

“Nutella.  It’s like chocolate peanut butter kind of.  Stop talking.”

“Ew, you just eat it like that? You’re weird.”

“STOP TALKING,” I repeated.  I put about half the spoonful in my mouth.  Then I recreated one of my favorite scenes from the movie Bridesmaids.

“I am not. Weird.” I said, with Nutella covering at least three teeth.  They lost their minds and we all lost the testing environment.

I should probably arrange to be absent for the real thing.



Letter to my students from today for them to read in 2023

Monday, January 14, 2013

Dear Students from Today, January 14, 2013,

I think it's safe to say I've had a terrible week.  Have you ever just had one of those days where you can't seem to go 15 minutes without messing something up?  For example, you wake up late, then can't find your keys, then burn yourself on a burner you accidentally left on the entire night, then step on the tail of one of the feral cats that stalks your apartment complex, then spill coffee on yourself on the way to your car?  (That was this morning, by the way.)  Nothing overly tragic or terrible, but the fact that it's in series is just really, REALLY discouraging?  I've had a week of it. For example:

-Last Tuesday, I locked myself out of my car.  In the rain.  Then the locksmith was an hour late and sassy, and, depressingly, I do not have the ability to write up other grown-ups. And I knew I had to be nice to him because I couldn't wait any longer for a different person to open my car.  And then I paid him $50 for his attitude and his little car-opening contraption that took 15 seconds, and it felt like one of the greatest defeats of my life.

-I have a late fee for a bill I wasn't able to pay because I registered for the service with my email address as and it never registered to me that I wasn't receiving email alerts for that bill.  G-nail.

-My apartment fell apart.  And there are baby roaches everywhere.  I don't want to talk about it.

-I had to be out for two days of the first week back (last week) because of mandatory training for teachers in schools who don't meet AYP like ours.  Not only was I mad about being out of the classroom for that long, but all 16 hours of it were things I already have memorized/posters of/could have done a presentation on myself.  You are all keenly aware of how much I hate my time being wasted.

-Last night, I tried to make macaroni and cheese in advance for thing I had to go to tonight, and first burned it, then accidentally shaved part of a good chunk of a plastic ball into my pile of grated cheese (don't ask how).  Also, the recipe said "Easy Mac and Cheese" and it took me like two hours!  That is not easy. Then, I said to myself, "I will open this beer now and drink some of it, and that will take away some of the sting."  And then the beer exploded everywhere. (That is the second time that has happened this week.)

And THEN, after the morning I shared with you at the beginning of this letter, I stumble into school this morning to discover that my computer station, projector, and printer are all down.  Not working.  Not even a little bit.  Nothing.  As you'd better remember (or I'll find you), the lesson was on how to write an expository essay and required the use of my computer and definitely my document camera/projector.  As you probably won't remember, you have a serious district test over this information in about three days, so it's not the type of thing I could put off until later.  Only a few minutes before class started, I put my head down on my desk and just sat there.  I was too tired to cry or to even dream that the day might get better.

But it did. Every single period today, I started off by simply saying that my computer and projector were down, and that I would need you to be the precious, understanding little munchkins that you are because of the importance of today's lesson.  And every single period, you shocked me.  You LISTENED to a lecture on how to write an expository essay for FORTY-FIVE MINUTES without goofing off, falling asleep (or maybe some of you did with your eyes open), participated when I asked you to, and on top of everything, were just extraordinarily sweet to me.

It is days like today, after weeks like this week, where I am proud to be a teacher.  Specifically YOUR teacher.  If you ever dare to let yourself feel like you are useless, or that nobody notices you, or that you haven't absolutely made a difference, I want you to know that you saved me today.  All of you made that choice (because behavior is absolutely a choice), and it reminded me how it feels to be completely surprised by joy.

I love the crap out of you.