This article was written by a guest blogger, teacher, wife, mom of one, and is going into her 11th year teaching 4th grade. Her belief is that successful teaching is based solely on building relationships with her students.... but also Sonic drinks and a sense of humor.
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Every year. Anticipate. Laminate. Wait for the day. Class list day. Investigate. Did you go to school with their parents? Maybe. Did you teach their siblings? Probably. These kids will be your kids for the next 36 weeks, for better or worse. Every year you wonder and agonize about what names will appear on that magical day schedules are posted... let me spare you. Each year, with a little variation, your class list will be as follows:
1. The kid who inexplicably has red ink all over him. All the time.
Does he sweat red ink out his pores? He doesn't even have a red pen to grade with. But the ink. It's everywhere.
2. The Underdog — Bad home life. Reading difficulty. Language barrier. Speech impediment. No friends.
SOMETHING will make you root for this kid. You'll buy him/her school supplies, Christmas presents, tutor at every chance, talk about and pray for your underdog. This one you will check up on in the coming years and hope to hear good things.
3. The kid who cuts everything into tiny pieces. Paper. Crayons. Rulers. Decimated.
Occasionally, this is the same kid as kid #1. Double threat.
4. The invisible child.
You'll find yourself saying things like "Do I even teach a kid named Michael?" This kid is so average, middle of the road, ordinary that they literally are invisible to you.
5. The helper. Your right hand.
Some may refer to him/her as teacher's pet. Whatevs--she's great at passing out papers.
6. The "tries-too-hard-to-be-a-helper" kid.
No, I don't need you to pass out papers. I just need you to sit down.
7. The comedian.
This kid is hilarious but mostly just to you. Usually a boy, he gets away with much more than his peers because OMG, that WAS funny. Usually dry, witty, sarcastic and pretty much over the other kids and their shenanigans. Wait, are you the comedian?
8. The class clown.
Different than the comedian in that the kids think he's funnyish but you do not. At. All.
9. The quirky kid.
Maybe he does a weird shaking thing when he's mad. Digs for gold until his nose bleeds. Collects all broken pencils from the floor and keeps them as "pets." Something is off.
10. The know-it-all.
Yes, I DO know that Pluto is a dwarf planet. Thanks for the info. In the middle of my reading lesson.
11. The Cray. Just cray.
Become friends with the school psychologist.
12. The Reader.
Please put that book down while you're: walking downstairs, learning long division, eating lunch, in the restroom. You read, we get it.
13. The Sticky/Stinky Desk Kid.
What is that smell/sticky stuff everywhere? Rotten snacks. Glue. Smoke soaked backpack.
14. Toots Magee.
What is this kid eating? Broccoli? Every meal?
15. The Hugger/Shoulder Rub Kid.
Love ya sweetie, but even my husband gives it a rest sometimes.
16. The Inappropriate commenter.
Sometimes this kid does it on purpose, "You look constipated when you make that face." Some years it's just an innocent kid explaining pregnancy to a class of 4th graders.
17. The "I don't get it" kid.
They don't get it. Ever.
18. The Tattler. Is this a tattle?
19. The ADHD poster child.
Common signs-- animal noises, "Oh, I forgot to go to the nurse," finger guns, wild eyes.
Don't act like you don't have a name and face for all of them. And you love them all. Except that one. There's always that one.