Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Open mouth, insert foot

I was definitely a novelty to my students in the first weeks of school. They were naturally curious about me and my life. After they finished asking me if I knew Hannah Montana, they all wanted to know, "Teacher, do all Americans think Saudis are terrorists?" Islamic extremism is certainly the stereotype du jour, and the girls seem to all want to know if the world has fallen for it or not. One my girls actually asked me, "Teacher, before you came here, did you think the whole country was full of terrorists?"

Really? Give me some credit, kid. Would I relocate myself to a country that was full of terrorists?!

Anyway, the other day, my 8th grade girls turned in a written report for a major grade. (You know I'm a Middle School teacher because I love my 8th grade class and will be really sad when they turn into high schoolers. I have a fun rapport with this class and we have a good time picking on each other.) Today they really wanted their graded reports back, but I wasn't finished grading them and it's my personal policy to hand out all graded materials once the whole class's grades are ready.

Well, today they were especially silly and while I was waiting for half of my class to show up (they were late from computer class...again), the girls that were actually on time were begging for their grades.

"Ok, we'll make this a democracy," one of them said.

"This'll be interesting," I muttered under my breath.

"We'll give you a choice. We can sing and yell and scream loud enough to make your ears bleed, OR you can give us our grades."

Before you get the impression that I have a class full of brats, please remember that I'm talking about 8th graders here and understand that she was totally joking. It was very clear that she was just being silly with this "democratic" approach.

I was writing something on the board as she was talking so after her ultimatum was declared, I put the cap back on my marker and said, "I'm sorry. I don't negotiate with terrorists."

Seven pre-teen faces all stared back at me, slack jawed. Slowly the smiles cracked and they burst into laughter right about the time I realized how poor my choice of words was.

We all had a good laugh about it. They loved how red my face got, and no one took any offense.

Thankfully, they were so busy laughing at my gaff that they forgot to keep up the campaign for their grades! Mwahaha!

Vicariously yours,

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