I've just finished teaching my first period class and let me tell you, Friday happy hour cannot come soon enough. If I could send that happy hour a one way ticket to me, on the fastest known train in the world, I would but it still wouldn't be fast enough. (I am assuming that my happy hour, like me, is afraid of flying so it would have to take the train.)
Things have changed a little bit since I was in grade school. For one thing, we no longer have to do our math problems by hammering the equations into flat pieces of rock. Also, no one cares about fire engines anymore. One of my unfavorite memories of grade school was being the only kid who did not freak out and run to the window every time a fire engine went past. I just never got the big deal. I mean, this was in Baltimore. Big cities have fires a lot. It's not like you've never seen a damn fire engine; shut up and sit down. No wonder windowless schools became de rigeur in the 70s. The teachers were all sick of kids spazzing over every siren they heard.
Allow me to share a few of the things that freak kids out today.
a)Computers. Oh, ye of little classroom-based faith! You think these young people today, they know all about computers, right? I'm here to disabuse you of the notion. They don't know diddlyshit about computers. They know how to text-message each other and that's about it. Even simply trying to Google search a topic is utterly beyond most kids' abilities. Furthermore, they can't type because typing, like cursive writing, is considered a pointless old fashioned skill by most schools. The hilarious thing is watching kids try to type with their thumbs because that's the way they text.
b)Furniture rearrangement. I hope these kids' parents never even pull the chairs out from the dining room table, because they'll have some seriously traumatized youth on their hands. I moved my desk--not their desks, mine--from the front to the back of the room. This was met with "WHAAAAA?????" "Awwww NAAAWWWWWW!!!!!" "Mister Gibbs-uh! Why'd you DOOOO that?" Let me reiterate: their desks are in exactly the same places. Mine is just in a different place. I also don't really use my desk during class anyway so it doesn't matter, but you'd think I slapped their mommas and peed in their Cheerios. (NB: Certain segments of the population, when upset, add "-uh" to everything. As in, "Oh my God-uh! You moved the desks-uh!")
c)Phone death. I get this because, like everyone else in the solar system, I am addicted to my phone. I do know that one does not use the phone in certain places, e.g., classrooms and church, but everything else is fair game. I've even distressed myself by sitting at a perfectly good bar and farting around on facebook. Still, when the phone dies, I just go back to a normal activity like drinking and doing the crossword or annoying the other bar patrons. I had a kid last week who was actually I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP reduced to tears because her battery died and I wouldn't let her charge the phone during class.
d)Bees. Bees, bees, bees. I do not like getting stung by bees. I am reasonably sure that the segment of humanity that does enjoy bee stings is fairly small. Still, age has brought unto me the wisdom that if you leave bees the hell alone, they will not sting you. Imagine that you are a person. You have stumbled into a room full of bees. The bees are all just sitting there, but now they see you and start flying around like total nutjobs. You are now freaked out, right? Now imagine that you are a bee. You fly into a room of calm people. All of a sudden they all start running around in circles and shrieking. You are now freaked out, right? And this is why you leave bees alone. But teenagers are incapable of processing this logic, so they see a bee and are instantly reduced to screaming pools of terrorized Jell-O (TM). So, imagine my joy when this morning not one, not two, but THREE BIG SCARY BEES COME TO MURDER US ALL got into my classroom. It was like visiting Bedlam. Actually, I now understand the appeal of visiting Bedlam; if I weren't trying to teach a class it would be mildly hilarious to watch the crazy happen.
So, Friday happy hour, you now understand why I need you so badly. Please up your game a little bit.