My kids were on point today all day. I had a couple moments where I had to break out the Teacher Voice and write some names on the Verbal Warning list, but for the most part everyone was on task and in their seats and doing their work. Even the knuckleheads did their work. This is likely due to the fact I broke out a seating chart after watching who sat with whom the first two days; some teachers swear by the first-day seating chart, but I like to know who the cliques are and who are the best pals before I give them seats. I'm not going to get too excited after a single really smooth day. Sometimes a seating chart lasts just a day or two before the kids get comfortable with their new potential partners in crime.
The CEO of the City schools dropped in on a surprise inspection. The chair of my department rushed up to my door third period and poked her head in to say "Alonso is in the building." This is how they warn teachers whose classes run amok to get shit together. Alonso has been known to shit-can staff on the spot if things are too chaotic. But after the chair whispered to me about Alonso she looked around at all the students working diligently and quietly on their autobiographies and I said "bring him on in!"
Of course he never made it to my room.
I started class with a roll of TP. I went around asking kids to take as much as they needed. Some took one sheet, some took a few sheets, a few took more than twenty. They got all antsy and aggravated because I wouldn't tell them what it was for. "I don't know," I said. "What do you usually use it for? Take as much as you think you'll need." One of my mouthiest chuckleheads took 31 sheets, and bragged about his gigantic dookies.
After I passed out the TP I said "Now count how many sheets you have, write that number on your warm-up paper, and circle it." Then we went around the room and each student had to tell something about his or herself for each sheet of TP. I forget from whom I stole this idea, but it worked really well. Some kids with 28 or 29 sheets were trying to hide their TP in pockets, in desks, or in bookbags, but I already had the numbers written down!
I have all their names down now, and many of the kids are dropping by my room after school to talk. They give me intricate hand-shakes and ask me about my wife and house. I'm getting to know them. We're almost ready for teaching.
A few 8th graders who wore me out last year came back today to give hugs and thank me. I find this hilarious. Buggin' Out came in, told me he tested out of 9th grade and into 11th, and said "I know I acted a donkey in your room all year, but you were the only one who thought it was because I was really smart." It's true. I suspected all along that Buggin' Out was an advanced kid, acting out from boredom. I had two of them in the same room, in fact. He came in, gave me a hug in front of my last period class, and then packed my shoes. "I see you still wearin' them clown boots," he said.