19 November 2004


New Mexico Trivia.

Mr. K: What town in New Mexico is known as the ski capital of the southwest?
Dale: Oh, the south pole!
Andrew: The south pole??
Dale: Yeah.
Andrew: Dale. The SOUTH POLE is the ski capital of the SOUTHWEST.
Dale: Um... yeah.
Lizzil: South Pole! Antarctica! Southwest! New Mexico!!
Dale: Oh.... oh. Yeah.

Mr. K: Where is the horse race with the world's richest purse?
Me: In portable 7!
Lizzil: What?
Me: You know, like the health classroom?
Andrew: What?
Me: World's richest purse.... Mr. PURCE teaches health....
Karma: Oh, I get it!
Andrew: That's not funny, Ms. Backes.
Me: Shut up.
Andrew: Gasp! That's mental harrassment!

(a few minutes later)

Andrew: Why do we record points if every team earns one?
Me: Maybe it's to make people feel good.
Andrew: It doesn't make me feel good. It makes me feel pointless.
Me: See, but you're not pointless. That's the whole point!
Andrew: ......that's not funny either.


My dad's in town for the week. I, of course, am teaching school full time, so dad gets to be on his own during the days. He's taken it upon himself to spend the days at Wal-Mart, buying STUFF to improve the quality of my life (shelving, new light bulbs, a riostat for my lamp and a new switch because Cam broke it, etc). Every day this week, I've come home to bags of new household offerings from him, until finally.....

Dad: Ready? Ready? The coup de grace!
Me: Yeah. Sure.
Dad: Well, I notice that you have all these weird digital clocks around your room, but you can't really see them.
Me: You mean my clock radio?
Dad: (ignoring me) So I thought, you know what Molly needs?
Me: ...
Dad: You know??
Me: No, what does Molly need?
Dad: Molly needs a clock! Ta da!! (He pulls a clock from a wal-mart bag. It's pink and sparkly, covered with faux gemstones.)
Me: Oh my god!
Dad: Isn't it beautiful?
Me: (laughing hysterically) It's HIDEOUS!!
Dad: (defensively) No, it's perfect! It's a "Royal Princess Clock," and you're a royal princess!

Ah, sometimes it's nice to be daddy's little girl again.


Jay: Ms. Backes, do you know what Hay-soose means in English?
Me: Yeah.
Jesus: What?
Me: Jesus.
Jay: See, I didn't know that.
Me: Well, we god-names have to stick together. My last name is the same as a god, you know.
Xander: Really? What's your last name?
Jay: DUH, Xander!
Xander: Ohhhh, right!
Jay: Ms. Backes, what's your first name?
Me: Evil.
Jay: (thoughtfully) Evil Backes.....
Me: Yep.
Jesus: What's your middle name?
Me: Awesome.
Jay: Evil Awesome Backes?
Me: Yep.
Jay: COOL.
Xander: Really? Is your name really Evil Awesome Backes?
Me: (very slowly and sarcastically) Yes, my name is really Evil Awesome Backes.
Xander: Really??
Me: Uh, no.
Everyone: DUH, XANDER!!!!!!


Jerrod: How old do you have to be to be executed?
Dale: Next year, Jerrod!


current events.

TT: I personally think we should have one six year term for the president, so he wouldn't have to worry about getting re-elected, he could just do what he needs to do. But no one ever agrees with me!
Carl: He's just the little man in the corner!

-- My article is called "If You Like the Sedillo Hill Project, You'll Love What Comes Next." It's about how there's going to be even more road construction on I-40, just like at Sedillo Hill. It's biased because the author likes road construction.
-- Is it possible that the author was being sarcastic?
-- Sarcastic? No. Maybe. I don't know.
-- Well, let's think about this. Do you think anyone really likes driving through the construction on Sedillo Hill?
-- No way! My dad hates it!
-- Mine too!
-- They've been there forever!
-- Okay, so no one really likes road construction, right?
-- Yeah, but the author says, "If you LIKE the Sedillo Hill Project, you'll LOVE what comes next." So he obviously likes it.
-- Sigh.....

-- My article is about the healthiest states in the U.S. Minnesota is number one. The article is biased because it keeps talking about Minnesota.
-- Yeah, what's so great about Minnesota, anyway?
-- It's clean!
-- It's healthy!
-- Good food!
-- Clean!
-- Are you sure it's biased? Because if the article is about the healthiest state, and the healthiest state is Minnesota, then it kind of makes sense that they'd keep talking about it, right?
-- No, I think the writer was just a Minnesota-lover, which is bias.

-- The least healthy state is Louisiana....
-- It's because of Mardi Gras! Beads all over the place!

-- My article is totally biased! It only shows the woman's point of view. It NEVER shows the man's point of view at all!
-- What's your article about?
-- Cervical cancer.


-- The last class wanted to take the picture in the bathroom, but I don't think there's one big enough.
-- Ms. Backes, plus we'd have to find one of those, you know, semi-sexual bathrooms, and I don't think our school has any.


Carl: (singing) It's a giant party... in the mountains.... it's a rendezvous!
Me: (laughing out loud)
Team Teacher: And you wonder why teachers go nuts!!


Summer: Ms. Backes?
Me: Yes?
Summer: Um.... (gets distracted by people around us)
Me: Yes?
Summer: Oh. My question is...
Me: (gets distracted by people around us)
Summer: (starts giggling)
Me: Sorry, what? I got distracted.
Summer: My question -- (gets distracted)
Me: (giggle)
Summer: (giggle)
Me: This is why two ADD people shouldn't try to talk to one another!


Gary: Ms. Backes, is this good enough?
Me: (picking up his paper and reading) "Route 66 runs right through downtown Moriarty. Route 66 was America's first highway...." Looks good, Gary!
Gary: (shocked) You can read my handwriting?!
Me: Oh... sure.
Gary: Awesome! (high five)
Me: (high fiving him) Rock on!


My gifted block is working on "The ABCs of New Mexico" books, which has been extremely fun and funny.

Team Teacher: (stopping the class) Guys, remember that we're going to be reading these to FIRST GRADERS. So make sure your books are age-appropriate. It wouldn't be appropriate to say, for example, to read, "Children, P is for Peyote.... A is for Alcohol!"
Me: (sitting in a student desk, leaning forward to whisper to the Andrew-Brown-doppelganger in front of me) "D is for Drunk Driving!"
ABD: (whispering back) D is for DWI!

(later -- current events)

TT: If you guys get drunk, and you get into a car wreck... don't crash into a cop!

-- Who can tell me what the cold war was?
-- Umm.... when we went to war with Alaska?

Today I dealt with conflict in my classroom in the way I wanted to, the way I'd like to deal with all conflicts given the time and adult support and relative calm of the rest of the kids in the class. Too often I feel we just yell at kids without explaining to them the problem with their actions, but today I actually got to talk to the naughties in a calm and rational way. Of course I'd rather we not have this kind of thing happening in the classroom at all, but in the end I felt good about both interactions.

5th period.

Me: (calmly) Ronny, I'm writing you up.
Ronny: (crestfallen) Okay.
Me: Do you know why?
Ronny: Yes.
Me: Would you like to read your referral?
Ronny: Yes, please.
Me: Here you go. Would you agree with my account of your actions today?
Ronny: Yes. I'm sorry.
Me: Okay, well thank you for that. I'll need you to go to the office, please, and on Monday I know you'll do better, because I know you're capable of it, right?
Ronny: Right.

7th period.

(I turn my back on the class just long enough to prop the door open and turn back to find one child crying and two others shouting accusations.)

Me: What's going on?
Walt: He threw that at him and hit him in the eye!!
Me: What? Jerry, are you okay? Do you need to go to the nurse's office?
Jerry: (sniffle sniffle) No.
Me: What happened?
Walt: Brady threw the eraser and hit Jerry in the eye!!!
Me: (picking up the eraser) Brady, is this true?
Brady: (looking guilty, nods)
Me: You threw this eraser and hit him in the eye with it?
Brady: (nods)
Me: Brady, look at me, please. You threw this eraser hard enough to make a person cry. Do you see Jerry? You hurt him, Brady. This is a person, and you hurt him. You hurt this person, Brady. Do you understand?
Brady: (whispering) yes.
Me: Why would you do such a thing? Why would you hurt a person?
Brady: I don't know.
Me: I don't know either.

(I walk away and spend almost ten minutes trying to decide whether to write him up....finally going back to the boys at the very end of class.)

Me: Look, I'm trying to decide what to do here. Should I write you up?
Jerry: (standing up) Ms. Backes, to tell the truth, I was throwing the eraser at him, so I'm partially to blame.
Me: Should I write you both up?
Both boys: No.
Me: Do you both understand why this can't happen in my classroom?
Both boys: Yes.
Me: Okay then, have a nice weekend. Try not to maim anyone, okay?
Both boys: (obviously relieved) Okay, Ms. Backes! Bye!


Me: (walking past some students hard at work, I point to a picture of a tiger on a girl's folder and say "Roar!"
Kids: (crack up)
Coal: Ms. Backes, why did you do that?
Me: (innocently) What?
Coal: That was totally uncalled for!
Me: I beg to differ. She has a tiger on her folder, and tigers say roar. Hence, it was totally called for. (walks away)
Kids: Did you hear that? She just went -- roar!