You Get What You Ask For

August 19, 2010 at 11:40 am 2 comments

Maybe it’s a terrible idea, but on the first day I meet a class I always introduce myself and then allow them to ask me anything – ANYTHING – they want to ask. They can ask about the class, but most of the time they ask about me, and I’m fine with that. I tell them that if I can answer the question, I will, and that I will answer anything about myself so long as it isn’t inappropriately personal. The fun always starts when someone asks my age, and I make the class guess, and then tell them about my seventh graders who guessed anywhere between 18 and 55.

If the questioning is slow-moving, I tease them by pointing out that no one has yet had their question shot down. That usually inspires a few kids to pull out the “let’s try to shock Mrs. Bees” stuff. I’ve been asked how many boyfriends I’ve had, why I wanted to be a teacher, if I’ve ever been arrested, if I’ve ever broken the law, if I drink – all kinds of questions that many teachers would never want to discuss with their students. My reasoning for encouraging it is that I want my students to feel like they know and can trust me, that I’m a human being and not just a cog in the educational machine. It seems to work.

This year was the first that a student hit a nerve, and it wasn’t so much her question as the tactless way that she asked. In listening to her so far, I’ve discovered that she’s just about as sharp as a mushroom and as tactful as a nosy three-year-old. So I can’t, and don’t, take her question personally… in fact, I have to laugh. After all, I did ask for it.

“Mrs. Bees,” she said. “I have a question.”

“Yes, Tactless?”

“Are you married?”

“Yes. I’ve been married since 2004.”

Tactless wasn’t done. “Do you have any kids?”

“I don’t yet, no.”

She tilted her head, perplexed. “Why not?”

“Well, it just hasn’t happened yet. We want children, but we haven’t had them yet.”

“Mrs. Bees, you’re 29. Isn’t that awfully old to be starting a family?”

Blink.

Damn, kiddo. Damn.

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Entry filed under: STUDENTS, TALES FROM SCHOOL.

The Last Minutes Unacceptable Behavior

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. M  |  October 29, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    A few years ago a girl asked me when I was getting married (I’m 29 now and I was probably 27 or so at the time) and I told her I’d get married when I found a guy who isn’t a douchebag. That shut her up pretty quickly.

    Reply
  • 2. More Backposts « Full of Bees!  |  October 29, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    […] posted about a “seriously? did you just say that?” moment from the first day of school, as well as a nagging professional question regarding figurative […]

    Reply

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The Bee’s Knees

This is the teaching journal of a student first-year second-year THIRD-YEAR (!!!) English teacher. I am writing this blog as a reflection for myself, a way to keep friends and family updated, and a sharing-ground between other educators online. I love comments!

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