Caroline in the Delta

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Apr 21 2011

Three stories.

There are so many things I need to write, but the lack of organization in my head keeps me at a pause. A few anecdotes shall suffice:

For the Ladies

Second period. One of my girls says, “MizzlampnenIreallygottauseit” “Take your seat.” “I really gotta.” Female. “Fine. Go. You have three minutes.” She returns within three minutes, takes her seat. Five minutes later students are working in pairs and she comes up with her partner. The partner says, “MizzLampnen, we gotta talk to you outside.” First girl looks at me with doe eyes.

Hallway. Partner says, “We need to go to the bathroom.” “What! She just went!” “No, we gotta go.” “Why?” First girl is starting to look anxious. Partner says, with laughter in her voice, “She put her pad on wrong! The sticky part is facing her black spot.” I try very, very hard to not laugh hysterically. Instead it comes out as a quick giggle and I say, “Oh my goodness. How did you… Wait, you’re going to help her?” “I’m not gonna look!

Benchmark Week

State testing was last week. We spent three hours every day testing, and three hours babysitting. Day two. Middle of the second math portion, of four. Male student in the second row raises his hand desperately. I swiftly walk up to him.

“MizzLampnen, DeeDee says you got make-up on your legs.”


“Make-up on your legs! Do you have make-up on your legs?”

“You are in the middle of a test! Why are you asking me this? No, I do not have make-up on my legs. Do your work!”

It was the first and only day I went to school in a dress without nylons.


I have a student who was diagnosed with Tourette’s about a quarter into the year. He is a high performing, fantastic, good humored, positive student. I’ve seen him go from telling jokes and joking around in the front of the room to being isolated, alone, all day every day, in the room across the hall from me. This is because his behavior went from just a little abnormal (head-twitching, excessive blinking, OCD-style rubbing palms against select surfaces) to offensively distracting (yelling obscenities). Yesterday was our first day doing structured vocabulary in my room, Word of the Day. We learned the word “memorable” because it was part of our new writing prompt.

This student comes into my room only for the Do Now (usually), then goes back into his room. Yesterday I quickly explained Word of the Day to him and let him take it into his room. It was a particularly bad day for his vocal tics. On the way out he casually said to me, “You should do Tourette’s for word of the day!” Have I mentioned I love this kid?

Today’s word was (surprise) Tourette’s. He stayed in the room for it and was so pumped for an opportunity to talk about his disorder. His definition was better than mine. After the mini-lesson I asked if I had his approval for how I presented everything to the class. He responded with a firm yes, and while looking at his paper said more to himself than to me, “Man, I’m keeping this. I’m taking it home. I’m going to put it on the fridge!”


Have I mentioned my life improves on a daily basis?

One Response

  1. Wess

    THESE are glorious!
    Have I mentioned you’re awesome?

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