Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Little Things

This is isn't the easiest time of year to be a teacher. With Spring break over, it's a straight shot until the end of the year. I only have so much patience for a given school year, and supplies are running dangerously low. You can only say the same things, to the same kids, so many times before it starts to take a psychic toll. We've all heard "there are no stupid questions." Uh, wrong. My 8th graders seem to have a neverending supply. My ability to fend these questions off without losing my mind is quickly waning. Luckily, the end is in sight, and I can start recharging the battery this summer. Not that I'm counting down the days or anything, 33, but yes, I'm counting down the days. In my experience, these are common feelings in the profession this time of year.

Having said all this, something happened this week that reminds me why I love this job, why I can put up with the nonsense. One of my students is obsessed with words. He scours the dictionary and thesaurus daily for new words, trying them out on his classmates and teachers. His attmepts to incorporate the new words into his everyday speech are often misguided, he's like a verbal Don Quixote, but I love the enthusiasm. The other day he asked if I knew what the word lachrymose means. He loves it when he can stump me, and I had to admit, I wasn't familiar with that one. He proudly informed me that lachrymose means "tearful," and mission accomplished, took his seat. That interaction alone made my day, but it got better. The next period was my planning period, and I was straightening up a bit when I noticed a piece of paper on my guy's desk. In large, neatly crafted letters he had written, "Ecstatic people are never lachrymose." I had to laugh. Maybe he left the paper behind intentionally, hoping to impress me, or maybe he just forgot to pick up after himself. Either way, it's a keeper, probably wind up on my fridge. For me, little things like this make teaching truly rewarding.


  1. Great story about teaching. I knew what lachrymose meant!

  2. Oh, my...way back when I was an architecture student (many, many moons ago) I pulled an all-nighter once that left me hungry and exhausted. I staggered over to a local Hardee's for a steak biscuit and Pepsi(ah, fine dining). While on the way there, the word "lachyrmose" got stuck in my head, kept looping around and around. I had read it, didn't know what it meant. After finishing the biscuit I slouched to my apartment and grabbed the dictionary.

    When I read the definition, I laughed really loud, then burst into tears from being so tired.

    "Lachrymose", indeed :)