Tag Archives: high school

Commencement of journals, adulthood

My journals start with the end of my senior year of high school. I had graduation practice and then went to work at the electronics store where I worked renting videos. The next day, I was awarded the Bronze R for having third-highest grade-point average in my class, but the elderly presenter was off her game and called me by my dad’s name. The following year, she was replaced.

 

29: 1st day out. Grad practice, work after.

30: Graduation day. Got Bronze “R.” Mary Carney called me “Gene” and handed me the notecard she was reading from. Went to Matt D’s open house, then Dawn’s, Chris K’s, Kim’s, stayed late and played volleyball.

 

[Entirety of the 29 & 30 May 1992 journals, the beginning of an informal, personal writing habit I practiced irregularly from age 18 to age 30, then daily since]

‘A mandatory thing that Jesus gave me’: The week in pocket pages

Condensation condescension. 6 Dec.

Condensation condescension. 6 Dec.

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I’m speaking the truth and getting ready to die in about 35 minutes,” said a keynote speaker at an education conference I went to last Monday. The speaker framed his remarks by saying if he were to die at the end of his speech, he would want to tell us only his most important messages. It was a pretty intense rhetorical device. 5 Dec. 2016

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Condensation conversation. 6 Dec.

Condensation conversation. 6 Dec.

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I kinda wanted a Jolly Rancher one of those days,” said my student of wishing the person subbing for me had instead been the sub next door, who typically brings candy for the students. 7 Dec.

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My cat shelved himself. 25 Nov. 2016

My cat shelved himself. 25 Nov. 2016

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Lots of businesses sell what people want, but teachers (and maybe doctors and others) tell people what they need (even if the clients don’t want it).  7 Dec.

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Outside the history museum in downtown Byron, Ill. 26 Nov.

Outside the history museum in downtown Byron, Ill. 26 Nov.

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Education policy focuses on generalized programs, though of course all learning is in particular minds, at particular times, and in particular situations. 7 Dec.

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I really can hold a grudge,” said student, seemingly realizing this about himself as he was reading his journal from earlier in the semester. 7 Dec.

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My high school and its slowly colorizing pear trees, 30 Nov.

My high school and its slowly colorizing pear trees, 30 Nov.

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This is a mandatory thing that Jesus gave me,” said my student as she made a point about why she shouldn’t have to pay for tampons since it’s not her fault she menstruates. 7 Dec.

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Soybean field, Bethel Road east of railroad crossing, 2 Dec.

Soybean field, Bethel Road east of railroad crossing, 2 Dec.

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When my dog dies, I’m definitely gonna get him stuffed,” said my student (contra Alan Alda’s advice). Classmate said that if student got a compliment on her stuffed dogs, she could say, “Thanks. They used to be alive.” Student said she’d prefer to get her dog stuffed rather than bury it because “I’m not gonna bury him in the ground, where it’s dirty,” she said. “OK, and stuffing him isn’t gross?” asked second classmate, who added, “I don’t think you can stuff a dog that small.” Student’s dog is apparently a two-pound purse dog. 7 Dec.

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Out a Pheasant Run window, 6 Dec.

Out a Pheasant Run window, 6 Dec.

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Gee, I wonder what the inside of a testicle looks like,” said student of a mink dissection she had performed (in anatomy class, I hope). The mink’s gland was “a solid ball, like a nut, like a cashew, that’s what it was,” she said. 7 Dec.

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Pheasant Run Resort Atrium, St. Charles, Ill. 5 Dec.

Pheasant Run Resort Atrium, St. Charles, Ill. 5 Dec.

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Student asked how students get quoted by me in my pocket pages. “Say something dumb,” said classmate. 8 Dec.

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After carnival workers were mentioned in class, a student announced that his friend had sex with a carny to get free rides. If that’s true, that’s maybe the saddest thing I’ve ever heard, I said.

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Snow on leaf and safety pegs. 10 Dec.

Snow on leaf and safety pegs. 10 Dec.

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Go suffer cold in my car,” said student to his cousin in the parking lot after school. The cousin wanted the keys to start and warm up student’s car, but he wasn’t giving over the keys. 8 Dec.

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Hell, yeah, I would — I gotta pay for college somehow,” said my senior student about whether she would sell a kidney. 9 Dec.

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Pheasant Run Resort Atrium, St. Charles, Ill. 6 Dec.

Pheasant Run Resort Atrium, St. Charles, Ill. 6 Dec.

Collected Notes and Quotes from 2015

A listing in chronological order:

At Busy Grocery Store: ‘YOU are gonna hafta be a good listener’

‘We Need More Bus’: My Students Explain Things

‘Dose ahr not liess’: The week in quotes

‘An Undigested Bit of Beef’: Pocket pages week in review

‘What I’m doing NOW as opposed to what I’m doing NOW’: This week in quotes

‘Dinging on my thingy’: Things I overheard this week

‘Are you getting vinyl? I’m getting wood’: Overheard 6 May thru 16 May

‘It’ll be funny SOMEday’: Quotes from students in class of ’15

‘What the hell is that?’: A Thursday at the resale shop

‘I guess we’re ready to rock ‘n’ roll’: Byronfest 2015

Limits of storytelling: Notes from 17 to 27 August 2015

Random high fives and ‘how we’re gonna scale that’: Images from six days in Boulder

Everything’s true except for the monkey’: My week in review

Let’s stay friends’: Quotes of this day

See ya, nerd king’: November’s overheard quotes

A little stranger than I thought’: December notes & quotes

‘Are you getting vinyl? I’m getting wood’: Overheard 6 May thru 16 May

Some of my sophomore students drew my plant form last week.

Some of my sophomore students drew me as a plant two weeks ago.

Closer up, me as a flower. I'm pleased the students used the black (and not the

Closer up, me as a flower. I’m pleased the students used the black (and not the “rapidly graying”) marker to depict my hair.

We were debating whether you were here or not. And then, as an evidentiary claim, you showed up,” I said to a student who arrived late to my 3rd hour class.

I was such a child back then,” said a senior girl in my creative writing class as she read through her journal. When, I asked. “January 14th,” she said.

I just wanna wear pants,” said a student who continued to wear shorts above her leg brace two weeks after her knee surgery. Another student who had previously had knee surgery said, “I just wanted to wear pants after I had MY surgery.”

On seeing another senior girl’s translucent lunch sack, another senior girl said, “You have a banana and water — that’s it!

A senior boy announced to others as they were going to lunch, apropos of nothing, “I got three compliments yesterday from three girls.

Student said another student almost got him flunked from 8th grade. Second student answered, “He plagiarized the whole thing!” Student answered: “At least I was trying.”

After student announced that he was done with the reading assignment, his classmate said, “No, you’re not. My nose itches.”

Say ‘booty’ when we get in the hallway,” said student to classmate, after I’d told them not to shout “booty” in the classroom, per their prior practice. After class, in the hallway, both boys shouted, “Booty, what?”

After student said she had a job interview but didn’t want to tuck in her t-shirt for the interview, because tucking in the shirt would make her look like a nerd, classmate answered: “If you want a job, you’re gonna be a nerd.

12 May 2015, Byron, IL, near walking path north of the high school.

12 May 2015, Byron, IL, near walking path north of the high school.

I heard a male teacher conversing in the school library with a female teacher say: “Are you getting vinyl? I’m getting wood.” After I said that was a quote worth writing down, they both said they were talking about fencing at their respective homes.

On Mother’s Day, my mom cooked homemade vegetable patties for me. “Does this look like something you want more than one of?” she asked as she spatula’d one onto my plate. I did.

All I have to do is type the words,” said a student in my writing class explaining how he was going to get caught up on a semester’s worth of missing writing assignments in the last week of class.

I asked a sophomore student how she was doing last Tuesday. “Dees,” she said, presumably for the first syllable in “decent.”

A student and I were counting up the number of days he’d been alive. Maybe he’d been dead for some of those days, he suggested. Being dead a minute, maybe, I said. “Being dead a day, it’s hard to come back from that,” I said. By the way, this student had been alive for his 6,714th day last Thursday.

After I mentioned to a couple students that I'd written many stories for my college French classes about a

During 10th hour on 8 May, I mentioned to a couple students that I’d written many stories for my college French classes about a “marmotte,” because it was so close to its English equivalent “marmot.” After students left, I noticed all three computers where those students sat had had new pictures installed for backgrounds.

The chicks’ll cream” were the words in the “Greased Lightning” song played for teachers to dance to, in the teachers-versus-students dance-off at my school’s end-of-year assembly last Friday.

Also at the assembly, in a separate dancing exhibition, the teacher leading three groups of seniors through some so-called “games” told them to perform a “native dance,” which involved students getting dressed up with what looked like Swiffer duster-sheets as headdresses and cones over their mouths. “Let’s see some indigenous movements,” she actually said.

Announcing a prize of two free pork chops at a fall football game next school year, that same teacher described the prize as “Oh, nice, nice, nice, nice.”

This is not ‘Fun with Lasers.’ This is ‘Measuring with Lasers,’ which is even MORE fun than ‘Fun with Lasers,’” propagandized a math teacher to his 7th hour students as they gathered in the hallway Friday. Minutes later, I heard him call out, “two feet, six and a half inches.”

‘What I’m doing NOW as opposed to what I’m doing NOW’: This week in quotes

Two tulips, 10 May 2014

Two tulips, 10 May 2014. This picture was taken a year ago, but stuff this week looked pretty much like this anyway.

“Would you birds stop flying in front of me!” I heard myself say last Wednesday morning as I drove on a road where I had hit a robin a day or so earlier.
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A senior in my creative writing class advised his classmates that graduation is drawing near: “[These are the] final days — if you wanna get suspended, get suspended now!” His statement reminded me of the final days of my own high school experience, when the school’s dean of students told me that my classmate Wade had decided to skip a day of school and had gotten a day of in-school suspension, just to try it and the dean warned me not to be like Wade.
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But 23 years later, I found myself in in-school suspension anyway, where as a teacher now, I supervise that room one hour a day. This past week, an intelligent student was assigned to the In-School Suspension room, where the punishment includes copying the student handbook by hand. This observant student said, “I’m finding a lot of loopholes here” in the handbook, including this one: “It says ‘under the influence of drug paraphernalia.’ How would THAT work?”
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Teeth-of-the-lion flowers, 10 May 2014

Teeth-of-the-lion flowers, 10 May 2014

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In my “Rhetoric & Composition” class, where we’re writing philosophical arguments, a student stayed after class to argue about whether time is real: “Without time, how do we explain what I’m doing NOW as opposed to what I’m doing NOW.”
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On my classroom whiteboard this week, I wrote that the date was “Friday 55th March 2015,” as I’m following T.S. Eliot’s assertion that “April is the cruellest month” and I’m refusing to acknowledge this month. I’m counting dates from March until it’s May. A student who wasn’t hip to my system walked into and then out of my classroom, and I heard her say from the hallway, “55th of March? ‘Cuz there’s 55 days in one month?”
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More teeth-of-the-lion flowers, from 10 May 2014, but which could've been taken this week ending 26 April 2015.

More teeth-of-the-lion flowers, from 10 May 2014, but which could’ve been taken this week ending 26 April 2015.

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 A senior girl in my writing class said she wanted to go to our school’s “Ag Day” display of tractors and farm animals. “I wanna hold a chick,” she said. “In a different context, that was my interior monologue” all throughout my own days as a high school student, I responded.
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Ag Day is when some of my rural high-school’s FFA students bring in things most of us drive past everyday. I told a fellow teacher that what we SHOULD have is an “Urban Day,” where we teach our small-town students how to navigate a bus schedule and an elevator. We could even bring well-dressed professionals from Chicago’s Loop for our students to gawk at, and we’d pen up the professionals, the same as we do for the sheep — to keep them from running away.
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On 26 April about 5 p.m., I heard, from my neighbor’s garage, his voice saying to one of his young children, “tell me what you want. You’re NOT having toast. You can have peanut butter and jelly, a hot dog, or ravioli.” 
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‘Dose ahr not liess’: The week in quotes

iHotel, Champaign, Ill., 14 April 2015

iHotel, Champaign, Ill., 14 April 2015

“You are [from] Illinois, right? Why would you consider anywhere else?” said a University of Illinois dean, not facetiously, at a WYSE state competition. Also, she said in her German-accented English, that we may have heard UI is one of the best engineering schools in the nation. “Dose ahr not liess,” she said, terrifyingly.

An honors student said she was once sent out of class for being rude to her teacher. “Of course I get in trouble for complaining that my class isn’t hard enough,” she said. Another honors student commented, “that’s a nerd in-school suspension.”

Earlier, she had said, “Yak, yak, yak: nerds like to yak,” before the introductions to a state-level engineering competition.

“I haven’t shaved since I was born,” said a girl in my English class, apropos of very little.

A girl who is a high school junior said she’s too busy to be “a ho.” “I’m not a ho. If I had time, I still wouldn’t be a ho,” she explained.

My wife said of our cat: “Why so bitchy-witchy, kitty?”

At the diner, Sunday morning: A 50-ish man paying his bill said to a 20-ish waitress: “Did you go to Stillman [high school]? You were a cheerleader.”

“Getting job applications with Michael,” snipped a girl wearing black shorts and a white Illinois State-logo sweatshirt into a cellphone at a local grocery store, about 4:20 p.m. Wednesday.

iHotel, Champaign, Ill., 14 April 2015. The pretension of naming an "Excellence Room."

iHotel, Champaign, Ill., 14 April 2015. The pretension of naming an “Excellence Room.”

After a sophomore asked if we could have fun in my English class Friday, I declined his offer, and he answered, “You hate fun.” “I get paid to hate fun,” I confirmed.

After a student said on Facebook that she couldn’t tell the difference between “affect” and “effect.” I responded that there is no difference between “affect” and “effect”; that’s just something we English teachers tell students in order to keep them busy with worksheets.

Kim Waitress, at the diner, Saturday, 18 April 2015

Kim Waitress, at the diner, Saturday, 18 April 2015

‘If you don’t start pretending to learn, I’m gonna start trying to teach’

By the end of the school week, my patience wears thin. I’m not proud to admit this, but last Friday I threatened a student with my pedagogy.

The normally bright student said she didn’t know how to answer a grammar question that we had studied just a few weeks ago. I said, “If you don’t start pretending to learn, I’m gonna start trying to teach.” (I don’t quote myself very often, but after I heard myself say these words, I thought they were worth writing down.)

After a few more minutes of the punctuation worksheet, she begged for mercy: “You don’t have to pretend to teach anymore because I just learned something,” she said.

P.S. When I used the word “pedagogue” in class the other day, this same sophomore student thought it cute that I was suddenly talking about a “pet goat.”