Wednesday, March 31, 2010

my students are awesome...sometimes

Yesterday was my birthday. For the past couple weeks I have been joking with my students "so, what are you getting me for my birthday?" Well they pulled through. One student made me dozens of cupcakes. Two students brought me a yummy chocolate muffin for breakfast. Two students (who are not even mine) made me a card. A class that isn't mine (I was subbing one block) sang happy birthday to me. One student made me two CDs, one that he mixed on turn tables. My class sang happy birthday to me and I got many many hugs throughout the day. Great day!

Friday, March 26, 2010

open house and then some

This week we had Open House. That was awesome. So I usually wear jeans and a sweater or top to school because in one class or another we are working with clay. For Open House, I wore a dress and heels! My students would walk right past me because they didn't recognize me or they would do a double take. I don't think I could wear that every day though....way too much work to just get dirty. Today one of my students were telling others in the class what they missed out on...however she was a little disappointed that I didn't wear Toms that night.

Today I subbed for a couple teachers - one art and one film analysis. In my first class I took a kid's cell phone because he was making a phone call during class. He was mad. I told him that I didn't really care because that it is a school policy - no electronic devices. He then proceeded to tell me to f*%! off. Not the right move....especially if he wanted his cell phone back. After class he stayed to apologize ("not to get my phone back"). He said he was having a bad week - missed court dates, probability of going to jail, blah blah blah. Maybe he should go to jail. Still kept his phone. When I told another teacher the story, she said "I have heard that story so many times." I have heard versions in the past. How has that become the new "my dog ate my homework"?

In my second art class today, some kids were pretty much done with everything. Some students worked on extra credit. However, some of those kids finished that as well. So I told those kids to do something, anything. Draw. Read. Homework. Anything. He drew me a picture.

I said, "oh look, there are three of us." And he said, "yes, we all will live happily ever after." That is kind of creepy.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

things children say....

These past couple weeks have been very entertaining. I have had the opportunity to not only teach my art classes but also sub a couple classes during my down time (such as Spanish, Math, and Art History).

The fun begins with the Art History class I taught a couple weeks ago. Now, I earned my degree in Art History. I really like it. I may get a little too excited about it when talking with my students but it is what I love so I don't care. The other day, I was in the Art History teacher's classroom when it was brought to my attention that he needed a sub for the day because he was not feeling well. I jumped at the opportunity. I mean, this is what I have been going to school for. I wasn't really prepared but knowing this teacher he had to be prepared. So he set me up with a film on Baroque art (which is awful if you are not familiar with it) and his slides in case I wanted to lecture. The first two classes we watched the film as it was a great film that covered a lot of what they were covering in class. During the film I would add my two cents on important images or my personal experience with the art being shown. The comes lunch. A student comes into my classroom and tells me something like: "So I heard we are watching a film in class. I talked to my mom and since we aren't learning anything in class, she is okay with me going to the media center to do research. Is that okay with you?" Are you kidding me. Not learning anything! So I told her that if she was concerned about not learning anything I could lecture on the subject instead of watching the film. She still wanted to go to the media center. I told her I would mark her absent if she didn't show. She showed. So I made a point of telling my students that we had been watching a film but one student was concerned she wouldn't learn anything in class so I thought I would lecture. Class not too thrilled. I continued telling the class that I didn't want to cheat any of my students out of the education they deserved so I would lecture on Baroque art. However, it had been a while since I studied Baroque art so it may be painful but we would get through it! I kept bringing up her without naming her. After being heckled for five minutes, she broke and admitted to the class that it was her. Awesome. So I lectured and it wasn't that bad. I was kind of excited about it. Lesson learned: don't ask stupid questions.

I had a rough week last week. My students were loud and a little disrespectful of the classroom. Busts (from my 3-4 class) were knocked on the ground, heads fell, faces were smashed. It wasn't pretty. That night I decided to search all of my students on Facebook. That proved to be quiet entertaining as well as very educational. Two of my students that spend most of the class flirting with each other don't leave much to the imagination. I "discovered" that they really enjoy my art class because they get to write on each other's arms all class. So the next class period the girl was very upset that I did not allow her to move tables when they started their production. I told the entire class that they were to stay in their assigned seats since the last class was a little out of control. She was not happy about this. I then proceeded to tell her that I would be much happier if she enjoyed my class because of all the cool things we do and make, not because she gets to write on another student's arm the entire class. She was shocked. She wasn't sure how I had found this out. I continued to tell her that she should be aware of the things she says, especially on places like Facebook, because people can see these things. She freaks out. Doesn't know what to say. Her first response is "But my profile is private. How did you see that?" First I told her I had spies. Then I told her that I my old job was working with computers. She was convinced I had hacked into her Facebook account. It was awesome. Another student had heard the conversation. He asked me if I had really looked at her profile. I told him I had. He gave me a high five. A HIGH FIVE! He told me I was amazing for doing that. My students now think I am a computer hacker...can it get any better?

Friday one of my students (the one who gave me a high five) told me that when he graduates (which is this year) he is going to miss my class the most. He said that he has been to four schools in the past four years and out of everything he is going to miss my class the most. That made me smile. I guess that is why I do what I do.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


What is with kids and clay? It is as though all rules are thrown out the window and the classroom turns into chaos. I don't get it. The first project was a pinch pot they made into a bell. Today one student asked me what happened to his bell. I asked what it looked like. He told me a mushroom. I told him that it broke. It did break. He didn't assemble it very well. However, I noticed it looked more like a "shroom" than a "mushroom" so I threw it away. I warned my students over and over again, that they will only make projects suitable for the classroom and that sometimes accidents happen and I would HATE for their project to break/explode in the kiln/go missing. So I pointed out that his "mushroom" looked like a "shroom" and his response was "how did you know?" So the kid basically admitted to making a shroom and then wondered why it was no longer there. HA!

Today we worked on slab boxes. This means that you have to make slabs out of clay and then assemble the slabs into a box. Not difficult. To a student, it seems like the most difficult thing. This is especially true if you tell the students they cannot do something that already exists, like SpongeBob SquarePants or McDonald's french fries. So what did I get? French fries. Oreos. Tons of cup cakes. Mushrooms. Now, I had shown them an example of a mushroom, and I got more mushrooms. I would tell the student to not do a mushroom and I would get a response like "but it is not like that one, it is going to be like a Mario Brothers mushroom." So this mushroom is from a video game? Yep. Awesome.

Now if I wasn't presented a mushroom or cup cake, I got a lot of responses such as "I don't know what to do. What should I do?" It is not my project, I don't have to come up with the idea for you. "Ms. Stuart, you are not very creative." Again, not my project. WOW.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

mixed bag

So a little bit of everything has been going on in the classroom the past few weeks. In my 1-2 class we are starting up a ceramic project or a series of and with my 3-4 class we are finishing up the Renaissance busts they have been working on for the past two months. So here it is, a mixed bag of random conversations:

Last week, one of my students, let's call him Joe (well, not really mine but my master teacher's - he knows who I am because I gave him an uniform violation when I subbed one of his classes, which turned into a detention, which then turned into another detention, which then turned into a referral - bummer for him), came into the restaurant I work in (a girl has to make a living is not like I am getting paid to student teacher). I don't mind my students coming into my restaurant. Most of my kids know that I am a waitress. Some have even said they were going to come in one night, although none have. Anyway, this kid comes in with his family and waves hi to me. I just laughed. He doesn't sit in my section but keeps saying "don't spit in my food." HA! The next day I see him at school, he asked me if I was embarrassed that one of my students came into the restaurant I work in. Following that with "I would be." Jackass.

The beginning of this week, one of Joe's friends, who is my student (the Valentine guy), approaches me and says, "so what were you and Joe talking about when he came into your restaurant?" Nothing I tell him. He then jumps in and says "but Joe said that you two talked a lot." Not really. "You had to have talked to him about something." I told his family that he should come to school in his uniform. "Ms. Stuart, what did you and Joe talk about?!" It was killing him. Made me laugh...on the inside because laughing at him would have been mean.

In my 1-2 classes, we started using clay. I do not know what it is, but high school boys have serious issues with clay. They cannot get through clay lessons without making crude jokes. Yesterday we started making a pinch pot. For those of you who are not familiar with making a pinch pot, one must make a ball of clay (jokes ranging from "Ms. Stuart, is my ball big enough?" to "Ms. Stuart, my ball is bigger than his" to "balls"). After making a ball of clay, you have to stick your thumb or finger in the clay to start pinching it and forming the pot. I am sure most of you can imagine what happens when you have to state that you need to stick you finger in the ball of clay and then demo this. It is not easy to keep a straight face with all of this going on. Then there is demonstrating how to use your fingers to smooth the inside of the pot and so on. You almost feel dirty after all of this, especially when you tell them that they are going to get dirty and they laugh. Once I was subbing for a ceramics class and I was teaching three boys how to wedge clay (to get the air bubbles out) and their "interest" in me wedging clay was too much that I just walked away. They were just staring at me. Ewww.

Today we "gave birth" to some of our Renaissance busts. This is the end of the project. This is huge! "Giving birth" is when we remove the bust from the armature. This is a painful process. Many times the head falls off. Some times we have to perform surgery and cut the bust in half and remove it in sections. No one likes this but it is clay and easily fixed. I am helping this girl remove her bust from the armature. We get the bust off the armature. I tell her "congratulations!" She responds, "look! it is a girl!" Hehe.

I can't believe I almost forgot this one: one of my girl students in my 1-2 class looks at me Monday and asks, "Ms. Stuart, does birth control have any bad side effects?" IN FRONT OF HER ENTIRE TABLE. Who does that? I directed her to her doctor or parents or even the nurse. She asks me again. I tell her, again, that she should talk to her doctor or parents about it. I wasn't ready for that. It was 9:30am and I was sick (still kind of students gave me their cooties), a little slow and not able to think fast enough. I just stared at her, thinking: really? You are going to ask me that now? Do you not care what people think? (She is a freshman...I don't think that is something you announce at that age...or maybe you do now?) Do you expect me to sit down at your table and have this conversation in the middle of class? She just kept looking at me with this big eyes waiting for an answer. I finally said, if you really want to have that discussion, see me after class. This is not the time or place. I have a feeling that question is going to come up again. I should really be prepared...but if I ignore this and pretend it won't happen again, am I off the hook?