But, I digress.
These were middle-schoolers in my charge. By Friday, I had fallen in love with all of them, even the ones named by the teacher that were supposed to cause me many problems. They were so funny. Some scenarios:
One lad looks at me funny. He says, "You look like Jamie Leigh Curtis." I reply, "Well, I suppose I've been told that." Under my breath I mutter, "Yeah, maybe if she gained 100 pounds." Another lad shouts, "JAMIE LEIGH CURTIS GAINED 100 POUNDS?!?"
It's reading and book review time. One young fellow is looking at the book shelf. For a really, REALLY, long time. I finally go over and ask him, "What are you looking for? May I help?" He says, "I can't find the book I was reading to do my review." "What was the book?" I asked. "Call of the Wild," he responds. "Well, go sit down and try to do as much as you can, and I'll hunt around for it." He sits and I KNOW that book is there. I hated it back in the old days and I hate it now, and every Language Arts class has more than a fair supply of the heart-breaking novel. And, there it is. Sitting right there. I take it over to him. "That's not it," he says. "Yes, it is. It's Call of the Wild by Jack London." I reply. "No, it's not. That book has 345 pages. Mine had 295," he says authoritatively, "so this can't be the book." ?!? Oy.
The teacher, ever so kind, left a boat-load of work for the kids to do in the last 2 days before Thanksgiving break, and you know they were just itching to do it all. She left a worksheet for the Gifted and Talented class. It was about complex and compound sentences. She left instructions for them to do some extra sentence analyzing besides just identifying which sentences are complex and which are compound. The kids look at the worksheet, and by the looks on their faces I contemplate calling 911 for mass resuscitation. "We DON'T know what this means!" The wails begin. And, as they were proper little G&T's, I knew they could see their entire future collapse before their very eyes. They would be destitute forever, living in a cardboard box, eating cold and stale McDonald's french fries from the McDumpster. Whoa was them. Panic ensued. I rang the little apple bell on the teacher's desk to quiet them down. They looked at me, silent and shocked. "Your teacher doesn't ring this little bell to get your attention?" I ask.
"No, she just screams."
SOOOO I explain, 3 or 4 times, the difference between a compound and a complex sentence. They work on the worksheets, muttering and whining, and beg to take them home overnight to study more. They bring them back the next day and the next assignment is horrific. Write 10 COMPLEX sentences about Will or Jim in Something Wicked This Way Comes. The blood drains from their faces. We go over it ONE MORE TIME. They start writing. They've got it! They are EVEN splitting the independent clause and putting the dependent clause in the middle! One kid, at a table of three students, raises his hand. I go over and he wants me to read his sentence. It's a correlative sentence. I start to tell him that it's a great sentence but "actually it is a correla..." and before I can finish, they all have their fingers in their ears saying "la la la la la la." LOL. Never mind. I show him how to change it up to keep it complex.
I had the best time with those kids.