School Year in Review

I just finished up my first year teaching a new subject at a new school, so I thought I would reflect on the past year.

I will spare you all from the detailed analysis of my school and teaching abilities and instead share some of the fun moments from the past year.

I danced hip hop in front of about 50 students with 8 of my colleagues, including a 6-foot-tall, 70-year-old nun. The highlight was my jackhammer solo near the end of the performance.

On my student evaluations, one girl said, "You were down to earth and down to us." I have no idea what the last part means, but I couldn't help but laugh when I read it.

I always try to find new ways to humiliate myself in front of my students each year. It doesn't matter how much good material you teach them; what they remember the most are the stupid things you said and did. In the past, I have laughed like Scooby Doo, impersonated a Power Ranger, mistakenly thought I had split my pants open, naively asked a student if a lot of action occurred in his bedroom, and heated packaging materials that I thought were chemicals. This year, I added some more gems to the collection (aside from the hip hop dancing that is). I talked far too frequently about unicorns, the Jonas Brothers, Hannah Montana, and High School Musical. I baked the world's most pathetic excuse for a cake. I impersonated yoda in order to teach my students about how not to change passive voice to active voice. I took a picture with a Zac Efron cutout. Overall, not too humiliating a year from me. In fact, out of my six years of teaching, I would say this was one of the least humiliating of all. I am going to have to work on that next year.

My wife came up one day to show my Journalism class our wedding album. The collective pitch of their voices got higher and higher as they flipped through it, culminating in an 18-year-old girl reading our wedding vows out loud while the rest of the class let out a variety of squeals, coos, and other sounds only heard in the halls of an all girls' school.

The students in my Journalism class wrote a "secret" article about me that was never nearly as "secret" as they thought. For example, when they showed me the list of articles for approval, they skipped over the "secret" article simply labeled "Eric" as if I don't know my first name. It was fun to let them think that I had no clue what they were doing.

One bragging point that really isn't bragging because I deserve no credit. I took this job without any journalism experience or education at all. The girls ran the entire operation with a few nods of approval from me, and they managed to place first at state competition. I rewarded them with a cake that might make people cry, not for its beauty. Still they devoured it (food is a pretty strong motivator at my school), and told me they really liked it. I still think they were just being nice although I can say that it tasted better than it looked.

I added to my already substantial collection of classroom mascots. Joining the prestigious ranks of the Rally Monkey and Rutherford the Mad Hamster were a paperdoll Jigglypuff, a butterfly to complement my creepy rooster (made out of real feathers), a High School Musical Zac Efron doll that you can sing along with, a Ben Franklin bobblehead, and a large metallic-looking unicorn.

Overall, it was a really fun year, and I am blessed to have such a great job. Still, I am glad it's summer.

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