1. School t-shirts, no matter how uniquely and intuitively designed are nothing but ugly.
2. The term “at risk” really applies to you, as a teacher, more than the students. (Everyone could be considered at risk for some reason anyhow. The world’s fucked up.)
3. As long as you arrive in the building before your admin, you are not late.
4. Never let them see you cry, unless of course, it’s during Challenge Day and you want to appear slightly more human.
5. Use the bathroom at every opportunity you are not around students. Leaving in the middle of class inevitably leads to “WHERE ARE YOU GOING MISS K!!?!”
6. Some students will argue for the sake of arguing. For instance: While handing out grade sheets, student argues “I turned that in!” Student finds appropriate assignment shoved in his book. Teacher wears smug look but chooses to say nothing. Student says “You must have handed this back to me without a grade on it.” Teacher has rage stroke.
7. The camaraderie you will find with “like” colleagues will be more helpful than a handful of xanax and a shrink.
8. Care just enough to give it everything but not so much that you take it home with you. (Easier said than done.)
9. Be prepared for anything. Just when you’ve seen/heard/ it all, a kid will ask you if you’ve stopped getting your period in the middle of class because his cousin told him her period stopped when she was 18.
10. Caffeinate. Then drink water to balance out said caffeine.
11. Arrange classroom with as many open spaces as possible. The more spaces, the less places they can hide.
12. Make an ass of yourself once and awhile.
13. When angry, never go above a level 6 (out of 10). Explain that to students.
14. When something really gets under your skin, rant about it for longer than necessary. Students will not want to hear it again or, even better, will monitor their peers. In my case, I heard a lot of “Don’t get her started again.”
15. Have fun with the curriculum. If you need to teach The Scarlet Letter like it’s a trashy talk show to get your students to pay attention, do it. If you need to make a bad joke to get them to remember something, do it. If you need to dance across the room singing “Deeee oh ELLLLLLLLLLL” and pretend to be the overcaffeinated DOL fairy to get your students to shut up, pay attention, and FINALLY understand the difference between a colon and a semi colon, you do it.