Hey Miss Landers!

A day in the life of a 7th grade teacher

Hey Miss Landers, Do You Know What Day It Is Today?


Yesterday, during 3rd period, my students were talking about their “half birthdays.”  I was taking attendance and getting the Smartboard ready to go over a story that I had written in Spanish for the students to practice “su rutina cotidiana.” (Their daily routine using reflexive verbs.)

Anyhoo, one of the students looks at me and asks me when my birthday is and I tell them.  “Miss Landers, I’m going to make you cupcakes tomorrow and bring them to class because tomorrow is your half birthday!”

Isn’t that sweet? I honestly didn’t expect anything to happen but do you know what?  Not only did they bring me fancy cupcakes but even brought me wrapped gifts!  Yippee!  Isn’t that something?

 You know, I used to wish I could be a mother and have lots and lots of babies.  But, life handed me a different set of cards and motherhood was not to be for me.  But I’m not sad.  Oh no!  You see, instead of one baby I get the joy of having many each and every day and each and every school year. 

Why, I must have taught well over one thousand children by now.   They spoil me so much. 🙂  I”m a lucky lady, if I do say so myself.

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Hey Miss Landers-What’s My Name?

So….I teach Spanish in Middle School, as I’ve mentioned before.  And part of helping the students move seamlessly in the language is to have them pick a name in Spanish.  I have a deck of cards with names for the boys and a separate deck for the girls.  I have to do this because after twenty-one years of teaching I grew tired of students wanting to be: Jesús, Margarita, or Nacho Libre.  Heavy sigh.  Giggle.  Rolling the eyes.  Imagine the reactions to me having to say, “Jesus, you didn’t do your homework again?!” I taught in a Catholic school so you get the idea.   🙂

Anyhoo….I was in the midst of explaining the importance of picking a proper name to my group of seventh graders when suddenly one boy looks at me with a serious look and says, “You mean it’s like having a DOUBLE life!” 

Ha! Ha! Ha!   Uh…Yes…well….something like that. 

 I’ve said it before.  I’ll say it again. I love what I do for a living.  I can’t believe I get paid to have so many giggles in a day.


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Miss Landers, How Old Are You?

 So….I’m sittin’ in my 3rd period –we’re in the lab today and my students are always joking that “Jane Apple“*  and “Mark Orange” *should get married because they’ve known each other for EVER and are always bickering (like an old married couple).  We all laugh and giggle about this ‘cause, you know….. it’s funny.

And then I say, “Well my sister Yvette and her husband Mark met in 9th grade at Hannah Banana High School*and they’re still happily married to this day.”

Suddenly, from the back of the Language Lab Coconut*  asks, “How old is your sister?”  I am thinking out loud…”Hmm…I’m 45 so she is 41!” 

To which Coconut responds, “Really?  You’re 45?  Gee, you only look like you’re 40!” 

Yep.  That Oil of Olay Youth Crème is really WORKIN’ for me, huh?   Ha! Ha! Ha!

*Coconut (That’s my nickname for this student because of his perfectly round head)

*Names have been changed






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Miss Landers, Why are you crying? (All Saints’ Day and Ft. Hood)

As I wrote in a previous post, I teach 7th grade Spanish.  Today we celebrated All Saints’ Day Chapel at school.  Here the names of family, friends, and co-workers are remembered and honored.  It was a beautiful service; with a feeling of warmth rather than somber gloom in the air.  Wonderful.  Some of my 7th grade girls are in the middle school choir and came to me about a month ago to let me know how nervous they were about singing For the Beauty of the Earth.  They knew that I was a singer just like them and had sung the song years before in school.  They really just wanted moral support.  They were soooo cute just standing there with me in the Grille (the cafeteria) clucking like nervous little chickens.  One student thrust the sheet music in my face and we worked on site reading so she could harmonize properly.  It was fun to work with them.  And today, during their performance, I was so proud of my girls and how gorgeous their singing sounded.  They weren’t little girls standing on the risers in front of the entire school anymore.  They sounded like angels. Truly it brought tears to my eyes and I kept having to wipe my eyes because I was afraid that my make-up was running down my face.  After the service I told them they really moved me, we hugged and laughed and off I went to teach and they to learn.  Later that afternoon at the gym I looked up at the tv and saw the shooting at Ft. Hood.  And I started to cry.  What happened?  Why?  All my happy childhood memories of living on base at Ft. Ord in California came rushing forward.  Somebody has lost a child, a friend, and a lover.  Such a juxtaposition of tears.  First happy and then sad.

My heart goes out to the families and loved ones of all the soldiers.

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Miss Landers, Who is Michael Jackson?

Ah youth.  That sweet time in life when you know nothing and everything all at once.

I teach 7th grade Spanish.  Love it actually.  And today, as is my custom, I went to a certain place which shall remain a secret (Panera) and bought my skim Chai Latte.  As I waited for my Friday morning treat; there to my right was a very round lady dressed in a Zorro outfit.  No, she really was!  And at first I thought, “Oh my god lady!  Didn’t anybody tell you the truth before you left the house?!  You look like a fat Zorro!”  And I realized, crap…she means to be a fat Zorro.  Why?  Why not an apple?  Or a pumpkin?  A graf zeppelin?  Anything that works with her naturally outward bound curves. I wonder if she is a fellow teacher.  We do things like this you know.  Why once, I was stupidly convinced to wear one of my cheerleader’s outfits during homecoming when I taught high school.  I don’t even want to know what went through the boys’ heads (oh look what I just wrote -hee! hee!) Who knew how short those skirts are?

So anyway, I sip my creamy spicy delight -wake up and remember that it’s Halloween tomorrow and she’s probably dressed up like her students.  We do crap like that you know?

Somehow this made me think of Michael Jackson’s Thriller (really I can’t even tell you how I made the connection- just go with it)  and in class I asked about it and to my horror there were students who had not seen it.  Sacre bleu!

I told them that we could watch it in its’ entirety on the Smartboard after the quiz.  Below are just some of the comments I caught while they were watching it.

  “Please to enjoy.”

1.  “How does he move like that?  It’s almost like he doesn’t have bones.”

2.  “He must have strong calves because he’s always on his tippy toes.”

3.  “I’ve never seen this video.”

4.  “Miss Landers, were people scared when they saw this video back then?”

5. “It’s kind of like a movie.”

6. “Can you MOVE your BIG head?”

7. “Can we dance?”

8.  ” Why is she just standing there?”

9.  “He looks like a cat.”

10.  Kid #1 – “Why does she run into the only abandoned house on the block?”     Kid #2 – Because people were dumb like that back then.”     Kid #3 – No, it’s an homage to horror films of the 50s (he really said this- a 7th grader)

And then the bell rang and off they went to get ready for Halloween tomorrow!

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