So many kids, I don't know what to do.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Adventures in Teachering

Back a few years ago I was teaching the sixth grade.  It was awful.  There is a special place in heaven for people who teach junior high.  I won't be invited there.

I was teaching social studies and it was a fun class to teach.  The curriculum was general concepts, different cultures, and world religions.  It just so happened we were studying Christianity around the time of Christmas so it was appropriate to have the kids make a nativity scene similar to the one kids make in Italy. 
The cute little sixth graders were cutting and pasting to their little heart's content.  One girl was keeping up a steady stream of conversation with herself while she was working and I stopped to listen in.  She had lost one of the pieces and kept saying, "Where is Jesus's daddy?"  "Where is Jesus's daddy?"  I tried to keep going and just not comment, but I couldn't. 

I said, "You know, Joseph was not Jesus actual father?" 

She gasped - horrified.  "He wasn't!?  Did he know?"  Despite the fact I had already taught the basic beliefs of Christianity she thought the story was going to unravel like a soap opera, or maybe a Maury Povich show.
I soldiered on, "Mary was a virgin."

Of course the child didn't know what a virgin was.  That would have made it too easy. I tried to explain, "She did not get pregnant in the usual way." 

Questioning looks from the girl. 

"Christians believe God is the father."

Even more confusion.

Finally some smart alec in the class hollered, "She didn't have sex, you dork."  I am not sure if he was referring to me or her, but I hadn't had to say "sex" to a class of sixth graders and I was relieved.

She however was not.  Her eyes about bugged out of her head as she shouted incredulously, "THAT HAPPENS!!??"

"Just the once!"  I assured her. 

The same girl later went on to be VERY interested in Buddhism which the sixth graders insisted on calling, "Booty-ism."   I often wonder now is she is meditating somewhere with a bald head thinking that Christianity is just way too confusing. 

(Looking back now it seems amazing to me I wasn't burned at the stake for teaching Christianity that year.  It was in the curriculum, but now my own kids aren't even allowed to sing "We Wish You a Merry Christmas in the school choir at the Winter Concert.)


  1. That is too funny! Kids are so funny sometimes. At my HS our principal made a huge deal that we couldn't put up any Christmas decorations in our classroom or do anything for Christmas. So I had to find 'winter' decorations. Then he played Christmas music over the intercom during passing periods for the two weeks leading up to the break!!! Hmmm...that was a little contradictory! :)He almost ruined Christmas music for me because for the first week they played the same song on repeat each passing period. Ever heard the same song over and over for 7 minutes in a row every 90 minutes? Torture.

  2. You always help me start my day with a laugh!

  3. I know! How things have changed. Too funny.

  4. I love your posts! And I just edited mine to add a story about a tambourine.

    Please buy dh a tambourine for his birthday - for me.

  5. Now we call it the Winter Holiday Party. Someone should make up a new song. "Happy Winter Holiday to you..."

  6. THANK YOU for stopping by and commenting on my blog! :o)

    You should come to my town. Thankfully we still have Choral "Christmas" concerts, not "Holiday" concerts. The choral teacher is the same teacher I had when I was going to school, so until he retires, I doubt we'll have to worry about that changing.

    BTW, LOVE your blog!

  7. Oh my goodness...I don't know how you held it together. I would've been laughing so hard at her.
    I can't believe you have hair and you taught middle school!

  8. Hahaha what a funny story! Thank you for always providing funny posts to read! :)

  9. Love the story. Kids are the best!
    Now I am a bit fed up with how insecure we are in our beliefs. Just saying happy holidays does not reflect respect for diversity, in my humble opinion. So: Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Joyful Kwanza, Happy Saturnalia (ancient Roman holiday late in Dec.), and Merry whatever pagan winter solstice holidays were called. Have I missed something?

  10. Hahaha! I love that story. Hilarious! I could never teach sixth graders. You're tough to have done it at all! It bums me out that things have changed to the point where you really can't say anything about Christmas without worrying about getting in trouble! Seems things have swung too far in the other direction.

    Oh, and ps, that girl reminds me a bit of Lisa Simpson from the way you described her. ;) haha!


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