Monday, October 30, 2006

If I were a Garbage Man.

Sometimes when the kids are making my teaching job very difficult by not cooperating, I tell them this:

"Teaching is my JOB! Right now I am not liking my job very much. If my job was to go up and down the streets collecting the garbage cans and putting them in my truck, then it's like all of the cans are spilled. It's like all of the cans have ants on them. It's like all of the garbage cans are on fire! That's how much I am enjoying my job at this moment!"

Sometimes this calms them down and gets them to think about cooperating with me. Sometimes I have to just keep collecting the flaming garbage.

A World of Happiness :-)

You can't change the world, but you can change YOUR world! Think about this: If you do everything you can to make the people around you happy, then you will see smiling faces everywhere you look. You will create a happy world. A happy home. A happy classroom. If you are grumpy and mean to other people and don't cooperate, then you will see grumpy mean faces around you and you will be living in a grumpy world. A grumpy house. A grumpy classroom.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Tigers Eat Penguins

Elena is a second grader. This was our conversation.

ELENA: Mr. Bowers, my mom wants to know if you are rooting for the Tigers in the World Series?
MR. BOWERS: I'm sorry but I don't root for tigers because tigers eat penguins.
ELENA: Tigers don't eat penguins Mr. Bowers. Tigers don't even live in the same place as penguins!
MR. BOWERS: What? Are you kidding me? Are you telling me that if a tiger broke loose at the zoo he wouldn't go straight to the penguin habitat? Whatever! He would gobble up those penguins like Popsicles!

Then I just walk away.

Friday, October 20, 2006


I was teaching one of my second grade classes today and a student (Pierre) walked in late. He was angry about something and had a very sour look on his face.

Usually when this happens, I tell the kid that whatever he is mad about happened BEFORE he came to my class, so he can take off that anger like a jacket and leave it outside the classroom and I will remind him pick it back up and put it on when he leaves. Sometimes this works and the kid forget about being mad and I am able to have a productive 45 minutes with him.

In this case, before I could even talk to the kid, one of his classmates shouted out, "Pierre's MAD!" Pierre responded to this by shouting out angrily, "LEAVE ME ALONE!"

Instinctively, I sprang into action. I approached Pierre as if I was frightened of him. "Pierre, oh, no! What's going on? Watch out everyone! Pierre might lose it! I think he is starting to turn into the HULK! (Pierre starts to grin at my antics) Look at his muscles getting bigger! Pierre, CALM DOWN, the girls are getting scarred!" Right on cue, the girls all started huddling together. I go over to him and gently guide him to his seat. "It's OK girls, calm down, I think he has it under control. It's OK everyone He's cool now."

Luckily, Pierre took my joke well. I was able to have a productive 45 minutes after all.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Kindergarten Bully's Mom

Khalil is doing much better at school. He is still having some problems but he is trying so much harder to be nice and he even comes to see me every day. I love having him in class because of his new attitude.

Yesterday I got a surprise when I met Khalil's mom for the first time. Earlier this year I wrote her a note about her son's unacceptable behavior, so when I introduced myself, she started apologizing for him. I said to her, "Oh, Khalil is doing much better. He is trying so hard to behave in my class and he even comes to see me every morning to say, 'hello' and he tells me that he is gonna have a good day. I love his new attitude. He is one of my FAVORITE kids at this school."

Khalil's mom looked me in the eye and said, "No one has EVER said that about my son. Thank you."

Sometimes a little praise can go a long way.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


Imagine that your mom brings you a happy meal from McDonnalds. When you open the happy meal, what do you expect to find? A toy. How would you feel if there was no toy? Sad? Mad? Dissapointed? Whenever you don't do what your teacher expects you to do, you are like a happy meal with no toy.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Primal Scream

I haved this one class that drives me crazy! When they come to Drama class, they are fighting, tattling, hitting, screaming--you name it! I spend most of the 45 minutes that I have with them trying to solve the problems that they are having with each other and I can't even get through the lesson. The way my class goes is like this: I give them a lesson, and then we do a fun Drama activity that relates to the lesson.

Yesterday I was really getting frustrated with them so before I could start the lesson, I began working with them on treating each other with kindness, love, respect, sensitivity...everything I could think of. It wasn't working, they continued tattling, secretly kicking each other, hitting, talking to each other in rude voices, bothering each other--everything!

I kept getting madder and madder and I was working so hard on trying to control my temper. I was at a boiling point. I was trying to exibit a calm control over the class and it was not working. I told them in a calm reasonable voice, "Guys, listen, I have a fun activity planned for you. Calm down and listen to what I am teaching you and then we can have some fun learning."

One of the kids SHOUTS out, "We gonna play a game?!"

I totally lost it. I was looking for something to destroy. I ran out of the room into the parking lot (which is right outside my room) I threw my arms out to my side and yelled, "AAAAAAGGGGGGGHHHHHHH" I felt like a lion roaring his displeasure to the whole jungle.

Amazing. I felt totally refreshed and calm. When I came back into the room, all of the kids were sitting still. Most of them had looks of shock on their faces. A couple of them were crying (the two kids in the class who actually behave).

I calmly began the lesson and was able to finish it in five minutes. The kids listened and responded like a perfect class.

Today one of the kids who was crying, Mariah, came up to me and said she was crying because she felt sorry for me. I told her that I was sorry I lost my temper and that I am constantly working on controling it. I also told her that I cried about what happened as well when I got home. I thanked her for behaving and told her to keep trying.

Today is a much better day--even though it's Friday the 13th.

Friday, October 06, 2006

All in the Same Class!

I have the best names in the whole school all in the same class this year. Check out this role call:

Fadi (pronounced "Fatty")
Aymen (Amen)
Oyinkansola (just like it looks)
Ja'urney (yeah, like "journey")
Sega (like the game)
Damya (i wish it was damn ya, but it's not.)
Mazie (i just like the name)
Haadiya (haadiya do sir?)
Opah (that's his last name)

We have some other good names in some other classes that I have discovered:

Loe (pronounced "low")
twins-Neo and Trinity (from Matrix)
Yiternatee (like Eternity, but yee-ternity)
Shaadee (like shoty)
Trejeanne (it is actually pronounced "tre-jean"
Niceforo (nee-sef-or-o)
Dijonaise (i like mine on whole wheat with ham)