5 Teacher Stereotypes: Are you one of these?

Can you identify yourself or any of your colleagues?

1. The “Cool” Teacher

This teacher is easy to spot. He’s stylishly dressed, and he’s the one getting fist bumps from every student who passes him in the hallway. You can’t hold a conversation with this guy because of all the kids interjecting with “Hey, Mr. Battle!” as you walk together to the lounge to check your mailbox. Even his name is cool. All the other teachers secretly want to be his friend too. But he’s already taken. His bestie is The Coach.

2. The Coach

Commonly referred to as The Group Work Teacher, this one runs his classroom just like he runs his team. A few examples:

With his team #1: No athlete will speak during practice unless spoken to. Don’t even attempt a response without direct eye contact and a response that ends in “Yes sir!”

In the classroom: No student will speak during class unless spoken to. Don’t even attempt a response without direct eye contact and a response that ends in “Yes sir!”

With his team #2: Players are expected to review the weekly scouting report. They are told to pair up with a teammate in the like position and quiz each other on their roles for the next game.

In the classroom: Students read the weekly chapter from the textbook. They are told to work in groups; complete the study guide at the end of the chapter.

With his team #3: Team gathers in locker room to watch and discuss game film.

In the classroom: Class watches a film after every test. “Wait! There’s a movie for that!”

3. The Newbie

This poor soul is readily identifiable by the permanent deer-in-the-headlight look on her face. Brace yourself if you teach in the classroom next to hers. She needs you this year. She will have A MILLION plus one questions, and it is your duty to teach her. She’s just now figuring out that she didn’t sign-up for the typical 9-5 job. She’s learning to juggle her home time with lesson planning and paper grading. Monday mornings are a special kind of struggle for her because she’s still young and holding on to occasional old, weekend-party habits. Hey, YOLO, right? Oh, and she remembers saying “YOLO!” while in college (because, come on! That was only last year.) while tossing back one more shot that will surely doom any hope of getting up before, say noon, on Sunday.

4. The Veteran


This educator is a true professional. She has spent a great number of years perfecting her craft. Perhaps she has crossed that line where more years have been spent in teaching than in all the other phases of her life. She is often called The Lecturer because she’s been using the same lesson plans since 1976. But she never takes a sick day, manages to keep even the rowdiest of kids quiet, and is predictable and consistent to a fault, so no one messes with her. She has earned her seniority. That little calendar next to her desk counts down the days until retirement. It’s hard not to be jealous of her sometimes, isn’t it?

5. The Question-Asker

Every faculty has a token question-asker. This is the one educator who really likes to dig in to deep academic conversation during professional development. Unfortunately for the rest of the 150 faculty members, the group meeting will run 30 minutes longer than the time allotted on the agenda due to her incessant questioning.

“Yes, but what would Schlechty say about that?”

“I heard Kylene Beers speak last year. How can we implement some of those close reading strategies?”

Someone cut her off already! Find a new literacy article to distract her with so the rest of us can go to lunch!


Funny Feels Good When You’re Feeling Under the Weather

I’m home sick today.

It’s just a little too quiet in this house.

And though I’ve wished for just a minute’s peace for weeks, I’m over it now. My love language is quality time and I feel like I’m losing precious moments with my man and my “babies” this weekend. Oh well, the grass will always be greener… Come Monday morning, I know I will curse my Saturday self while I hustle an uncooperative crew out the door. 6:45: you come SO EARLY!

But for now, I am the only one home; I quarantined myself under the pretense that the under 8 set won’t succumb to the myriad of bizarre illnesses I’ve experienced this week.

When I don’t feel well, I run a gamut of emotions: sappy with all the quiet time to reflect, silly when I get tired of reflecting, and usually serious as I make a mental to-do list of all the things that will need to be put back in order once the captain is well enough to man the ship again. The lurking to-do list feels overwhelming at the moment, so I think I’ll hunker down with Silly for the rest of the afternoon.

I’ll share a few of our laugh out loud moments before I watch “Mom’s Night Out” again. (I’ve never stopped to check who wrote that movie, but she SO speaks my language! And yes, I’m convinced it’s a she.)

Okay, true story.

For my first son’s 2nd birthday, I spent weeks and weeks, probably months, thinking about how I could make that day special. We were on a TIGHT budget (see how I worked those caps there? We’re talking TI-I-I-IGHT), so thank goodness he was young enough that homemade construction paper decorations and lots of high-pitched “You’re 2 now!”s sufficed. I made the cake myself– a ridiculous looking fire truck, and I use the term “fire truck” loosely.  The DIY instructions I found online that swore this cake could easily be made from a regular sheet cake evidently assumed I’d be starting with basic baking skills under my belt. Well, that was just silly. You know what happens when you assume… . I wish I could show you the picture of that cake so you could laugh with me, but I lost it when my phone went for a swim.  And unfortunately, I’ve relied on that exact same line two other times as well. It’s like my phones are predisposed to suffer a watery death. I like to blame Fate; my husband likes to blame me.

To-may-to. To-mah-to.

Anyway, fast forward about six years. My third son is getting ready to turn two. Two is a fun birthday in my book. It’s the mark of the age when he can first appreciate everyone singing to him, and he almost has enough fine motor skills to open some presents by himself. Although we all know, the problem with a two-year-old is that he really only opens the first present. Then he spends the rest of the party playing with it, while you sheepishly open all the other gifts yourself, over-emphasizing to the gift-giver how much you know he’ll love it and how you’ll have to pry him away from it at bedtime. All the while, they’re covertly giving the stink eye to the lucky first gift-giver. They’re making a mental list of all the things they would have preferred to spend $20 on.

As excited as I was about #3 turning two, I realized abruptly that I was more excited about the idea of him turning two. Suddenly, two days before his big day, I realized I hadn’t actually planned anything yet. What’s worse, it was still several days away. A lot can happen in several days.

My Facebook post from that day: “#3’s second birthday is this week, and I just set a reminder on my phone so I don’t miss it.”

Third Child Syndrome. It’s a real thing.

Okay, so here’s another one.

If if we agree on the validity of TCS, then I can’t overlook its cousin: Middle Child Syndrome. Bless my middle son’s heart, all he ever wants is to feel heard. And we fail him, frequently.

Case in point…

Scene: early morning, getting one boy ready for first grade, the middle one ready for pre-school, making an unexpected and last-minute diaper change for the baby, and attempting the clean-and-switch with rim-rod straight arms to keep the stank afar and my work clothes clean.

#2 comes running into the room. “Mom, is this white stuff the toothpaste?”

I don’t look up. One wrong move and this blouse is toast. But I need him to hurry, as usual. So I rush him like always: “Yes! Now, you have one minute to brush your teeth and get back in here, or no books tonight!” (Ugh! Did I just say that?!? I hate when my morning-panic voice takes over!)

Several minutes later, he finally returns. I knew he wouldn’t make it. He probably hasn’t even brushed yet. But I’m positive he had plenty of time to fight two, maybe three, imaginary bad guys as he came back down the hall. Typical.

“Mom, you need to go to the store.” I finally give him my attention by looking directly at him. He’s clutching a tube of Desitin. “That toothpaste is yucky.”

Oh, dear.

Middle Child Syndrome. It’s a real thing too.

“Mama, there’s a booger stuck in my teeth!”

Life can’t prepare you for parenting. It’s the final exam, homework, lecture, and mid-term all rolled into one.

Other declarations that have taken me by surprise:

* SURPRISE, Mama! I got an ice cream sandwich for breakfast! [Gather your attack quickly.] Oh look, I have one for you too! [Well, in that case…]

* [From the bathroom] You better not come in here. You’ll be mad!   . . . . .  CANNONBAAAAAAAAAALL!

* GASP! Mama, you used to be a Princess?!?!? [note to self: remove wedding portrait from master bedroom immediately]

* Hey, Mommy. Look! I made footprints with my tee-tee!

* Mom, do you want me to put this booger in my mouth? Because I did this morning, and it was really yummy!

* Is that Jesus? [note to self: a bearded Zach Galifianakis in the movie The Hangover should not be causing this much confusion. Plus, pretty sure Jesus never strapped a baby named Carlos to his chest in a baby backpack. That’s not what he meant by “Let the little children come unto me.”]

Turned my back for 2 seconds, and that little stinker had emptied the shredder and was "cooking" on the treadmill.

Turned my back for 2 seconds, and that little stinker had emptied the shredder and was “cooking” on the treadmill.

And while we’re at it… Things I Never Thought My Adult Self Would Say Out Loud

* Please don’t lick me when you hug me.

* Yes, you have to flush your poop. No, we’re not saving it.

* If you make me late to work this morning, I’m going to call Santa and tell him to forget Christmas!

* If you aim that sword at your brother one more time, I’m going to call Santa and tell him…

* If you whine about your spelling list again, I’m going to call Santa…

* NO! The tooth fairy would NEVER forget about you! She’s so clever! She’s playing with you. Now, think about a place in the house where she knows you’ll be able to find your tooth money. Somewhere you go every morning.   …the kitchen counter? YES! I bet it’s still there.

* Please don’t lick my leg again.

*No, I don’t think the baby likes wedgies.

Quips from the 4-year-old this week:

Nicknamed Cannonball. Does that tell you anything?

Nicknamed Cannonball. Does that tell you anything?

I found my inner peace.

[to me] I want you to stop acting like a child.

Let’s talk about the letter A! I know a word that starts with an A- CHERRY! Wait, no, that’s the wrong fruit, huh? APPLE!

Cammy’s so cute [speaking of our 10 mo. old, Camden.] Mom, I want you to put him back in your tummy so you can be even fatter.

What things have your kids said that left you laughing or worse, speechless?

Gimme that cape and shut your mouth

superman logoAfter a particularly draining day at work, I made the executive decision that my boys and I (then 4 yrs. and 2) would meet my husband for dinner before heading home. Within minutes of being seated in our booth at Chili’s, I could tell this was going to be a more demanding experience than I had anticipated.

(Will Ferrell kept playing in my head: “Let’s go get kicked out of an Applebees!”)

#1 was tired and cranky and crying about EVERYTHING. #2 was strong in the midst of his phase when he was trying to exert his new-found independence. His chosen method during this time was to remain standing while eating. No matter where we were, at home or at a restaurant, or who we were with, Braden would stand up in his chair to eat. Every. single. meal. we. battled. over. this.  

There are many things I am willing to overlook as a parent, internally reminding myself that my child is growing and learning and sometimes the best course of action is no action. Like when your child picks the most opportune time to try out the bad word they overheard– in your house nonetheless– while you’re standing in the check-out line at the library, where silence is of course deafening. All the experts, our respected day care director included, warn not to overreact and make the offensive language look appealing. So, even though I was mortified and could feel the judgmental eyes of everyone in the library boring into me, I calmly led my son into the foyer for some privacy (and to hide my reddening face) and almost nonchalantly said, “We don’t say the word *****.  It doesn’t sound pretty.”  Problem solved.

So, I’d say I’m flexible. But the whole standing up to eat debacle has gone on FOREVER. It is maddening! I have finally reached the point where  I am willing to die on that hill.

Needless to say, our dining experience this particular evening wasn’t going well. I gave #1 a chance to sit up in the booth and stop crying, but he refused to cooperate. I was tired, but I needed to make good on my promise that I had blurted out just moments before. “I’ll give you one more chance, and then I’m going to take you outside for a consequence.”

Outside we went. I led the oddly compliant four-year-old by his little hand, already regretting my hasty choice of words. I knelt down to his level and again explained my expectations for dinner and what he was doing that wasn’t meeting those expectations. After I swatted his bottom, he looked up at me. He didn’t cry or moan or wail as expected, but looked right into my eyes with a look of seriousness. “Mama,” he said. “That wasn’t very hard. Do you need to borrow some of my superpowers?”

I couldn’t help but laugh.

 Erupt is more like it.

Crisis averted.

We start 'em early. The evolution of Superherodom over the last three years.

We start ’em early. The evolution of  Superhero-dom over the last three years.

Superhero underwear

Superheroes instagram


And then there was that winter when #2 wouldn't take the toboggan off. The. whole. dern. winter.

And then there was that year when #2 wouldn’t take the toboggan off the. whole. dern. winter.

Oops! I missed my turn!

Oops! I missed my turn!

One afternoon as I was getting ready to tackle a few chores around the house, I set up my then three-year-old with a mother-load of hot wheels on the floor of my bedroom. I thought smugly to myself, This is going to be great. #2 is finally down for his nap, and #1 could line these cars up all day long. I remember how my firstborn would park each car in this perfectly straight line. Funny, how even that early in life, Brennan’s little Type A brain was already driving him to be a perfectionist. He usually labored over this way longer than he should have, especially since his 10 month old baby brother had a radar for such important feats and would hone in on it like Godzilla taking over Tokyo.

I was running around trying to get as much done as I could while the peace lasted, popping in and out of the bedroom where Brennan was creating his parking garage. I remember I’d just scooped up a huge pile of clothes and headed out of the room when I heard him comment to himself, “Oops! I missed my turn!” Curious, I doubled back to peek around the doorframe, and I saw him with one special car pulled out of the lineup. He was bent over his little hot wheel, driving it in a wide arc, going back and forth over the same indented path in the carpet each time. And each time he reached the end to turn back, he called out, “Oops! I missed my turn!”

There are several truths I’ve learned about kids, mostly through the trials and errors of parenting. One is that kids learn through repetition. Another is that kids learn by imitating.

You know you have a poor sense of direction when…