Mrs. Goldfinch is one of those people who just wear me out. I don't think she sleeps. She teaches special ed and is one of the first at school and the last to leave. She's extremely active and athletic and hikes, rock climbs, runs, and swims, and in her spare time she gardens like a fiend, scrapbooks, sews amazing Halloween costumes, and makes her own jewelry. She's astounding. She's also an absolute hoot as a person and an awesome teacher.
Mrs. Goldfinch has a room right next to mine - in fact, for some reason we have yet to ever determine, there's actually a door between our two rooms, so we can actually pass from my room into her's without going out in the hall. Why we would want to do this is beyond me, and we rarely ever use it. In fact, right now I have a huge stack of new science books in front of the door because I know it won't be used. In any case, this means that we share a pretty good chunk of wall.
Which means that often times I can hear what's going on in her room and she can hear what's going on in mine.
Yesterday she pulled me aside while we were doing hall duty with a mischievous sparkle in her eye. "You should hear what your seventh graders are saying about you," she giggled.
"Oh great," I said. "I can only imagine."
"Oh no, it's funny," she said. "I had a whole bunch of them on the first day, when they got their schedules, just scared to death that they had you. They got to hear you get after that group of kids you had last year and it scared the daylights out of them. They thought you were just the meanest teacher in the building."
"Well, considering the kids I had last year, that doesn't surprise me," I said. After all it was the Seventh Grade Class From Hades (who are now tormenting the 8th grade teachers.)
"I know! After they had your class, they came in saying that they couldn't believe how nice you were," she said. "I explained that often how a teacher acts has a lot to do with how the kids act."
She's so right. I'm sure that most of the kids last year thought we were just the meanest group of teachers around - and I'm sure they think that every year. They have that affect on people. I felt like all I did last year was scream at kids and it was all I could do to get through the day. I hated it.
Which is why we're all still stunned that we are having such an easy time of it so far. I mean, here we are, four days in and we only have one girl in ISS because she got caught kissing a boy in the hallway. Last year we had at least three up there and it was for fighting.
Today, one of Mrs. Goldfinch's kids, Lovestruck Boy (who has admitted being smitten with one of our young ladies who is, truly, cute as they come), actually told me that he thought I'd changed from last year. "You're not the same as you were last year," he said. "You're nice. I thought you were mean."
"Because I had to yell at my kids all the time, right?" I asked him.
"Yeah, you've changed."
"I haven't changed one bit, kiddo," I told him. "The difference is you. You guys are just a great bunch of kids who get along, listen, and do your job. When you do what you're supposed to, we have fun."
"Yeah, I think it will be fun this year," he said. "You're nice."