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Hickeys are for Losers

March 12, 2012
teaching new orleans

Who do you want to impress the most when you do well on your Benchmark? From my 15-year-old 6th grader who will be in 10th grade next year: he wants to impress me and my co-teacher. These are the days when teaching feels like the smooth side of sandpaper, rather than grains of broken glass.

My principal said something to me that really resonated: talk to your class like they are your students, not like they are your children. I don’t have any children. (What would I do with a child? Put it in the closet while I stayed out too late?). But there is one student that gets the same amount of mom as he gets of Ms. Summers.

During lunch, he pops up out of pencil-scribbling silence: “Hickeys hurt.”

Without thinking, I respond back, “Hickeys are for losers, man.”

He laughs at me, and I smile back with the mom smile of sweet disapproval. Then back to teacher: “It breaks blood vessels under the skin. It’s a bruise. That’s why it hurts.”

“Oh. Well first it felt good, and then it hurt.”

“No more hickeys, child. No more hickeys.”

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