Boys Speaking Up
The Diary of a First Grade Teacher

Boys speaking up in class is a good thing ... as long as they understand and follow the rules. The same rules apply to the girls, too, of course.

The problem IS it takes A LOT LONGER for some of the students to understand and to cooperate.

Sometimes it’s a girl ... And sometimes, it’s a boy.

No matter who it is, I try my best to help them learn the classroom rules. But sometimes, I just can't help but laugh ... They are TOO cute!

Follow my Cues

In Math class, I was teaching the concepts of “greater than” and “less than” to a small group of students whenever Joe Joe yelled across the classroom …

“I gotta go PEEEEE!”

To teach him that was inappropriate behavior, I frowned at him and shook my head.

Then, to model the correct behavior for him and others – since the whole class had heard him - I raised my hand, and QUIETLY said, “May I please go to the bathroom?”

He jumped up, holding himself. “Oooooh, can I go with you?” he begged. “I GOTTA GO BAAAAD!

Trying to Please or Appease the Teacher?

I asked Tommy to please go wash his hands.

“I already done it. But it didn’t do no good,” he insisted.

I took his hands into mine and examined them closely. “What IS this stuff?” I asked.

“I can’t hardly ever get tar off my hands,” he admitted. “It don’t come off … I done tried water … AND SOAP!" He glanced over to be sure I had heard him.

"You know what I have to do? I have to WAIT and WAIT ... So, don't worry! When it’s dry … I'll just dig 'er out!”

Listen to Instructions

NO ONE I know here in the South speaks as slowly as the movies portray that we do!

Okay … I know one or two who do ... And my student, Martin, is one of them. He has that stereotypical drawl that indicates he must be from one of the southern states. And this child talks NONSTOP!

I am constantly speaking to him about being quiet ... so he will not be disturbing others.

So, once again today, I explained to him that he must be quiet and do his work … His classmates were trying to do their work.

“Do you understand me, Martin?”

He was cooperative. “Yes, Siree, Ma'am! My mouth is ZIPPED! I am quiet! LOOK! I am QUIET!”

He began rocking to and fro, with a rhythm. He created a chant and drummed on his desk ...

“I am quiet!

"I am SO quiet!

"I am SO, SO quiet!


Leaning over, I placed both of my hands on his desk and …

Suddenly, he returned from his frenzied state and focused in on me.

“That’s enough!” I said, moving my lips, but not making a sound. “Got it?”

I handed him his pencil. And waited for his response.

“Got it,” he mumbled.

And right when I thought I had solved the problem, I almost laughed out loud …

It was the expression on his face.

He HAD THE NERVE to look surprised.

I Love Girls and Boys Speaking Up

In the school hallway, a first grader from another class raced up to me and said, “Hey, you know what?”

Did I know him? No. Did it matter? Not to him. He was worked up.

“I’m gittin’ me a three-wheeler!”

“You are?”

“Yeah,” he said, wearing a big, missing-teeth-grin, "and I can't wait!"

He danced around me, thrilled at the thought. “My daddy said in just TEN MORE KWANZAS!"


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Pre-K, Kindergarten, First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, Twelfth, Homeschooler -