a quote from my favorite author

“The most solid advice, though, for a writer is this, I think: Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep, really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive, with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell, and when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.”

-William Saroyan, The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

My Inner Rebel (and its followers)


I am not sure if you know this about me, but I am a bit of a rebel.

I was reminded of that today. 

But this story actually begins this fall…

In October our 8th graders took the EXPLORE (an ACT predictor test) to determine high school placement.  Each day, there are two test sessions with a short break between. 

During one such break, the dean decided it would be a good idea to tell one of my students that he had lost the privilege of riding his bike to school…for the REST OF THE YEAR.  While this may have been a fair consequence (thought I am pretty sure going from multiple warnings to NO BIKE FOR THE WHOLE YEAR with no brief suspension of privileges is probably NOT a fair consequence), that is beside the point. 

The point is this student should not have been given distressing information like this IN THE MIDDLE OF A TEST! 

So, to put him in a good mood again, I started joking with B before jumping into the instructions for the second test session:

B:  It is so unfair!  The dean said I can ‘t ride my bike to school ever again!

Random other student:  Hey B, she said you couldn’t ride YOUR bike to school ever again.  Just get someone else’s bike!

Me (aka ‘The Rebel”):  Not a bad idea!  B, can I have your bike?  You know, since you can’t ride it to school anymore anyway?

 B:   Suuuure…?

Me:  Thanks!  Hey, umm…since I don’t have room at my house, can I store it at yours?  Oh, and by the way, since it’s there you are welcome to borrow it any time.

The class laughed, B smiled, and everyone got down to standardized testing business with a lighter heart.  I didn’t think twice about it…

That is until the next morning—when B showed up to school with “my” bike. 

Needless to say, I don’t think the dean appreciated my inner rebel.

That brings us to today—ISAT testing.  Each day of ISAT testing we have two test sessions with a short break between. 

Our leadership team decided to create themed dress-up days to get students a bit excited.  Today’s theme was “Dress for Success.” 

B showed up dressed in sneakers, sweatpants, a t-shirt, and a bathrobe.  Sure, this was sort of a snarky nod to the theme, but he definitely was cozy and ready for the test!

During the break today, I noticed one of the deans confront B about his attire.  He was told that his bathrobe violated handbook rules (Really?  We have a rule against wearing bathrobes to school?  On dress-up days? ).  B was forced to remove the bathrobe and store it in his locker. 

Left with just a t-shirt, B walked back to my chilly classroom, disgruntled. 

The other students had witnessed the event with the same disbelief I was feeling.  They were as righteous as I was because we had talked about the necessity of being in a positive frame of mind during a high stakes testing situation.  They started to call out that they were all going to wear bathrobes tomorrow in solidarity  (though this kind of passive resistance appeals to the rebel in me something fierce, visions of the bike situation came flying back).  Just then a random student spoke up.

Student:  Mrs. Rush, B should just give you his robe, then you can let him borrow it and he can’t get in trouble for wearing HIS robe anymore! 

Perhaps I have taught these students a little too well!  


  1. Love it. You know I would have done the same thing!

    What I don't love is the singling out of a student right before a state test. Sometimes administrators haven't the sense God gave a goat! At my school we have had conversations about how some students are singled out for some things they wear and other students would get by with it...

  2. I love it, Christy! Thanks for sharing your inner rebel with us. I think I'll giggle about this tale in days to come...you know, each time I see something similar when I'm out and about ;).

    No bathrobes? On dress up days? Geesh. Talk about a buzz-kill...

  3. LOVE it! You have taught them well...however, I'm still shaking my head about the bathrobe? really? Frustrating, especially on testing day! I'm thankful B has you!

  4. Oh my! That's what happens when people have too much time on their hands - they create rules about wearing bathrobes to school! In our school, you could wear your bathrobe every day of the year and no one would say anything. Some kids come in pajamas when they have a test (even if it's not a high stakes test) just to be comfy. It's good that you have a sense of humour about it all. Sometimes you just have to shake your head, eh?

  5. maybe he could make it all better if he wore a suit on pajama day! lol I really would like to know where the "big guys" get their rules sometimes. Sounds to me like you just gave credence to real world learning! too funny.

  6. Love it! I too am a rebel at heart, especially when common sense seems to have been thrown out the window.:)

  7. I. Love. This! This is exactly something I would do. I lose sleep at night over stupid rules and constantly break them. Did you see Ann Marie Corgill's post about #rulebreakersforkids, it's sounds like you would fit right in. Nice work here!

  8. I always think of these things after the moment. I applaud your ability to think on your feet and your ability to keep your sense of humor in the face of stupid admins.

  9. I love your inner rebel! I think it's the grade levels you work with. You have to join them in order to survive.
    Why don't administrators think before speaking to students?

  10. Your post made me laugh. Your students just seem so alive! You also did some pretty fancy seamless time-jumping between the beginning and end of your slice. I wanna do that! (After I stop cracking up over Deb Day's comment... "the sense god gave a goat"! Love it!)

  11. I would have never guessed this side of you. Clever, yes indeed! I dearly loved this post.
    I am so glad you are able to think quickly to keep the positivity going. I'm standing up and giving you a cheer.

  12. So glad you are really there (& I know you are) for the kids. Sounds as if someone is singling that kid out too. Too bad. I so admire you for thinking so fast that first day. What a gift you gave that boy. I just wonder about the power stuff that goes on with people, especially when they think they can make it up as they go along. I know your kids know you're safe when they can help you rebel! Good going teacher!

  13. Perhaps B will wear a bathrobe and work from home as many tech savvy professionals do these days. At least then, he would be able to avoid face to face daily confrontations with his boss. I so love a nonconformist adolescent spirit that doesn't wither. He may have withered without your humor, though.

  14. I agree with Linda at teacherdance... sounds like B is being singled out. I appreciate you sharing this story because similar situations occur at many schools, especially with middle school and high school students. I bet your students put forth their best effort for you because they know that you respect them. :) Well done!

  15. ISAT Hell. I am standing next to you. You did the right thing. Kids need to feel good and positive during this time, they have enough to worry about!

  16. You have empathy and quick thinking. Your students have good memory. The administrator makes me shake my head. I hope that B did fine on his tests.

  17. I love it too! Having kids know you are in their 'corner' even when (especially when?) it won't go over well with the powers that be can be immeasurable. Way to go rebel!

  18. hahaha, the end of your slice had me cracking up! I love the way you demonstrate the strong connection you have with your students. You can tell B that when I was a student (at least at my school), everybody always wore their super-comfiest clothes on testing days. His outfit sounds like an awesome test outfit to me! :-)