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

Monday, March 11, 2013


The Slice of Life Challenge is hosted by TWO WRITING TEACHERS

This week is a full week for me.  Tomorrow is the author visit, and I get to play host.  Thursday and Friday are our state Reading Council Conference days, and I get to travel to Springfield to attend.  That means three days of a guest teacher immediately following state testing, which followed a snow day.  Needless to say my middle school students are out of sorts.  And it is not getting better soon.  This unique vantage point sparked today’s slice.

Things I really want to write wrote in my Guest Teacher Plans:

Keep Calm and Live Through the Day Thanks for coming in for me today.

Watch the one in the far left corner.  He has a pink, fleshy heart somewhere beneath the black crustiness, but he is not ready to reveal it yet—and certainly not for a guest teacher.  Guard your heart and stay strong.  It might help to know that he is terrified of tornadoes.  Use that little nugget if need be.  Some students need additional support. 

Please don’t get me fired.  Please copy this learning target onto the board.

If they turn on you, it might be a good idea to just try acting crazier than them.  It will throw them off their game.  I left a back-up plan in the blue folder.

Though they act bold, they are really pretty naïve.  Don’t joke about packing heat.  Really.  A Guest Teacher got fired for that.  Leave me the names of any students who were especially challenging.

In the case that you are going to play cool guy by bad-mouthing me and the work I assign, just know that my students are a fairly loyal bunch.  That plan will backfire. It may take them longer to settle in today because we just finished ISAT testing and they have been on a different schedule.

If you want to me to request you again in the future, don’t leave notes about how awful my students were.  What I don’t know won’t hurt me. Please leave me the names of any students who were particularly helpful.

No matter what it looks like today, just know that a week ago we were reading Shakespeare.  Iambic pentameter, sonnets, ecphonesis O, analyzing passages, the whole nine yards.  For real.  These same children who today are twisting their hoodie sweatshirts into fake sweatshirt babies that they cradle and rock.  Really.  Remind students not to write in the QR code on their answer sheet or they will have to do the test all over again.

They keep chocolate in Staff Services.  If you need any, just put it on my tab.  I owe you.  This is a great group of students; I expect you will have a wonderful day!


  1. Too funny! And way too true!

  2. Amen. That was full of the gospel truth! :) Thanks!

  3. OMG!!! These are plans I could have written myself! Thanks for the laugh at the end of the day!!

  4. I hope you have a wonderful alternative week . Your plans sound exciting. This cracked me up! Ohh the things we wish we could say! May the best guest teacher arrive at your classroom!

  5. Thanks for the chuckles, Christy! I'm sure with sub plans like yours, your students will have a great week. I hope you do too.

  6. If only the guest teacher could read between the lines. Your love for your kids comes through the plans that will never be seen. Very funny Christy!

  7. And be sure to precede the learning target with the words "Students will be able to (SWBAT)..." Shaking my head. Yet...the author visit was fabulous. I can only hope that the second session went as well as the first, where I was. A great job done by a great woman; thanks for being you. PS: Love the plan, especially how they were doing Shakespeare last week and making hoodie babies this week. That had me howling.

  8. Your guest teacher plans cracked me up Christy. I love how you struck out the words you wanted to say and just included what you did say. Genius.

  9. This is one my new favorite posts. :) I'm betting you'll have a lot of readers nodding as they read--I did! How often I wish I were brave enough to leave the stuff I delete from my plans.

  10. Oh, you had me cracking up! I absolutely loved this -- and wouldn't it be a shock to your guest teacher if this note was left!?! Sometimes a note like this would be more helpful! :) I wish I was as brazen as you to even write this on my blog! Hilarious!

    By the way, enjoy your guest author (today) and the IRC -- can't wait to hear about that learning trip! Wish I was going, but too hard to get away with my little ones. Soon I vow to return! :)

  11. This is a slice for the ages...teacher plans double speak, love it!

  12. I have wanted to leave similar plans myself! Our students must be related...and I think I have the same black crusty-hearted kid in my room!

  13. I went back to read about your Write Club, too, Christy. Finally some time to comment. I love this, & about your write club. I want to tell you that it was your inspiration that made me begin a writing group with my colleagues. We've met twice, & it's been wonderful. Since I live so close, we're meeting at my house! There are 8 of us & our latest meeting went on & on, just like you described Christy. I think that groups like this show how much support people must enjoy if they step up to do it! Thanks Christy, & the writing was both sweet (yours) & hilarious (your husband's).
    Slice 2 - sub plans-too, too funny, but you should also know that years & years ago I subbed all over-learned more as a teacher then than ever since, at least about taking charge fast, but having a good time, especially with those raucous middle schoolers! Thanks for the creative post, Christy!

  14. Andy and I got a good laugh out of your post. Thanks. ;)

  15. What a great way to start my morning--going back to your slices that I missed. This, I could have written myself. And will be in April when I will be gone several days. I usually just leave a couple of treats on top of the sub plans . After subbing for years, I know that's going to be appreciated!