I complain about teaching a lot, I realize this. I complain about the cocky 13 year-old who flexes in the middle of our figurative language lesson and shouts out, “Is there a vet in here because these pythons are sick!”
I complain about my students telling me I should wear my hair down, wear contacts, and wear more dresses and makeup (Why, you ask? To get a husband of course!).
I complain about the missing homework, the failures, the tardies, the absences, the laziness, the lack of organization, the disrespectful words and looks, the dress code violations, and the desk vandalism.
I complain about the “IDKs” and even worse, the “IDCs”. I complain about the “As long as I’m passing, Miss” and the “Oh no, we weren’t talking, I was asking for help!”
I complain about the stolen pencils, the sleepers, the creepers, and the girl who looks me up and down, scowling, and asks, “Why do you dress like a Filipino?”
I complain about the ones who could and should be doing better, the ones who could and should EASILY be making A’s, and the ones who should have been held back.
I complain about the awkwardness, the inappropriateness, and the uncomfortable questions like, while writing love poems, “What does a tingle feel like? Is it good, to feel tingly?”
I complain about the sarcasm (the use of it AND the lack of understanding it, which is hypocritical, I know), the smart asses—like when I told a should-be-leader, “You need to step up to the plate” and he answered, “But Miss, I can’t even see the plate! I don’t even know where the plate is!” The “You should really be more strict” to the “You’re the meanest teacher ever!”
I complain about the headaches, the stress, and the strain on my social life (which the kids thinks means no mall cruising or McDonald’s hangouts).
I complain about them making me feel old as dirt. Like “They’re not called HEADphones anymore Ms. Mendez, there’s nothing on our HEADS. They’re called EARphones now” or “What’s a cassette? What’s a Polaroid?” Kill me.
I complain about all the complaining. I guess for the amount of times I say, “I can’t treat you like a 7th grader if you’re not acting like one,” you could probably double the times it’d be appropriate for you to tell me, “Act your age, not your shoe size.” Gimme a break though, I’m in that weird (read: awesome), early twenties phase where my weekends, clothes, and tan are still more important than mailing postcards, my 401K, or sensible undergarments.
I complain about the fact that they notice literally everything, from my chipping toenail polish to the bags under my eyes to “You wear those shoes every single day. Don’t you have other ones?”
I complain about the sweatiness and stinkiness and coughs and sneezes and pink eyes. I complain about the shrimp in 3rd period who sits cross-legged, scratches his balls, and then sniffs his fingers with a damn smile on his face.
I complain about the in-my-bubble, breathing down my neck, over-the-top-curiosity of “Do you have a boyfriend? Do you drink beer? You’re a Mexican?!”
I complain about the poor grammar, the slang (“She’s being so irrez.” Ugh, you’re being irrez by saying irrez, just say irritating!), the cussing, and the PDA. I complain about the rumors (I’m dating their math teacher, I’m 18 years old, I’m divorced).
But mostly, daily actually, in my mind, I complain about the fact that I just love them too, too much. I complain that I’d go crazy without them (yes, crazier than I’m going with them). I complain that I’m only a first year teacher, why am I so attached? Maybe because I am a first year teacher. I complain that they make me laugh harder than I’ve ever laughed. I complain that I’ve become a proud mama bear, swelling with over-protective, near-psychotic emotions that could probably cause my head and heart to explode simultaneously. I complain that on random occasions, quite frequently, they make me want to be a teacher forever, just from one high-five after mastering a test or one giggle while immersed, reading a short story.
I complain that they’re about to be in 8th grade, they’re leaving me, they’ll forget me! I need more time! I wanted to do a Hunger Games unit! I’m this close to making a writer out of him, a reader out of her, learners out of them. I complain; this was not part of the plan.