Normal is boring.

 I officially made it through the first week of school! It was only 2 ½ days, but it counts.

 I’m back to being surrounded by tiny people who rarely have their shoes tied, occasionally have their fingers inserted in their noses, and can’t go more than seven second without asking a question- unless, of course, you specifically ask them for questions, in which case they answer with comments, usually beginning with “one time…”

 I couldn’t be happier. I missed this. I missed being around kids. I like them better than most grownups. I was thinking about this today as I watched my new bunch. They’re pretty awesome. Cute, nice, like to hug me, funny. As I’m watching them at the end of the day, thinking about how happy I am to be around them, I started to actually note what they were doing.

Armpit farting sounds. Wadding up pieces of paper and pretending they’re pets, complete with brushing, feeding, and petting. Comparing scabs. Tying pigtails to chair legs. Yup, these are the humans I most enjoy being around. 

I’m getting use to them (they’re a lot younger than my last bunch), and they’re getting used to me. After a few days of eyeing them and not saying anything, they finally asked about my tattoos. 

“Are they real?” ‘Like, the really real kind, or the ones that stay on a whole week?” “Are they on forever?” “What about if you used really strong soap, and scrubbed really hard?” “If you get a cut, does the ink leak out?” “Did it hurt?” And my favorite, “Did your mom get mad at you?”

Out at recess later, I had to call one particularly energetic little guy over to tell him to stop climbing the fence. At one point during my long winded reasons on why that wasn’t safe, I apparently called him dude. As he was heading back to play, he came back towards me and asked, “Did you call me dude?” I told him, yeah, I do that sometimes. “That’s not normal.” He calmly informed me. I shrugged. “That’s ok. Normal is boring anyway. I like you.” And he ran off, probably to climb a fence. 

I think it’s gonna be a good year.

Damn you, Google.

Summer FLEW by! I shouldn’t be surprised by this at this point.

 Earlier this week, I set up my classroom, and invited parents and students in to meet me and see the class before school started. I like to do this because it helps soothe some of the kid’s nerves, and it let’s me get a head start on knowing their names, recognizing their faces, and having anxiety nightmares that I have lost them in various unlikely places.

 The parents were all very nice- kind, inquisitive, friendly. One couple came up to me, all smiles, introduced themselves, and said cheerily, “We googled you!”

 My first thought was “Oh, crap.”

 You see, I’m not just the tattooed teacher… I’m the teacher with the criminal record. It’s nothing awful. I got arrested at a protest last year. I was on a march in New York, we followed the wrong route, ended up on a bridge… maybe you heard about it on the news. Anyway, I wound up in zip-tie handcuffs on the back of an MTA bus, and eventually in a cell for a long, cold, hungry night. It was an interesting life experience. Almost 800 people got arrested in one go, but I ended up unexpectedly front and center. I got my picture taken, cuffs on and yelling, and those ended up in some news articles, including some major papers. I also ran my big ol’ mouth off to even more news organizations, so if you google my name, virtually every thing that pops up also contains the word “occupy.” It doesn’t take much digging to see that I was arrested.

 That said, no one I work with thought much of it, or cared much. I’m the butt of jokes at staff meetings, and my students from last year thought it was hilarious. But to have the first thing you find out about your kids new teacher is that she was arrested… I felt bad. Credit to them though, those parents didn’t seem too phased. “It’s fine,” they assured me. “We’re glad he has a politically active teacher!”

Score one for the rebels. Have I mentioned lately I love this school?