How to Teach Middle School in 49 Easy Steps*
1. Write a lesson plan.
2. Gather materials.
3. Write your agenda on the board.
4. Stand at the door to greet students in the hallway.
5. Run back inside because you hear a student screaming.
6. Trap cockroach under plastic cup and put a book on it. Make mental note to figure out what to do about cockroach later.
7. Go back in hallway to greet students.
8. Tell student to stop running.
9. Run down hallway unironically to catch and punish running student.
10. Walk back to classroom with hands on head, inhaling deeply.
11. Go inside classroom when bell rings.
12. Begin to talk to class about today’s plan.
13. Stop mid-sentence to write down the names of two tardy students who walk in the door on a Post-It note.
14. Ask reliable student what you were talking about before you lost your train of thought.
15. Continue with your debrief and move on to warm-up.
16. While students are doing warm-up, log in to online attendance to mark students tardy.
17. Attempt to find the Post-It note among the 1,205,281 Post-Its currently on your desk.
18. Go over the warm-up with students.
19. Tell student “DON’T TAKE THAT BOOK OFF THAT CUP.”
20. Begin modeling new concept under document camera projected on the board.
21. Field student questions and comments, including, “Why don’t you ever paint your nails?” and “YOU’RE GOING TOO FAST!” and “Who farted?”
22. Have students try sample problems independently.
23. While students are working, glance at inbox and see several red exclamation point emails.
24. Cry a little inside.
25. Go over answers.
26. Realize that 11 of your 35 students aren’t showing mastery and have them move to the front to work on some other problems with you.
27. Assign independent work to remaining students.
28. Alternate between teaching your small group, answering questions from big group, and reminding big group to be working quietly 8,391 times.
29. Send student to bathroom because you’re out of Kleenex.
30. Tell student to use Scotch tape because you’re out of Band-Aids.
31. Answer the phone and tell clerk you’re so sorry, you’ll take attendance right now.
32. Look up and see two students having light saber wars with stacked markers, one student texting, and another student crying.
33. In one fluid motion, confiscate marker sabers and texting student’s phone.
34. Gently tell student who is crying to join you in the hall.
35. Listen and console as crying student tells you about break-up.
36. Give student a hug and send to bathroom.
37. Go back inside.
38. Give students reminder of time left to work independently.
39. Yell “PANICKING LEADS TO IMMINENT DEATH” when students scream as fire drill alarm goes off.
40. While taking students outside, remind them to be silent 8 bazillion times.
41. Wait for all-clear announcement to come back inside.
42. Send student who stood directly in anthill during fire drill to nurse.
43. Tell students to finish independent work.
44. Assign homework.
45. Literally run to your computer to take attendance before you get another email about it.
46. Actually take attendance this time.
47. When bell sounds, dismiss students, tell them you love them, and encourage them to make good choices.
48. On your way out, accidentally kick over the roach cup.
49. Spend the next 8 hours thinking there is a roach on you somewhere.
*An Autobiographical Account