Monday, May 25, 2009

Whoda Thunk It?

I've been teaching 5th grade for way too many years now...that explains the madness. Anyway, when you teach lower grades, you see the innocence, yes, still, even in the fifth grade, that children possess. It is their redemption ticket when I see them years later in high school (being that I have two high schoolers, I see them often enough), and they have grown out of that innocence and into adulthood. When meeting them, I cast back and grab a memory or two of their innocence and smile away...blissfully ignoring the fact that sweet Jane Doe is missing most of her dress during Ring Ceremony, and turning away from Dear Little Johnny gagging his newest squeeze with his tongue. This can be easily done at these functions due to the obvious rule of teenagers having never been fifth graders to begin with and tend to ignore the waddling former fifth grade teacher that has become a beaming bumpkin standing in the corner.

These reunions are quickly forgotten. However, all are not just ships going by in the night.

Yesterday evening, my loving nephew of almost 21 years stopped by for a visit (I still can't believe he's going to be 21...TWENTY-ONE?!!?). Tagging along with him was his girlfriend, his sister, and his sister's boyfriend. And although sister's boyfriend hadn't been a student of mine, he just couldn't stop himself from talking about how bad he was in the fifth grade, and how mean I was when he was placed on in-school suspension in my room. I went into teacher mode and smiled and beamed and nodded and wished they would just go on home so I could stop listening to what a mean witch I was way back then. To break the monotony of hearing of my bitchness, I told my nephew that Atticus was going to have a birthday this week.

"Whoa, what did you say his name was?" asked the former bad ass.

"Atticus." I replied.

"Atticus, you mean like Atticus Finch?" puzzled look crosses his face.

"Yes, that's him." I nodded.

"Wow, that's like my favorite book in the whole world." he amazingly responded.

And thus melted away the bad ass former student and Miss. Bitchface teacher to be replaced with two people discussing one of the best books ever written, "To Kill A Mockingbird," by Harper Lee. Of course, this could only happen after I wound my jaw back up to the rest of my face, being that my jaw had literally dropped to the ground. Here I was sitting with a kid that almost didn't get out of middle school because of his attitude, discussing Atticus Finch, Boo Radley, and Jean Louise. His favorite scene was at the end when Boo saved Scout. Mine too! He read the book five times! I did TOO! He was bummed out when his teacher assigned the book because he thought it was some stupid crime book. I WAS AND DID TOO!

Amazing, isn't it? What can happen when you take the blinders off.

Whoda thunk.


  1. Alex, I love this image!! It's one of my favorite books, and I've read it probably 3 or 4 times and I'm so sad that as of yet my daughter's have not been assigned this book. They are sadly not readers unless they have to be. I'm thinking about getting the audio of the book for our drive to TX this summer, I think the whole family would enjoy it.

  2. It's funny how you can find likeminded people when you least expect it... :)

  3. That's crazy! A bond from Mocking... Imagine how many people have come in and out of your life. People who didn't like your very much-or vice versa when maybe it was just that y'all hadn't discovered the missing link that would have bonded you together.

  4. Oh ya one of the best books EVER. For a few years our city was doing a city wide book club. That was one of the books they encouraged residents to read over the 6 month period. I love how you (anyone) can chenge their opinion of someone once they discover a shared love.

  5. There is hope for all the surly teens out there after all! Underneath their sassy, eye-rolling, pimply exteriors live the more mature adults they will someday be. Right? Please tell me I'm right?

  6. I love those little moments - almost make the rest of the BS worthwhile...

  7. That's awesome! I didn't read that book until I was an adult and it's one of my favorites!
    Little jerks like it too! : ) You're right, whoda thunk?
    My MIL is a 5th grade teacher, also. Boy the stories she has, she's in Las Vegas, so I think those 5th graders are on super hormones that make them like 17 year olds...scary.

  8. How great is that. Amazing how literature can connect us. I love this story. I have only read it once. But have seen the film several times and am always transfixed by the characters. When I was in High School we had to read Jane Eyre. No one was thrilled but I really got into and so did a "stoner" girl. We never had talked before that but bonded over the reading of that fantastic story.

  9. Somehow I missed reading a lot of the usual books that are read throughout school years. And the ones I did read I didn't enjoy, but that is probably because I hated english class. I'll have to get my hands one these books and read them now that I am interested.
    I hated history, social studies and any science too. I only seemed to pay enough attention to learn enough to pass thinking I would never use a lot of that stuff. I REALLY regret that now. Maybe the news wouldn't be so frustrating to watch if I had some of that background information to help it make sense. Some of it I will never use but would still like to know. I have thought some about homeschooling but how am I supposed to teach my child/ren if I don't know it myself?!
    And I never went to university. I never learned even the basics of sociology, psychology, and other ologies that I probably don't even know about. I even had to use spell check to spell them right. I probably missed out on opportunities over the last almost 15 years while I was wondering if I would be good at anything. Well I will have to do all that I can do now to right that wrong as much as possible.
    Library!! Here I come!! First stop. To Kill A Mocking Bird by Harper Lee!!

    Sorry for writing a book!! (Again!!)

  10. No problem, girl with a thought, maybe you should blog =P (teasing). Definately try "To Kill A Mockingbird." It's awesome, and if you don't believe me, take everyone else's word for it. While I'm a big Science Fantasy nut (yes, I still call it Science Fantasy), this is one of the books I'm more than willing to step out of my circle for. Enjoy reading it.

    Tink, loved your stoner girl comment. I was often confused for being a stoner girl in high school. lol

    Mimi: lol he was a jerk in middle school, but I guess there are soft spots to his jerkage.

    Tammy, me too!

    Pam, I'm hoping your right, too. My teen 2 is reading the Twilight Saga...she's It amazes me still. Teen 1 started out with the Lemony Snickett books, and when her reading matured, actually read To Kill A Mockingbird. She loved it. My dream come true is to have kids that love to read.

    Viv, Word. Amen. I concur. I agree whole heartedly.

    Jillian, never underestimate the power of Atticus Finch.

    Lalaa, your comments are always so refreshing. I can always hear a hint of your accent with them.

    Anita, The first time I read the book, I had to stop at the last chapter in order to slow down and make the moment last. It took me 24 hours to read through it. I think I need to get it on audio as well. Great idea.

  11. One of my most favorite books, ever. I could NOT convince Rob that one of our girls' should be named Scout, alas.