All of my 365 t-shirts from 2010

Friday, February 12, 2010

T-shirt #43: TEACHERS do it with class

This is for all my teacher friends who (most, I believe) are very happy to be starting February vacation today. Through all my years as a special education teacher in residential settings, there are many stories I enjoy sharing with anyone that will listen…here are a few of my favorites, hope you enjoy:

This one was already shared with t-shirt #7 (, but I think it’s worth repeating:

I was an aide at an adolescent psychiatric unit on the grounds of Westborough State Hospital. The students there had serious emotional and behavioral issues, and carried diagnosis like Major Depression, Bipolar Disorder, and Schizophrenia. Luckily, as you will read, a lot of them still had a great sense of humor. Every week on Friday, we watched an “educational movie” with the students that had earned it by having a good week in school. After begging and finally convincing the lead teacher I could make Star Wars educational, we watched it on the last Friday of the school year. Many of the students had not seen any of the movies, so I was looking forward to see how they would respond. I was happy to see most of them enjoying it, and amused by how amazed they were when I pointed out all the mistakes (like the Stormtrooper hitting his head on the door…it’s there, about 1 hour 22 minutes into the movie, Stormtrooper on the right). They were really getting into it at the end, and we watched as Luke made his final run down the Death Star trench. Then, Luke heard Obi Wan’s spirit say “Use The Force, Luke.” Without hesitation, one of my students said, “Woah! Luke hears voices just like I do!” The whole room erupted into laughter, myself and the student who made the joke laughing the hardest.

A few years later when I was student teaching, I was going over the science topics that were going to be covered during the year. I explained we would be studying a little botany and then chemistry. I told the students I had ordered a book called “Chemistry with Toys” that explained how things like Silly Putty and Play-Doh worked. I then went on to say we would be also studying health and sex ed. Without missing a beat, one of my students asked “Yo, Mr. McGrath, did you get the Sex Ed with Toys” book?” I couldn’t help but laugh, and managed to tell him he was very funny, but not appropriate for class.

One year when I was working in Hopkinton, the weather for the following day had been forecast to be something ridiculous like -40 with the wind chill factor. That afternoon, they made an announcement over the loud speaker that due to how cold it was going to be, we would not be having school the next day. The kids smiled but all the teachers started screaming, high-fiving each other, and celebrating in the hallway like we had just won the Superbowl. It was a sure testament to who really enjoys an extra day off in February.

So thank you to all the teachers out there. You do make a difference, and you do it with class... :)

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