What Grade Are You In?

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Let me set the scene: I’m 27, and I’ve been teaching middle school for three years. I have a master’s degree, I’ve traveled the world, and I’ve successfully solicited grant money for research. While I’m short and look relatively young for my age, I manage to command the attention of students with a good degree of authority.

I’ve just come out of my classroom, after teaching three of my six English classes for the day, and I’m watching students talk to friends, pull books out of lockers, and generally enjoy themselves in the few minutes they have before heading to a new class. I see a boy and a girl, just a few feet away from me, peering at a cell phone screen. Now, anyone who teaches knows that phones are the bane of many teachers’ existence: it’s a constant battle to get students to put them away during school hours.

I walk over to this couple and get their attention: “Hi there. You need to put that cell phone away, please.” While I say it nicely, I definitely use my teacher voice, the one suggesting that I’m currently in charge. The girl looks up, squeaks, and bolts off down the hall, leaving the boy with the phone in his hand. He takes his eyes from the screen and fixes me with a look of disgust. “Uh, okay…” he says, slowly dropping the hand with the cell phone to his side. He gives me a once over from head to toe, pulls his lip into a sneer, and then poses a question: “Uh, what grade are you in?”

I bite my cheeks to hold in my laughter and say nothing, letting just the smallest smile play across my face as I hold his gaze and wait for him to make the realization. My employee badge is dangling clearly from my hip. One of the boy’s friends, at a nearby locker, snorts and half-yells: “She’s a teacher, dude!”

The boy’s eyes widen and his features freeze, that half-sneer on his face now tinged with terror. Slowly, he backs up, right through the doorway of his math classroom, where he dodges to the side and disappears. Finally able to grin, I turn and walk into my own classroom, ready for another round of middle-schoolers.

(photo courtesy of Paul Gooddy/freedigitalphotos.net)

Danielle Restuccia About Danielle Restuccia

Danielle Restuccia is a freelance writer in several industries, including education, healthcare, and insurance. She previously taught middle and high school English, and in her free time, she’s an avid runner and triathlete. You can follow her on twitter @DMRestuccia and check out her blog at www.daniellerestuccia.com

Danielle Restuccia About Danielle Restuccia

Danielle Restuccia is a freelance writer in several industries, including education, healthcare, and insurance. She previously taught middle and high school English, and in her free time, she’s an avid runner and triathlete. You can follow her on twitter @DMRestuccia and check out her blog at www.daniellerestuccia.com

  • I use my young looking face to continue using student discounts, bragging about how great I’ll look in 10 years, and ordering meals off the kids menu (thereby getting free sundaes). So not all hope is lost!!

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