I confess that I have a very unique relationship with my 8th graders. After having the same class two years in a row, it’s difficult not to become attached to these kids. When I first became a teacher, I worried about how to relate to (and keep control of) the boys in my class. I’m a natural girly-girl and have always loved being around girls. Boys were a different story. To my surprise, though, building rapport and a good relationship with my boys has come almost as naturally as with the girls.

In fact, I believe I have had some of the coolest boys ever come through my classes over the years. My first group of 8th grade boys (juniors now) were into music and sports and liked to make any project/discussion/activity a laugh-fest, which kept me entertained. The next year’s group of boys (sophomores now) were like my own kids … I have too many memories to recount my experiences with that class. They will always be precious to me. Last year’s 8th graders (freshmen now) were so self-confident that they agreed to read Twilight with us, thus starting a tradition in my classroom that continues today. And then there’s this year’s group of 8th grade boys … sigh.

I love these boys and I will miss them dearly next year. But they make me experience the full range of emotions sometimes. I go from feeling like a harrassed older sister to a frustrated mom to a twelve-year-old girl again. But every minute I am with these guys, it is like Comedy Central. I have to admit … they are some of the best-behaved boys I’ve ever met (and that will sound shocking after you read this entire post, but it’s true). When you get down to the heart of it, they are, in fact, just … BOYS.

So, this post is dedicated to my current class of 8th grade boys. WARNING: After reading this, you may believe I have lost total control of my classes. This is not really the case. I do not necessarily approve of all these goings-on, but this is the reality of teaching middle school. You should definitely pray for me and my sanity.
In the spirit of Jeff Foxworthy’s “You might be a redneck if …,” I bring you the highly entertaining (and sometimes shocking):

“You Know You’re One Of My 8th Grade Boys If …”
1. You “borrow” my post-it notes so you can make Kick Me signs for someone’s back.
2. You use my hand sanitizer on your face and belongings, and sometimes on other people’s face and belongings.

3. You squirted me in the pants with my water squirt bottle, and everyone said, “Mrs. Dallas peed her pants!”
4. You crowd around my desk and talk to ME, instead of talking to each other.
5. When asked to bring in a sock for a project, you took a perfectly clean white sock and slopped it around in the dirt outside before bringing it in.
6. You actually want to sit at the desk next to mine.
7. You release silent but deadly farts while I am instructing so that I never can quite identify
who is doing it.

8. You get sent in the hall for desecrating the temple of my classroom with your farts.
9. You come to my class ten minutes early (during my quiet conference period) just to play like a carnivorous dinosaur is stalking you.
10. You have named yourself “Willasaurus” and you are the carnivorous dinosaur.
11. You lean back in your seat ALL THE TIME. So much so, that I have taken away your chair privileges and made you sit on the floor during class.
12. You write so tiny/messy that you have officially given me enough experience to become a professional handwriting analyzer or code decipher specialist.
13. You come to class and hide in the room, thinking I don’t know you are there. (I usually do.)
14. One time, you hid UNDER my desk, pushing the drawer out so I wouldn’t see you. When I pushed the drawer back in, you scared me to death by making it “miraculously” open again before my very eyes.
15. You hide between the bean bags until someone dog piles you.
16. You grabbed my earring when it fell off my ear and made me choose which hand it was in for about 3 minutes.
17. You have pizza eating contests at CiCi’s until you’re all sick.
18. You’re honest about what lessons of mine you’re bored with.
19. You know all the words to “No Air” and took it upon yourself to lip sync it to me on TAKS day.
20. You once snuck over to the light switches while I was reading a scary story aloud and flashed the lights in a climactic moment. Everybody screamed.
21. You wore women’s panties over your jeans when we all went to see the movie, Twilight.
22. You commented on our class blog that your favorite part of the movie was seeing Bella in her panties. I had to delete your comment and make you rewrite it.
23. You keep up a running monologue throughout my lessons — I feel like a black gospel preacher sometimes with you always echoing and reacting to EVERY WORD I SAY.
24. You use this obnoxious, annoying laugh just so I’ll give you a disgusted look and you can crack up at yourself with your REAL laugh.
25. You think that shaking my hand is an opportunity to rip my arm out of its socket.
26. You are one of the “quiet” boys, but your sweet, laidback personality distracts the girls on a daily basis.
27. You made me think you missed an easy TAKS question so you could watch my blood pressure rise and my face turn blue explaining WHY that was the wrong answer. Then, you said, “Just kidding. I got that one right.”
28. You signed your name in the grime coating my car.
29. You pull up your shirt sleeve and flex your arm muscles every time you point to something in my room.
30. You turn the lights out on me during Candy Cafe.
31. You use the word “fetus” all the time, because you like it so much.
32. You have had to personally conference with me at least once out in the hallway.
33. You danced to Miley Cyrus’s “Let’s Dance” in front of the whole school … just because I asked.
34. You wiped chocolate pudding on my face in front of the whole school.
35. You have an obsession with shaking your booty in front of the whole school.
36. You told me I was the “Oprah” to your “Dr. Phil.”
37. You wore eyeliner for my music video … and you LIKED it.
38. You stapled your finger by accident.
39. You cry when you laugh.
40. You sat and talked to Mrs. Tolbert and me for an HOUR on a field trip just so the girls from the other school would stop trying to get your attention.
41. You think that the “so what” of good imagery is to “help the reader picture it.” You got a wake-up call on that one. (LOL)

42. You have been the victim of my stress ball launched at your head when you weren’t paying attention.
43. You lost a review game to the girls and so had to dance in the hallway right after the last bell to the song “Single Ladies” by Beyonce. (Still need those pictures …)
44. You are reading this and realized that you fit one or more of these descriptions.

The list really does go on and on, so I’m going to stop here and end with these last few things:
You Know You’re One Of My 8th Grade Boys If …
* You succeed in your schoolwork, despite the above list.
* You know when it’s time to get serious and stop goofing around.
* You offer great insight on class topics and challenge me to be the best teacher I can.
* You have a truly good heart and look out for those around you.
* You know that I pray for you everyday you enter my room – that you grow up to be a man of honor and integrity.
* You know you will be missed terribly when you leave me for high school …