I haven't checked my mail in 2 years:
Awesome students of last year
I wrote an article called 'the craziest kids I had all year' some time ago in which i described the idiocy I came across in the entire schoolyear. Now, I think I was unfair. I also had some pretty damn cool kids running around who deserve credit for giving me a good year. This is the story of the funniest and the most awesome.
The history buff
In every class there's a substantial statistical chance of meeting at least one student who is more knowledgeable in a given subject then you as a teacher are. This is natural as you can't be expected to know everything. I've met students who could tell me everything about the middle ages or Charles the great or the ancient Greeks but a true high school history buff is a rarity. I've been lucky enough to meet one.
You'd think that at some point it would get irritating if a student constantly double guessed everything you said but that's not what he did. We simply developed an understanding that if I'd left anything out of my story about any given subject he'd raise his hand and tell some more to the class or remind me of something I could add to it. It was great, like having my own little encyclopedia the back of the class. I miss having this kid around as I now have to make little notes again for fear of forgetting stuff.
The Roman soldier
The soldier was by far my favorite student ever. He was in first grade, meaning he was small, childish and still funny. When we reached the subject of the Romans I demonstrated the tradition salute of Roman soldiers and he immediately copied it. For the rest of the year.
Honest to God, for the remainder of the year I was greeted by this little soldier with this salute at the start of every class. Others started to copy it. Started to yell out 'AVE EVENTUIN' each time they saw me on the hallway. Strangely, the role of emperor fell really easy on me and I reciprocated with a natural flair, like I was born to be emperor. Huh... makes you wonder.
The Role player
Several times during the last year I had students engage in small illustrative roleplay. For instance, I had one of them act out emperor Henry IV and the other Pope Gregory VII in their struggle for power. I'd say what they should do and they acted it out. It worked like a charm, especially when they could act out great stuff like the emperor beating the pope.
At one time a student was asked to act out king Harold's death by an arrow in the eye at the battle of Hastings, the only historical reference of which looks like this:
Not riveting material by any standard. The only words I used to my chosen victim of the day were 'And king Harold got struck in the eye with an arrow!' and pointed to him with my signal to act it out.
And act it out he did.
For a full minute he screamed, yelled, vomited, cried, flopped on the ground and died in one of the most awesome death scenes I have ever seen. Ever. He got a standing ovation by the rest of the class and for the rest of the year the name Joep was linked to awesomeness.
The Top Gear fans
I learned early on that my entire HAVO 4 class was filled with Top gear fanatics which is good, seeing as I'm one too. I had the dudes just 3 hours a week and our program was so full it was unrealistic to say the least but still, I took the time to discuss the past Sunday's episode of Top gear on every single Monday. Even when the episode wasn't that good. Oh who am I kidding? There's no such thing as a bad episode of Top gear...
The top Google result for both 'Top gear' and 'Jeremy Clarkson'. His kids must be proud to have such a famous dad.
Even when I wanted to go on to do some teaching I just couldn't resist to show clips of top gear, talk about it or look up what they were gonna do next week. The HAVO 4 students had found my weakness and exploited it to the fullest for the entire year. Well played, kids. Well played.
The German artillery expert
I never had this kid in class which was a real shame as he looked like a Dutch rice commercial and constantly cracked me up each time I saw him.
Like this. Honestly. Only smaller.
I talked to him just a few times, one of which was in the Overloon War museum where we were for an excursion. We let them loose in the museum for an hour and the Rice kid lingered at the displays for German guns, bullets and grenades. When I approached him (with caution for fear of him eating me up should I surprise him) he suddenly and unexpectantly let loose with his knowledge of German military hardware.
"Yeah, did you know the German stick grenades were actually far superior to the America ones in terms of range, destructive power and general fearsomeness? The Americans actually used German stick grenades when they could."
I barely had any time to react. No 12 year old should be this knowledgeable about explosives.
"Also, German machine guns outstripped the American ones in almost everything, except maybe the Thompson. That one kicked ass. But German bullets still had more kick to them and more penetrative power. problem was they couldn't be produced as massively as the American ones late in the war. But then, that might be just as well seeing as germany did some messed up shit during the war. I mean if you're gonna kill Jews, don't make such a spectacle of it. Jezus man, what's up with putting people in a mountain to build rockets? That's just messed up!"
Seeing as he clearly didn't need anyone to have a conversation with I slowly backed away at that point.
The crying girls
Remember the angry latecomer I described in an earlier article about students? Sometime later in the year in the Overloon war museum we confronted her with some of the most disturbing photo's of the war in what we call 'the bunker of horror'. Well, that's what I call it anyway and to emphasize that I'm gonna write it in capitals from now on. The angry latecomer and some other poor victim of her own stupidity actually got fascinated by it and listened to my stories inside the 'BUNKER OF HORROR'. At some point she got to see the ovens. The Jew burning ovens. And she got really upset. Not fake upset but real upset. Genuinely 'holy crap what the fuck is that shit?' upset. They fled the BUNKER OF HORROR to cry on each other's shoulders. For 30 minutes.
The crying girls put my Overloon excursion tally on:
-2 kids passing out. (one from lack of sugar probably)
-2 kids getting emotionally crippled for half an hour.
-6 kids in total cried
-4 kids stepped back, not wanting to see the horror, refusing to speak for an hour.
Not bad for a day's work ey? I really love the Overloon excursion.