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Sneak Peek: Mrs. Mimi's 2nd Grade Adventures

 

Mrs. Mimi has been sharing her second grade adventures with undeniable wit and endearing honesty on her blog It’s Not All Flowers and Sausages for the last few years, but now she's gone big time with her very own book by the same name


As a back to school treat, Mrs. Mimi and her publishers were kind enough to let us peak inside the first chapter “I Love Naughty Boys.”

 

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"I Love Naughty Boys"

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excerpted from It's Not All Flowers and Sausages

  • After being in school for what feels like a zillion years, I still get the first day- of-school jitters. Usually this feeling manifests itself as an obsession with To Do lists of all kinds, a short temper with anyone I deem as someone who does not understand the pressures of teaching, and a single-minded determination to find the perfect first day-of-school outfit.
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  • You might wonder what makes me nervous after seven years of teaching. I should have this down by now, right? I know what to do. I know where I am going with my curriculum. I am familiar with my school and my colleagues (the good and the bad). I know where the bathroom is, even if I rarely get to use it. It’s the kids that make me nervous, though; the kids are an unknown variable. I am always nervous that the upcoming year will be the year that I get a class from hell. The crazy thing is, I go through this every year. I get a nervous knot in my stomach starting around August 15. That knot promptly turns into full-blown anxiety as the first day approaches. From there, I predictably move into a period of mourning and irritation. I mourn my class from the previous year and feel irritated that I have to start all over with a new group of children who don’t really get me … yet. Around November, I am usually totally in love with my class and wonder if any other class is quite as cute. I have never had a truly hellatious group of students. Never. On an arrogant day, I can convince myself that the reason I’ve never had a bad class is because I am so good at my job. But on my more honest days, I know I am just freaking lucky. So I guess you could say I’m always waiting for the other shoe to drop.
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  • Logically, I use my anxiety to engage in a ridiculous number of “what-if” scenarios. What if I can’t control them? What if we are all a bad mix? What if they hate me? What if I can’t help them make enough progress?
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  • And the big question … what if I don’t have any fabulously naughty boys? Because I loves me the Naughty Boys!
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  • Oh. Am I even allowed to say that? Please, people, let’s keep it in context, shall we? When I say I love Naughty Boys, and believe me, I really do, I am talking about the type of challenging student that I relish. You may not know this (and many teachers out there won’t admit it), but every teacher has her specialty, also known as her favorites.
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  • Gasp! Yes, we have favorites! I will pause as you spend time wondering if you were ever one of the chosen for a former teacher … keep in mind, we don’t all like the brownnosers. Unfortunately, I think I erred on the side of brownnoser when I was younger, which perhaps explains my slight aversion to similar little girls. One of the most horrifying moments of clarity I have ever had is when I realized that I was the type of brownnosing, overly anxious little girl that drives me nuts in my own classroom. In that moment of clarity when I realized how truly annoying I must have been, I swear I could hear a voice out there somewhere echoing, “Hey, you’ve got something brown on your face … ” Whiney girls, criers, sneaks, chatty-chats-alot kids, the socially awkward … you name it and there is a teacher with a special place in her heart for that type of child. And thank goodness, right? Because someone has to love the whiney girls. For me, not so much … but the Naughty Boys, those are all mine. And the naughtier, the better.
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  • I first realized my love for Naughty Boys during my third year of teaching. Oh, I had had run-ins with some very naughty friends during my first two years, but this was the first time one of them made me laugh out loud instead of run out of the room crying. (Okay, I never really ran out of the room … but I have spent some significant time crying over school drama in supply closets, bathroom stalls, and subway cars.)
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  • The year I fell for the naughty ones was the year I had Glasses. I call him that because his were thick, always smeared with fingerprints, and perpetually crooked. It would almost seem cartoonish if it wasn’t true. He was adorable! (The Naughty Ones usually are, you know.) But he was also like a bomb ready to explode: He had no control over his body whatsoever. This inability to sit still led him to hit others for no apparent reason, fall out of his chair, call out during instruction, and hold the world record for least number of completed assignments. Ever.
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  • He drove me insane. I tried keeping him inside for recess (holy backfire Batman, that kid needed to run around!), called his parents, put him on a sticker chart, yelled, reasoned, separated him from the group … you name it! And it was only the second week of school! Boyfriend could simply not get it together.
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  • And then one day, the class was sitting on the carpet listening to a story. It was still early in the year, so everyone was in hard-core angel mode. Except my little friend. As I looked up from one of my favorite picture books, I caught a glimpse of Glasses in mid-backward somersault, or as my grandmother would say, he was ass over teakettle. She had a way with words. Yes, Glasses was doing a somersault. On my rug. While I was in the middle of a very dramatic reading of Knuffle Bunny, no less! He picked up so much momentum that he flipped all the way over, and then actually slid underneath the carpet. Yes, under it! I wanted to scream … but then his little head popped up from the floor, glasses askew, with the most thoroughly confused look on his face, as if he had never really seen me before and had no idea how he got under the rug in the first place. I couldn’t bring myself to yell after that. Actually, it was all I could do to not laugh out loud.
  • Fast-forward to the end of the same day. Glasses is gyrating in his place, backpack on (remember that detail, it will be important later), ready to go home.
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  • ME: “Glasses, please sit down, sweetie. School’s not over yet.”
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  • HIM: “I can’t, Mrs. Mimi, I can’t find my backpack.”
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  • ME: (Wait a minute, isn’t he wearing his backpack? It’s the end of the day, Glasses, work with me!) “Um, honey, isn’t it, um, on your back?”
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  • HIM: “Huh?” (spinning around erratically like my beloved but somewhat dumb cat trying to catch her tail)
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  • ME: “Sweetheart. Stop spinning, it’s right there.”
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  • HIM: “I don’t see it.” (still spinning)
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  • ME: (Please grant me patience … ten, nine, eight, seven … ). “Glasses, if you sit down, I promise you that you will find that your backpack is indeed on your back already.”
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  • HIM: “Okay.” (Glasses then tries to sit down but after spinning around like a top has virtually no balance and ends up on his ass. Thank goodness his backpack is right under it, or that might have hurt) “Oh! Mrs. Mimi, I found it, don’t worry! It was on the floor the whole time.”
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  • And that’s when I totally fell in love with Glasses. Since then, I have always embraced the Naughty Boys, who continue to be absolutely adorable and totally my favorites.  

That little taste not enough? Then visit It's Not All Flowers and Sausages or just buy the book now!  Mrs. Mimi's alter ego, Jennifer Scoggin, also shares her wisdom on the TeachHUB blog The Chalk Talks. Check it out!