Florida Girl in Cali

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
May 11 2009

My students the matchmakers? Lord help us ALL.

On Friday we had a guest speaker come into school–author Matt de la Pena. I always pounce on opportunities to introduce my Reading Intervention (and ALL students!) to role models, mentors & community figures, so, naturally we went during 4th period.

(Please note that my 4th period class is my most unruly, hence the story that fellows…)

Matt de la Pena is a thirty-something author of three novels based loosely on his experiences growing up half-Anglo and half-Mexican in California. And two of them focus explicitly on sports–great for my reluctant male readers! Moreover, his first book has been turned into a film featuring Ludacris and Nick Cannon (“Ball Don’t Lie”) that will be coming out in early June.
I guess this would be an appropriate time to mention that he’s fairly attractive. Okay, more-than-fairly attractive. Pretty much a stud–especially in my students’ eyes since to them most authors have to resemble Hemingway in his late years.

All throughout his talk they were nudging me and asking me if I thought he was cute. Whispering comments in my ear such as ‘Miss-you should hit that!’ etc. etc. When it came time for the question-and-answer session, I grimaced, knowing all too well that my students have ZERO ability to self-censor.

The first hand that shoots up belongs to K. I immediately start blushing before the words even come out of her mouth. “So, Mister,” K says, “How old are you? My teacher thinks you’re hot.” All of the students burst into uproarious laughter and turn to look at me as K points at my head and waits for Matt de la Pena to answer her pressing question.

Another student (from another class, mind you) asks a far more relevant question about who Mr. de la Pena’s literary inspirations were growing up.

Andddd then back to my students. O raises his hand (O is a perpetual terror in my day-to-day teaching and is the reason I don’t want to get up on Monday mornings…but I still love him, somehow). O says, “You got a girlfriend? My teacher has a boyfriend but she would leave him for you so you could handle.” OMG! Not only is that unequivocally UNTRUE but too much information, O! For those unfamiliar with Latino slang, “handle” means, uh, have relations with. Again, teachers and students laugh–save for the librarian & the principal…and me.

Time for some damage control!

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    …And then I became a high school teacher?

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