Teaching Tip: Always go to work on your birthday

Last week was my birthday.  To be honest, I debated taking it off because a “spa day” was calling my name.  I have never taken my birthday off before, and I am so glad that I didn’t this time either.

In my class, I make sure that we celebrate everyone’s birthday.  We pound on our desks, we listen to the birthday person talk about their birthday plans, I give them a birthday sticker (yes, 8th graders still like stickers), and they get a piece of candy.  Well, this time, my students made sure that MY birthday was extra special.

One of my teammates, (thank you Mrs. S),  told the students that I had always dreamed of having my students break out in song and dance in the middle of class.  I don’t know why that was important to me, other than the fact that I enjoy the show, “Glee.”  Well, my students took off on the idea of giving me my “Glee” moment.  They voted on one person to be in charge of the song and dance, and they got together, without my knowledge, to plan their big surprise.

On the morning of my birthday, my teammates called me into our team office to ask my advice on where to put some computers.  I thought about the fact that I didn’t have time for that right then because I needed to get ready for class, but I went anyway.  When I got back to my classroom, the door was locked.  Great, I thought, on top of everything else, I locked myself out of the classroom, and knowing this class, they will think it’s funny to keep me locked out.  I DO teach 8th graders, you know.

When a student let me in, the music started.  I wasn’t sure what was going on until some students stood up and started singing.  Wait, what?  Then it dawned on me what was happening; they were giving me my “Glee” moment.  I started crying.  Two students were walking around videotaping it; luckily, the one of just me didn’t work or was taped over.  There is also a part where a boy is standing and singing on top of a desk.  I prayed that he wouldn’t fall off; that wasn’t taped either.  HONESTLY!

Later that day, some students brought me gifts, and one student wrote a very special letter to me.  Also, the song, “Don’t Stop Believin’” now has new meaning for me.  If I had taken my birthday off, I would have never experienced that remarkable moment with my students.  As a teacher, you have to cherish those moments that make you smile.  It was a day that I will never forget!

Click here if you would like to see the video!

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