Tagged: middle school

Thirteen Going on Five


Ah, the joys of teaching thirteen-year-olds.

They’re so, soooo close to growing up, so painfully close to that point where they just…I don’t know, get it, and everything just clicks, and they realize farting and “That’s what she said,” jokes aren’t funny anymore. These moments of realization are unfortunately few and far between, especially when eighth-grade boys are involved. I remember thinking it was creepy for senior boys to date freshman girls, until I became a teacher and realized these girls have been desperately waiting for someone who won’t burp in their faces or quote Family Guy at every available opportunity. You know exactly what I mean. We all know someone who says “Giggity,” who’s asking to get punched in the throat.

A few weeks ago, I was teaching vocabulary for the mystery genre, and we talked about Sherlock Holmes/the power of deduction. Their vocab word was “deduce.” I present to you the following exchange:

  • Colin: What’s that word?
  • Me: Deduce. It means to use clues to solve a mystery.
  • Colin: OH, because I thought you were talking about DE DEUCE I DROPPED IN THE TOILET LAST NIGHT OHHHHHH.

I should have seen it coming today. The vocab word was rapier, as in, a sword. You see where this is going. “The Cask of Amontillado,” now has three characters, apparently: Montresor, Fortunato, and Bill Cosby.

Sometimes, during lunch, I physically squeeze myself beneath my desk and turn out the lights so I can choke down my food without anyone bothering me or screaming my name repeatedly. It’s 1:48 PM. Starting today, administration is making us play an audiobook to the kids for twenty-five minutes each day. Redhead Dennis is now running through my door, making fake puke noises, and I want to die a little bit.

I wish my kids were old enough for me to show them this video, because I think they’d benefit immensely.

Notorious BBJ

peachieThese past five months, above all, have been a lesson in teen slang. I never thought I would be in my twenties and completely confounded by my students, but it’s officially happened.

I remember being thirteen and a little shit and signing out for the PEN15 club on the blackboard, thinking my substitute teacher would have no idea what I was saying, thinking I was sooooo clever. I realize now, more than a decade later, when my students call me “the plug,” that karma is a very real thing.

A few weeks ago, I overheard a conversation that went something along these lines:

Student A: (unintelligible muttering) BBJ! Miss…yeah definitely bro hahaha

Student B: She a total BBJ!

When the surrounding students collapsed into fits of giggles in the corner, side-eyeing me, trying to be subtle, I obviously needed to find out what BBJ was. PSA: Urbandictionary-ing, while useful, is not a foolproof method for this reason.

Me: What’s BBJ, and why is that me?


Me: Come on. Tell me.


Me: I’ll give you candy if you tell me.

One kid: Oooh OK, what kind of candy?

Everyone else: SHUT UP, Brandon! No!

Since it was the end of the day, and rightbefore a weekend, I had neither the will nor the energy to super sleuth the BBJ situation, and I’m pretty sure I went home, ate bread, passed out on the couch, and dreamed sweet, sweet, student-less dreams.

One week later, anonymous student makes “BBJ Lover” his/her username in a classroom game. Everyone laughs and looks at me. Someone else makes “DTG” his username, and screams, “Deep Throat Gang,” from the back of the room. I think to myself, “How could he ever say that to a teacher?!” and then I remember PEN15.

I google both BBJ and DTG, against my better judgment. The results are profane and predictable. I eat more bread and pray for the future of America.

Two weeks pass, and it all blows over. I finally learn what “finna” and “boe” mean, and despite my new knowledge, I do not feel enlightened.

Today, Student A comes to my room at the end of the day, looking for his phone. He asks me if I ever learned what BBJ means. I say no. He laughs at me. I erase the board, feeling old, lame, like a real damn adult.

Student C takes pity on me and tells me that BBJ means “Big Booty Judy,” and it’s so anticlimactic that I’m almost disappointed.

Then I remember they’ve all been calling ME “Big Booty Judy,” and it makes me love and hate everything all at once, and for the first time, I truly understand why half my teachers were eccentric and had sixteen cats and tattooed eyeliner and wore capes.

Thank God for the weekend, people. Finna be lit.peachie