Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Ingrates Ingratiate

(New Followers who are writers: This is another teaching post, but it’s short and insane funny.)

You know how I’ve been talking about my difficult class since last fall? Well I’ve been proud of myself because they (mostly) behave for me. And I’m also proud because I’ve challenged them with a Renaissance Biography project. They’ve done research, created posters, and then were doing presentations of said posters.

To keep them focused, besides saying, “What does a good audience look like? What does an audience sound like?” I also bribed said when we completed the presentations, I’d bring in Dunkin’ Donuts to celebrate.

This is their response:

“Dunkin’ Donuts?” one boy said. “Why can’t we have Kentucky Fried Chicken?”

“Yeah, I love Kentucky Fried Chicken,” a girl responded.

There were murmurs of agreement.

“I’m not getting Kentucky Fried Chicken,” I declared. “Our class is at the end of the day.”

“We can eat it for lunch,” the girl offered.

“Or pizza,” the boy said.

This generated a chorus of “Yeah” and “Pizza”.

At this point, my voice has raised an octave. “No. We’re not getting pizza. You know, I brought doughnuts in to three other classes. And guess what those students said? ‘Thank you.’ Nobody tried to change the menu. I’m bringing in doughnuts or nothing.”


A boy who’s visiting from a northern European country raised his hand and asked, “How about fruit?”

The entire class shouted, “FRUIT?!”

From their tones and the looks of horror on their faces, I believe they actually thought I’d change my mind and bring in fruit. He was like the kid who raises his hand asks a teacher if there’s homework.

“Don’t worry, if I bring in fruit, I’ll still bring doughnuts.”

“Aren’t you leaving soon? Why don’t we have a pizza party?” another boy asked.

“No. We’ll have the doughnuts and that’s it.”

After the severe sidetrack, we got to the presentations that (mostly) went okay.

Near the end of class, the girl with the bright idea for pizza came over to me by the door. (I have to stand there to make sure they put up chairs before they leave and that they don’t sneak out before the bell.)

“We should have a pizza party before you leave.”

“No, I’m not giving up a day of class time. We have a lot to do before your teacher returns.”

“We’ll have pizza and work. We’ll take care of it.”

Damn, that was sweet.

P.S. Yesterday, I brought in doughnuts and grapes. The doughnuts were a hit. When I looked over at the grapes, only the skeleton of the twigs remained.

P.P.S. I made it to the 2nd round of ABNA Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award in the YA category.


  1. Glad the doughnuts were a hit.

    Congratulations again, Theresa, on making it to the 2nd round of ABNA Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award! :)

  2. So it turned out that the grapes are in with the ingrapes, erm ingrates... Grapes, no one can resist their sugary goodness!
    Too bad you couldn't play any grapeful dead to go with the doughnuts and fruit! But I guess that's just sour grapes. : p
    Hey hey hey! Congrats on making to round two of ABNA! You're making your way forward!

  3. You have a lot of patience. I would have changed my mind about bringing in anything. But you are nicer than I am.

    Congrats on moving up to the next level! Awesome!

  4. I don't think we have fully realized the pure bliss of grapes. They should have that "Chips" logo of you can't just eat one. I forget I love them till the little twig is all that remains ;)
    Such a cute post and I'm glad you stuck to your guns on the Dunkin' You have great patience with kids, something I think is a true gift amongst teachers.

  5. Congratulations on making it to the second round. That's totally awesome covered in sauce.

    I saw your post yesterday but didn't comment. And now here today, can I jsut say, you are an AMAZING teacher. Where were teachers like you when I was in school?

  6. Congratulations Theresa, and if nothing, you can say your kids know what they want, right?

  7. Wow, at least they are eating grapes! I love doughnuts, though.

    That is sweet how the little girl is bargaining for pizza!

  8. Sometimes children just don't know what they like.

    Congratulations on the ABNA achievement. I am chuffed for you!

  9. Theresa, congrats on the 2nd round!!

    I bet that child from Northern Europe wasn't Irish, the efforts I make to get fruit into my kids.

    I was thinking of you yesterday when my daughter came home sad because her substitute Arts teacher left as the usual teacher returns from maternity leave today, bet your kids will miss you too.

  10. Love the "deals" students try to make. Sounds like you've hit just the right note with this group!

  11. You must be working in a school much like the one where I taught for 21 years. Extreme poverty. Hunger, malnutrition, and neglect. Any bright shining star of a food made a big hit. Even grapes.

  12. LOL. Love that story!! :-)

    And MAJOR congrats on reaching round 2!!!

  13. Hi Theresa .. round 2 - brilliant!!

    Love the fact all the food went!!

    Happy days - cheers Hilary

  14. Congratulations on making the 2nd round of the Amazon breakthrough novel award in the YA category!!!! Thats brilliant! So happy for you, fingers crossed! They're lucky ingrates/kids, they'll miss you, pizza or no pizza! Take care, Niamh

  15. @ Len, thank you! I let my FB friends know about making it to the 2nd round, but I just got around to posting it here.

    @ JulieandMatt, thanks!

    @ Alesa, I don't know whether to groan or compliment your for cleverness. I'm grapeful for the comment.

    Thanks for the ABNA comment.

    @ LR, thank you!

    @ Katherine, they weren't mean about it, so I still brought in the grub. They were just being themselves, and I should've seen it coming!

    @ Erica, I guess most kids won't ask for fruit, but they'll eat and enjoy it when it's in front of them.

    I try to keep my patience. Mostly, they make me laugh.

    @ Anne, thanks for the ABNA comment. This is better than I did last year.

    You're too kind. There are teachers here whom I look up to because they do a way better job than me.

  16. @ Angela, yes, a very opinionated class.

    @ Aubrie, the girl ain't so little or sweet! But she's improved since I started here.

    I'd rather eat a doughnut than a grape. Those grapes went so fast, I didn't even get one!

    @ Ann, I guess they'll have to get fried chicken on their own time.

    Thanks about ABNA.

    @ Brigid, no, not Ireland. And the mother was surprised because she said he loves sweets.

    @ Bossy Betty, I am enjoying this group. Sometimes they're my favorite because they're so ridiculous.

    @ Dkzody, you just about cover it. We got from very well off to not.

  17. THERESA MILSTEIN!!!!!!!!

    You are so SNEAKY!!!

    You got through to the second round of the ABNA contest and kept that right at the end?!?!?!?! You are so so so so sly!! LOL!!!!


    Yay!!!!!!!!!!! OH WOWWOWOWOWOOWWOW!!!!!!! WOOO-HOOOOO!!!

    Oh and erm - well done you for sticking to doughnuts and grapes - glad the little ingrates.. ahem... sweet kiddies... enjoyed them!!!!

    Take care

  18. @ Shannon, I figured you'd apperciate the story since you've worked with this age group.

    Thanks about ABNA.

    @ Hilary, thanks about the doughtnuts and ABNA.

    @ Niamh, thank you about ABNA.

    I'm going to miss these kids more than they'll miss me, I'm sure. I started getting weepy yesterday.

    @ Old Kitty, I didn't sneak it! If you'd join Facebook and friend me you could've seen me plaster it up. Anyway, thank you. I don't think I'll go that far, but it's better than I fared last year.

  19. Sounds like a great week for you! Yeah, my sons are the same way. They're never happy about what you give them, they always want more!

    ps - my comment yesterday about not expecting angelic behavior was advice aimed at the student teacher - I could tell you already knew that =)

  20. You were right, that was funny :D Big Congrats on the Novel advancement!!
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  21. Great story! Doughnuts are fine, but count me in on team KFC. I'm a fried chicken fanatic. :)

    Congrats again, on making it to ABNA round 2!

  22. Hi Theresa!
    Thanks for dropping by my blog. I hope you get a chance to come back and join the contest.:P
    I used to teach high school students myself and I can relate to this funny post. Students are double edged swords-- they can be so annoying and yet so lovable at the same time.

  23. So funny, Theresa! Still, pizza can lessen the pain of dealing with ingrates. Congrats on making it to the 2nd round of ABNA. You rock!

  24. Hahaha. I can't believe they complained about doughnuts and yeah for eating grapes too. Congrats on making it to the second round!

  25. Haha.. brilliant. Yes, indeed I get very annoyed when things are offered to the children and they complain about it .. mostly happened last year. It was kind of soul-destroying. I know that's dramatic but that's how it felt to be constantly told your generosity was not good enough.

    GOOD ON YOU for sticking with the doughnuts (and the grapes .. I liked that). Yes, very sweet about the offer of a party. Just when you think you can pass them off as a bunch of brats, they do something the reel you back in. Lovely!!

    Congrats on the 2nd round. How cool are you???!!!! ☺☺☺☺☺

  26. So awesome-- those little shites can have a sweet spot too! :D:D

  27. Gotta love those middle schoolers!!
    Congrats on making the second round! Way to go!!!

  28. Middle schoolers, always bargaining.

  29. Haha, I enjoyed that story--and funny, even the grapes were gone! LOL

    Big congratz to you on making the second round of the Breakthrough Novel Award! Way coolies!! You go, girl!

  30. Congrats! I've been having trouble logging onto my facebook, so I missed your announcement.

    And I got my book the other day, btw. My husband nabbed it so I haven't read it yet. Thanks again!

  31. Kids. You gotta love 'em! I grinned when I read about the grapes. Parents always bring cupcakes and cookies and cheese puffs to parties. I always make sure cheese cubes and grapes are on the party list. They're the only two items that the kids don't throw away!

    Yeah, those kids are really going to miss you. Hopefully, they'll see more of you in the future....?

  32. DUH!!! (in my defense, it's been a crazy week) Congratulations on making it another round in ABNA!!!

  33. You know how you should celebrate making round 2 in the Amazon contest, right? Pizza party!!!


    Congratulations on surviving and thriving in the class of ingrates, and on making round 2.

  34. LOL! I love that they ate the grapes too. :) And are organizing their own pizza working party for the end of your time with them.

  35. Congrats on getting into the second round! You snuck that in at the end :).

    And I love the kid who asked for fruit. Poor thing, I bet some kids had a go at him after that.

  36. @ Tara, it's true they're often not happy. I warn them in advance not to ask for a 2nd doughnut.

    I knew the advice wasn't for me. Though I'll take any and all advice if it helps. We can always improve, right?
    I plan to take the helpful comments + add my own to make a future discipline advice post sometime in the future. Maybe.

    @ Jules, glad you enjoyed it and thank you about ABNA.

    @ VR Barkowski, so you would've been another troublemaker in that class! You should have fried chicken at your booklaunch party.

    Thanks for the congratulations.

    @ Nutschell, good way to put it - students are often like double-edged swords!

    @ Roxy, I find a glass of wine at the end of the night helps when dealing with ingrates during the day.


    @ Angie, the two days made me incredulous. Those kids are too funny!

    Thank you.

  37. @ Elembee, I know what you mean. I had a student (not this group) keep asking for a 2nd doughnut. Another student said, "That's not cool to ask for a second one. Appreciate what you got." That was awesome.

    We'll see if the pizza party happens. This class does have a problem with follow up. Nice scentiment though.

    Thanks for the ABNA compliment and smiley faces!

    @ Christina, you said it, not me! ; )

    @ Choices, middle schools have definitely grown on me!

    @ Liz, they are bargainers! I just said to one of them yesterday (sarcastically), "Oh yeah, we're bargaining this." He got the hint.

    @ Carol, they complained about the grapes, but devoured them. That speaks volumes with this class.

    Thanks for the ABNA congrats!

  38. @ Angelica, I'm glad both you and your husband will get to read the book. Hope you enjoy it!

    @ The Words Crafter, it's funny that cheese and grapes would be the favorite food choices. Maybe I'll always bring something healthy when I do a publication celebration with the students.

    Thanks about ABNA.

    @ Elizabeth, I'm torn between pizza and fried chicken! Thanks for the congrats.

    @ Sharon, I will be shocked if they actually throw me a pizza party. Then again, I'm shocked they do work for me and are mostly quiet, so stranger things have happened.

    @ Sari, I tried to diffuse the fruit by saying I'd bring both. And being that they all ate the fruit, hopefully someone actually thanked him. Probably not!

  39. Theresa,

    Congratulations on your Breakthrough Novel Award. This is wonderful. I wish you all the luck.

    As for the snooty students in your class, good for you not to change the menu. It was very gracious of YOU to treat the class [ok, bribe them] to donuts. They are very lucky to have you.

  40. @ Victoria Marie, thanks for the congrats.

    It's the age that makes them mostly think of themselves. The 7th-graders were asking, "Why don't we get doughnuts?" so I had to remind them they had their doughnuts a couple of months ago!

  41. Congrats on making round two. We should have a pizza party to celebrate!

  42. @ Ibdiamond, glad you had a laugh!

    @ Missed Periods, thanks. You bring the pizza and I'll bring the doughnuts.

  43. Congrats on ABNA! Oh that brings me back...

    You just won the Irresistibly Sweet Blog award on my blog! Come on by

  44. Cute story. I wish you could post pictures of these kids (which I know you can't), but I think by now my imgination has them pretty well captured anyway. :o)

    Thanks for sharing, Theresa! BTW, congrats on ABNA! (Is it Mistchasers?)

  45. First of all, congrats on getting through to the second round - fantastic!

    And ohm I can so relate to this post. Once I brought in sweets for all my classes for Christmas, and they all complained how I didn't get the 'right' kind! Haha!

  46. @ Sophia, thanks for the congrats and the award. I'll stop by!

    @ Jackee, thanks. I wish I could post pictures.

    @ Talli, thank you.

    Yes, kids are very picky when it comes to candy and chocolate. They complain more about that than anything else!

  47. I love that the kids ate the fruit. Fabulous.


  48. @ Jai, I've learned fruit should always be a part of a class's post-publication celebration.

  49. Congratulations on your 2nd round Amazon achievement ... One stone at a time ... :)

  50. Guess they're just trying to see how far they can push you... I'm glad they ate the grapes!

  51. This is hilarious! They have a way of getting their way, don't they. Congratulations, Theresa, you rock!

  52. Congrats on your ABNA success so far!

    Funny how they ate all the grapes. Kids are just voracious. Period.

  53. @ Joanne, my stones have increased of late!

    @ Deniz,if there ever was a button-pushing class, it's this one. Eating the grapes show how wholesome they can really be.

    @ Barbra, thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed the post.

    @ Lydia K, thanks.

    You're right, I probably could've given them most anything and they would've devoured it.

  54. Haha tough class. And congrats on the contest good luck with it ;).

  55. @ Beth, tough and funny class. I'm out sick today, so I hope they don't torture the sub.

    Thanks about ABNA.

  56. lol Congrats! And congrats on the grapes too...working with kids that's a victory in itself.

  57. @ Erica, thank you! I haven't decided which victory I'm more proud of.