And We’re Off…

It’s August 28, 2009, and this is the beginning of the PHAT TEACHER project. Workshop starts next week, and I am once again gearing up for the start of a new school year…teaching middle schoolers…6th graders to be exact. You know, the ones who aren’t really kids any longer, but they still aren’t mutant teenagers either. The ones who, until February, still believe that the opposite sex has cooties!

Well, once August rolled around, I moved from the “enjoying summer” phase right into the “preparing myself for school” phase. I stepped up my lottery ticket buying to twice a week; opting to purchase $10 a week worth of tickets instead of my usual $2. Hey, a girl can dream, can’t she?

So, I suppose you are wondering where the name of my website, PHAT TEACHER, came from. Well, a few years back, one of my students said, “Hey, Mrs. P! You’re really phat!” He wove his arms across his body, stuck out his lower jaw until it looked as if it was detached from the rest of his face, and bounced his head up and down like one of those bobble-head dolls. I was shocked to hear a student call me fat! So, I mimicked his stance and actions and I said, “Hey, Nate! You’re really in detention!” The rest of the class quickly came to his defense and tried to tell me that being PHAT was a good thing. Yeah, right! Like I was going to believe that. I’ve been around the block more than once…if you know what I mean. (However, usually by the second time around, though, I’m puffing a little…so I figure they might be right about the phat/fat thing.) Anyway, I went home and got on the scale…and sure enough…it flashes, “OVERLOAD…BEEPING WILL BEGIN WHEN BACKING UP!” So, I guess they were right! If PHAT/FAT is a good thing, then I’m right in style!

You see, I’m not really FAT; however, not everyone might agree with that statement. Let me put it this way: the other day, I bent down to talk to a friend’s toddler sitting in a stroller. I smiled and chanted, “How big is Caden?”, and of course, he and I both put our arms straight up in the air and cooed out, “Soooooo big!”. Then, I said, “How big is Mary?” (That would be me!) and his arms shot straight out to his sides as far as he could reach. He even gritted his nine little teeth just so he could reach a bit farther, and he yells, “SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO BIG!” Everyone’s a comedian!

Alright, here’s another way to look at this fat thing. They say the average woman wears a size 12. Well, that puts me above average…at about a C+! Isn’t it good to be above average? The interesting thing is that every summer, I try eating my way right toward that A. A person needs to have goals!

Okay, back to the whole PHAT thing. So, I jump on the computer and type in PHAT. According to the Urban Dictionary, it means hot and tempting or cool! I figure, at my age and my “fluffiness level”, hot and tempting isn’t exactly what Nate meant…so, I’m thinking he probably meant cool. However, it also stated that it is now hopelessly out of style. Well, I guess that describes me pretty well, also! There is no real style to black shirts and black pants…which, by the way, cover your fat (the real stuff…not the phat stuff) very well.

Anyway, regardless of whether I am PHAT or FAT, there is a reason for this blog. In the 27 years, weeks (that sounds better) that I have been teaching, I see a lot of humor in the day to day activities of my students. I also see a lot of humor in the way I teach, and I feel that there are people out there who need to know that teaching is a fun and noble career path. Too many young people are looking for money and prestige rather than looking at the benefits you get from this career. Impacting a child’s life is a forever thing. (Of course, I can never be sure if it was my fault that 8 of my past students who ended up in prison was due to my influence or not. I can only hope it wasn’t!) So, go into teaching! Live an amazing life. And if you are still unsure, keep reading the blog. You’ll understand why teaching makes you laugh and why it makes you cry…why it will be your greatest joy and why sometimes it will break your heart. And why, when some child brings you the ugliest Christmas gift in the entire world, it is still as valuable to you as the $50 gift certificate to Barnes and Noble or some fancy restaurant. (Note to new teachers: Ugly ornaments get hung on the back of the Christmas tree.)

Kids are great! So, keep reading, blog followers. Make comments and send me your opinions. Just remember…it’s still summer vacation…so get out there and buy more lottery tickets. And if you happen to win, remember to send me some money. It was my idea!

Mary…the Phat-Fat Teacher

The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly…and Definitely the Funny!