“I have Hitler in My Bag” and another little story from the first 10 days of the school year

We’re a little less than two weeks into the 2021-2022 academic year and I’m already full of stories but it’s been an exhausting day and I just want to share my favorite two.

  1. Last year, the pandemic year, there were a couple students I taught all year but never actually met face to face. I truly bonded with one of them. On the first day of school, after school, he came to my classroom just to meet me in person. He told me it was really important to him. He told me I was the first teacher he had had ever met that truly cared about him and that he learned more from my class than he had ever learned in all his other classes in school in all his life put together. Well, um, that made me feel pretty good. I don’t really know where to go from there. It was the first day of school. I mean, how do I top that? He has continued to visit me every day after school. He wants to talk about nothing but current events in Afghanistan, what my opinions are, and what I think is going to happen next. I love knowing that I have inspired such immense curiosity in a 16 yo kid.
  2. I teach high school juniors AP world history, high school sophomores world history, and 7th graders cultural studies (social studies). This afternoon one of my 12 year old students walked into my classroom, approached my desk, and very gingerly said “Mrs. Givens, I have something to say” I looked at him and was like, um, okay, and he said “I have Hitler in my bag” and I was sure I must have misheard him so I said excuse me? And he repeated “I have Hitler in my bag”. I had no fucking clue what this kid was talking about and I am sure that was all over my face. I said I don’t know what you’re talking about. He pointed to the wall and I said OH!!!!!!!!!!! So, I have a display of World War II leaders on my wall and Hitler was missing. I hadn’t even noticed. The kid said someone must have been playing a joke on him. He swore to me he did not do it. He got home on Friday afternoon, opened his bag, and found Hitler in it, and had been worried all weekend he was going to be in trouble. Poor kid. I think it’s funny. But I did have to lecture the class. It’s not funny to make him worry all weekend but it was funny for a kid to show up at my desk and tell me he had Hitler in his bag. Kids are funny.