What are we doing today, Mrs. Brown?
At this point, my snarky comeback usually has to do with getting the warm-up started, which is ALWAYS posted, followed by waving my arms in an overexaggerated manner at the agenda on the board, which is also ALWAYS posted.
It goes something like this: I introduce said student to the board and vice versa (“Johnny, the board. Board, meet Johnny.”) Rarely do I achieve the laugh I am going for.
If I’m feeling convivial, I won’t buy into my frustration and simply say, “Please get out the __fill in the blank here___” or “pick up the _____ sheet as you enter the room and read it” or “get ready to turn in the _____” or something to that effect. Clearly the more adult thing to do.
Regardless of how I present, these are the noises I frequently hear: Aaaooh. Meh. Noooh. <This is whining—I can’t seem to find the right alphabet letters to make the particular sound a sixth grader makes when they are not pleased. >
This is a chronic occurrence, so much so that I posted this sign above my whiteboard in the front of my classroom:
It hasn’t worked. I will also channel Tom Hanks’ character from A League of Their Own and lament, “THERE’S NO WHINING IN MIDDLE SCHOOL!” That hasn’t worked either.
Oh well. Good thing I was gifted with a sense of humor–a vital quality for a teacher who chose to teach middle school English, as far as I’m concerned. That peppered with a little bit of sarcasm at this age pays dividends for all concerned.