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The bells     

Posted by Katherine Putnam on February 5th, 2010

“I can hear the bells…”

Well, it happened. I’d been wondering how long it would last, making bets with myself over how long it would be until our cover was blown. We made it longer than I thought we would: almost a whole month! But now the jig is up, the cat is out of the bag, we’ve been exposed, revealed, etc, etc. Bottom line: they know.

Who are they and what do they know? They are my ninth graders and they know that I’m dating Mr. Putnam.

I knew we had no real hope of keeping it a secret. Even though we don’t hold hands or act mushy at school…kids know. I remember in elementary school we knew that two teachers were going to get married before they even started dating!

Okay, so they know. The real question (or story) is: how do I know they know?


The ninth graders are selling valentines (not just cards but combos with flowers and teddy bears and balloons and all sorts of girly things that make me want to renounce my silly gender and run screaming for the hills) as a class fundraiser. At the beginning of class yesterday several of the girls cornered me and asked if I wanted to see the valentines they had completed. Being naive, I said yes. So they showed me the (beautiful, creative) cards they had made so far and explained the pricing of their gift combos.  I was bombarded with cries of “Miss, Miss! You’re going to buy valentines from us aren’t you? Mr. S0-and-so agreed to buy some! Miss So-and-so is buying some! Buy some from us Miss!” And then amidst the general roar I heard:

“Miss! You should buy a valentine for Mr. Putnam!”

And like a manically skipping record they all took up the chorus, exclaiming over and over that I had to buy a valentine for Mr. Putnam and “don’t worry Miss, we’ll make sure he buys you one too!”

From there it snowballed into them planning our wedding (after I explained that no, we were not engaged or married yet). We have a volunteer to be the preacher, a volunteer to be the maid of honor (one of my wise-cracking male students) and several volunteers to be bridesmaids and flower girls. They also suggested that we should dance down the aisle a la the viral video hit.

Now from all of this I’m sure it sounds like we get nothing done during class. Not true. Despite their enthusiasm for my love life we were able to go over Act 4, scene 1 and 2 AND we were able to review dramatic irony and come up with an extensive list of examples from the play thus far.

We have fun; or at least, I do. I hope the kids have fun too. Yesterday one of my students asked me if I liked them (their class). I answered honestly: “Of course I like you guys!” (To which another wise guy shouted: “Yes! One down, six to go!”) Then someone asked me, “How much do you like us Miss? On a scale of one to ten?” I answered: “Today? Eight.” When they cried out in displeasure I explained, “You keep talking over me and your classmates!” To which they all began frantically shushing each other in an attempt to bump their likability up to the maximum score.

Oh bribery. How I love thee.

Yes, I’m not above bribing the students. They often ask me, “Miss, are we doing anything fun today?” (Which usually means they want to read scenes out loud or act them out…or in yesterday’s case, grill me about my personal life.) To which I respond: “That’s up to you. I have things I want to get through today, but if you cooperate then I hope to get to something ‘fun’ by the end of class.” It’s hysterical to see how well that works.

So there you have it. I’ve updated twice in a week (crazy!).

Hope you found the tale of my ambush as amusing as I found the actual event!


Katherine Elyse

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