I was a total nerd in high school.
Actually, let’s back up.
I was always a total nerd. So much so, that I sucked all the nerd genes out of the pool leaving none for my little brother who unconcernedly shrugged off worries about grades and set his academic sights on the much more entertaining endeavor of being That Kid.
All teachers know who I’m talking about. That Kid that tries every last shred of your patience. That Kid that asks a stupid question simply for the sake of asking a stupid question. That Kid that arrives late every day and seems oblivious to any consequence you can dream up. That Kid that lies, skips, annoys, irritates, distracts, sleeps…
You get the idea.
We’re only beginning the school year, but I bet you’re already well on your way to figuring out this year’s “That Kid.” Quick – if you had to name a name, who would it be?
See. Told you teachers know what I’m talking about.
In the interest of trying to figure out why, when I buy letter magnets so that students can practice Spanish in a new and unique way, I find phrases such as
I is big ribbed duck man
I pee now
and, perhaps most inexplicably,
on my whiteboard, I decided to interview That Kid. If I could discover what makes him (or her) tick, maybe I would be a better teacher. Or at least I might reduce the number of times I say things like, “Cory. Kindly remove your crotch from Mark’s face,” in my classroom.
Figuring there might be legal issues with walking up to my current That Kid and saying “Hey, you’re obnoxious. Can I interview you and then publish it online?” I decided to settle for the safer, less sue-able option of interviewing my brother.
“I have a kid this year that reminds me of you,” I tell him frequently.
“You have a kid every year that reminds you of me,” he responds, unimpressed.
Yep. Sure do. It’s That One.
So for what it’s worth in improving student/teacher relations, welcome to That Kid’s Brain.
* * * * * * *
Me: Okay, first and foremost, what qualities do you look for in a teacher?
Bro: Tig ol’ bitties.
Me: I see. We’re jumping out of the gate with boobs. Nice. Anything else?
Bro: A short attention span. Smart-assery.
Me: A short attention span?
Bro: Yeah. So you can totally get them off topic and do nothing.
Me: Wonderful. Let’s try some scenarios instead. Your teacher has been lecturing too long. What do you do?
Bro: Silently pray for death.
Me: Yours or theirs?
Me: Why not the teacher’s?
Bro: I’m not vengeful.
But I do also like to wait for a quiet pause in the lecture, then rip a big one.
Me: Isn’t it embarrassing to fart in front of your peers?
Bro: Isn’t it embarrassing to be that teacher everybody hates?
Me: Moving on. You don’t know the answer to a question on an essay test. What do you do?
Bro: This is what I did on an actual music test for which I did NO studying. I answered the entire test in rhyming iambic pentameter. And I got a D instead of outright failing.
Me: And what was your teacher’s justification for passing you?
Bro: She said I put a lot of work into it. I also once answered a calculus proof with a sketch of a math textbook burning in a trashcan.
Bro: That one I did fail.
Me: Didn’t you also draw family trees of random animals mating with celebrities, then write essays describing their offspring?
Bro: That was your other brother.
Me: Oh, right. Mixing up the family overachievers.
Me: Next scenario. Your teacher drank too much coffee and has to pee. She begs you to behave for 3 minutes so she can run to the bathroom. She leaves the room and you…
Bro: …shout CARPE DIEM and flip my desk over triumphantly.
Me: Why would you flip your desk over?
Bro: Why not?
Me: Actually…that explains a lot of what goes on in my classroom.
Bro: It’s also symbolic of the struggle against an oppressive regime, turning the establishment on its head. Besides, f–k that desk.
Me: What did that desk ever do to you?
Bro: Sat there all hoity-toity with its uppity chair attachment.
Me: Describe your thought process during any given class.
Bro: 1st period: So tired. Wonder if there is any way to sleep without the teacher caring.
2nd period. Still tired. Refreshed from first period nap. Exhausted by boredom.
3rd period: Hungry. Wonder what’s for lunch? Better not be Salisbury steak again. That’s yesterday’s meat in last week’s gravy. You’re not fooling anyone, cafeteria lady.
4th period: SO hungry. Must eat now. Stare at boobs. Rate girls in class on a scale of 1 -10 in a chauvinistic, misogynistic way.
5th period: Late to class because I waited until the bell rang to go to the nurse for my Ritalin. Score. Doubly late because I forgot to get a pass from nurse back to class, so waste time returning to nurse for pass, then returning to class.
6th period: My favorite teacher, so I actually pay attention…for about 25 minutes. Then I doodle genitals and random lyrics from songs on my work.
7th period: Dream about every wonderful aspect of the bus ride home; the muggy pungent bus air, the cracked pleather seats leaving imprints on sweaty things. Mmmmmmm. Freedom. Go home and furiously masturbate.
Me: Aw, bro! Too much information.
Bro: You asked.
Me: If that’s your general thought process, describe a quality day in a high school class.
Bro: a good high school class is like real estate: location, location location. Not all the way at the back where you’ll be perceived as a slacker, not all the way at the front where you’re a suck up. Middle-back, and your seat neighbors are crucial. Get a good seat and good neighbors and any class is acceptable.
Me: So what you’re saying is that the class has a big fat diddly and squat to do with the material or the teacher?
Bro: Mostly diddly. Just a little squat.
Me: And what did you do when you sat in prime real estate with friends?
Bro: Talked with complete disregard for the teacher. Or frequently we would write one sentence of a story and pass the paper to each other, each person writing the next line to the story…
Me: That’s actually a very academic undertaking. I’ve used that structure in my classes.
Bro:…usually culminating in a profane adventure featuring the teacher in an uncomfortable and/or sexually deviant situation.
Me: You made it a point to torture your teachers, then?
Bro: That wasn’t torture. When we wanted to torture them, we intentionally answered questions wrong with sexual double entendres. Or we answered them right with obscene over-enthusiasm.
Me: So taking you and your buddies into consideration, what advice would you offer folks going into the teaching career?
But if you must, carry a taser.
But if you must, carry a taser.
Bro: Or a very sharp wit.