I had another kid go awol out the window this week.
The frequency with which this happens is certainly not enough for me to question my competency as a teacher. It’s hardly daily. More like like semesterly. And to my credit, I’ve caught every child that’s made a break for the Wild Savannah of the Soccer Field. Even more to my credit, the only other window issue I’ve had this semester was a student entering my class. I’m not one to look the gift horse in the mouth. You want in my class bad enough to come through the window, welcome. Now sit your ass down and get started on your bell work.
Still, walking into my room to a pack of awestruck fourteen year olds whispering “Dude…he actually went out the window!” in one of their first experiences of Mild Teenage Misbehavior in the Classroom only convinces me that when designing educational edifices, architects really should take into consideration the teenage brain. Primarily the fact that a pop-out window with an opening the exact size of an adolescent torso set two feet above a soft landing strip of mulch screams Freedom! with a force comparable only to the illegal immigration dispute of the southwest. Border jumpers, windows jumpers, it’s all the same gig.
That natural longing for A Better Place.
I spun on my heel and went right back out my door to meet the Escape Artist on his way back in.
“Really? Climbing out the window? Your little freedom-seeking booty is in my room after school cleaning desks.”
Welcome to Spring in Education. The weather is beautiful, the sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and the kids are totally-freaking-losing-it.
For that matter, so am I.
“¡Olé!” I shout at my class in our agreed-upon manner of getting their attention.
Conversation in a bizarre mix of Spanish and English continues to roar in the background.
“¡Olé!” I shout again.
“Olé.” I couple of stragglers repeat half-heartedly. A girl squeals. Two boys shout at each other.
Thweet. Thweeeeeeet! THWEEEEEET!!!!
That was the sports whistle I keep for occasions when the students are being exceptionally obnoxious, I have encouraged a little too much enthusiastic participation, or it’s Spring Teenager Mating Season.
“FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS HOLY, SIT DOWN, SHUT YOUR FACES AND RE-FRIGGIN’-LAX!” I bellow.
Silence. Thirty faces stare at me, grinning without the least bit of shame, embarrassment, or Fear of Getting in Trouble. My room is vibrating with energy.
“I know it’s spring.” I tell them. “I know it’s eighty degrees outside. I know you’re spending more time checking out the hind ends of members of the opposite sex than you are on your homework but I just really need you to hold it together just one more month.’
So I threw in the towel.
I started Fun Question Fridays.
Objective of Fun Question Friday: Students will have fun and stop thinking about school. Teacher will have fun and stop wanted to shoot herself in the head.
Structure of Fun Question Friday: Give students index card. Ask silly personal question. Have students answer. Collect cards. Read aloud. Laugh.
Predicted Outcomes of Fun Question Friday: Laughter. Very little academic work. Increased popularity with students.
Recommended Initial Question for Fun Question Friday: What’s the most embarrassing moment you’re willing to share with the class?
It’s like my own little version of the Embarassing Moments sections of trashy magazines, which I love only slightly less than the useless quiz section. And the kids totally get into it.
I bunted a ball into my face in front of the whole team, admits the class jock on his little card.
I was looking for the expiration date…on a bottle of water, writes the smartest kid of the group.
And then it goes flat downhill to where we’re all giggling until we’re wiping tears from our eyes.
Once we were playing truth or dare and my dare was to give myself a wedgie and I ripped my own underwear super loud. Awko-taco. Then I snarted (sneeze-farted) in front of my boyfriend.
I was at an amusement park with my friends. We were walking and I ran into a pole. I thought it was a person, so I apologized to it and walked around the rest of the day with a purple face from hitting it so hard.
When I had a broken wrist, I used the bathroom at a friend’s house and ended up clogging it. Since I couldn’t use my arm, his mom had to plunge it for me.
My best friend pantsed me in the cafeteria. She thought my pants had a drawstring. They didn’t.
I was really small and at Disneyland and I really had to pee. I lifted my skirt and went on the sidewalk. Then a family came up and said “Oh look, a puddle!” and their kids started playing in it.
Poop, pee, dropping pants, barfing in public, breaking bones, running into windows.
We’re howling. Absolutely zero Spanish is being learned.
But this, my dear readers-who-think-I’m-a-slacker, is where I learn everything I need to know about my ability as a teacher.
The class jock willing to admit a clumsy moment? The smart kid willing to admit to a “dumb” moment? My kids feel safe in my room. Good natured laughing at everyone’s moments without a single cheap shot taken? My kids know not to show disrespect. A big grin and a “That just replaced last Friday as my favorite Spanish class, ever!” I timed the break right…and my kids have multiple favorite days.
Overwork is overrated.
We’re all just barely holding it together, so cut your kids and yourself a break and make a fool of yourself.
Unless, of course, you have no fool in you, like the quietest student of mine this year.
I have no embarrassing moments…she wrote…because I’m a ninja.
I am a teaching ninja.