Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Not the Nigley!

Big day today, big day. After his experimentation with American slang yesterday, Stifler was subjected to a highly embarrassing and uncomfortable situation today as his other (45 year old) teacher explained to him in great detail what exactly the word he used yesterday meant, precisely how offensive to women it was, and in no uncertain terms when he was not to use it again. He turned exactly eight shades of purple and red, looked properly mortified when he found out what it really meant, and is no longer making direct eye contact with his other teacher. I, on the other hand, stood behind a wall watching and trying not to make noise as I trembled in hysterical laughter. It was fabulous.

Which leads me to the next part of my day. My day seems to have been characterized by raucous bouts of my own inappropriate laughter which I've had to restrain myself from sharing. While good for the abs, it's very challenging for me to pull off in front of kids.

So there I was, sitting in my superfab teacher chair, listening in on a literature circle. The kids were enthusiastically discussing a book called Absolutely Normal Chaos. I purposely made this group all girls because of the nature of the girly book, but apparently made a mild error in judgment when I placed curious, outspoken girls who like to talk about everything under the sun together.

One of the roles is called Comprehension Monitor, whose illustrious job it is to find words or sections of text which interfere with comprehension and they are to muddle through them with the group until they figure it out. Usually a pretty fun role, nothing for me to worry about...until today.

"Okay, my first word is on page 81 and it's nigley." Huh? I thought, I don't know that one. I listened closely as she read aloud while I flipped idly to the page at hand. "I found a sheer nigley in my sister's underwear drawer," she read loudly and then grinned at the word underwear. The other little girls began to titter and I scanned rapidly for the word. My heart stopped as I started to put the clues together and my eyes zoomed in on the word "negligee." Oh, Lord.

I felt the corners of my mouth begin to twitch and I struggled to restrain myself. I decided to just let the girls talk it out. "It's one of those BRA things!" one exclaimed, turning red. Copious giggles abound. Bras are a very hot topic in my class right now. "No, but it has a skirt! It's a bra with a skirt!" Boys begin to look visibly uncomfortable and scoot away from the circle of underwear activists, now arguing over the most accurate classification for this item of clothing. "It said sheer! That's like clear! Why would you want it clear? Somebody could see! It can't be a bra!" I felt a snicker coming on and disguised it as a cough. This noise, unfortunately, reminded them of my presence and they asked me how to pronounce nigley. I carefully enunciated the word, careful not to speak too loudly, lest some lurking parent be lying in wait for my demise. I can't go down on a negligee clause, it really wouldn't be worth it.

My pronunciation triggered some recognition in the eyes of my more worldly students. They gasped and clapped hands over their mouths. And that was when I got tickled. I felt my body begin to shake as I tried not to show my amusement, but the laughter quickly got the better of me and I began to laugh hysterically, tears pouring from my eyes. I emitted very unattractive snorts and chortles as I tried to regain control. The kids laughed and cheered with me, thrilled beyond words that they had provided me such great enjoyment. We all eventually got control and returned to the meeting.

My context clues expert who had picked up on the sheerness of a negligee spoke up, bored. "My mom has a nigley. It's gross. You can see right through it." She giggled naughtily, as did I, but for a different reason. I love parent dirt. It gives me a high.

When parents come in upset the next day over something ridiculous like, say, gosh...I don't know...they insist that we take all the pictures off of the tsunami webquest because the photos make their daughter feel sad? Sad? It's a tsunami! Yeah. That's when I can snicker in my head about their see-through nigley, while I smoothly emanate sickeningly sweet reassurances about the remarkable marvel that is their daughter.

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