Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Milk Wit My Cocoa Puff

Answer to yesterday’s riddle may as well have been an empty basket as Leesepea suggested. I had FORTY FIVE missing assignments. 45! I only have 40 students and there weren’t that many assignments. They just don’t care and their parents don’t make them care. One of my colleagues is having the same problem, and she came over in the middle of class to tell me about her situation. She asked her student, “So, it’s been two days. Are you planning to actually do your reading response?” She waited while he thought. And he really pondered for a minute before thoughtfully responding, “I don’t know…” He said he didn’t know! He’s losing $2 a day from his checkbook for missing work, but “he doesn’t know!” I just can’t wrap my head around these kids.

Let’s also talk about the full moon. I don’t know how many of you have spent time around children or animals during a full moon, but it changes them much like I imagine werewolves would transform. Gus has shifted from his Happy Playful Self into his alter ego, Evil FreakyWeird Gus. Since yesterday, he’s stolen and eaten a pack of Trident, a tampon, a sock, and countless treasures from the garbage can. He has barked savagely at anyone daring to set foot on our sidewalk and nearly thrown himself through the window at the children at the bus stop in our driveway. Right now he’s in the backyard howling at a hot air balloon.

In addition to the Full Moon Delight, how ‘bout we factor in our 100+ degree temperatures which prevent us from having outside recess? Let’s do that. ‘Cause that’s one of the primary factors which pushed my sanity to its breaking point today. During class, I gave a set of directions verbally (mistake #1 – assuming kids are listening) and sat down to start meeting with kids about their writing (mistake #2 – assuming they are mature enough to be able to focus during this, a debilitating moon cycle, and get work done independently). I looked up to find
ItchyScratchy staring a hole through me.

“What?” I asked.
“Did you just say something in Spanish?” she stared in wonder.
“Um, no,” I replied.
“Are you sure? I couldn’t even understand what you just said,” she singsonged in her dreamy Valley Girl voice.
So apparently, not only do my kids not listen to me, but some think that I’m speaking a foreign language. Of course.

Which brings us to my last class of the day. The one with
Mr.Owens. Thank goodness for Mr. Owens. During reading groups, I walked around babysitting to make sure that kids were on task when I kept hearing a bouncy little rhythm from the corner of the room. I casually sauntered over, hoping to bust the perpetrator and leaned in for a better listen.

“What you gon’ do with all that junk?All that junk inside your trunk?I’ma get, get, get, get, you drunk,Get you love drunk off my hump.My hump, my hump, my hump, my hump, my hump,My hump, my hump, my hump, my lovely little lumps.”

If you aren’t familiar, these are the deep and meaningful lyrics of a very popular Black Eyed Peas song, of which one Mr. Owens is apparently a fan. He was actually reading his book as instructed while rockin’ out in his own world with a jaunty little head bob at the same time.

“I mix your milk wit my cocoa puff, milky, milky cocoa, mix your milk with my cocoa puff, milky, milky riiiiiiight,” sang Mr.Owens as I stifled the uproarious laughter that was threatening to explode forth. He caught my eye just then and put his finger over his own lips, but continued to bob his head to the beat and read Harry Potter. I crept away and stepped into the hall and collapsed against the wall laughing. Not only does he march to the beat of his own drum, he can apparently sing along as well.

I finally made it to the end of the day, which included a round of chocolate cupcakes for a birthday (can’t be served at lunch, that would compete with the cafeteria! Better to take up instructional time). I waved a relieved goodbye to my gaggle of youth as they struggled out the door to go home and not do their homework. That’s when one of my kids from last year handed me a crumpled up, mangled brown envelope that he dug from the murky depths of his backpack.

“Here,” he said. “This is your present from the end of the year last May. I forgot it in my backpack.” He shuffled off, not embarrassed in the least that he was delivering a 4 month late end of the year teacher gift. Classic. I sighed. Classic.

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