Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Tree Grows in…a 6-Year Old's Pocket?

The other day I’m in the middle of a lesson and I hear a very loud, very exaggerated sniff.  I look in the general direction of the snorfel and see a student sniffing grass…hey, it’s First Grade, folks, it’s not that kind of grass…it’s playground grass, people, I’m talking about real, live grass (or, at least it was live until my student picked it).  Anyway…

As I look over I notice his hand is moving from below is nose to below his seat partner’s…he takes his handful of grass, shoves it under his seat partner’s nose, and says, “Hey, get a whiff of this.”  His seat partner looks at him like, “What the heck?” then he looks at me like, “Do something…please!”  I give the student “sharing” the grass “the look” and I point to the trash can…and this is where it gets good…

Remember, he’s 6, and he’s a bit on the short side…so imagine a pint-sized 6-year old standing up…and as he stands up, what appears to be a tree starts to unfurl from his pocket.  I really wish I had the words to explain this, but…he stands up and there is literally a branch, with foliage and everything, bursting out of his pocket…truly, I don’t even know how he was able to sit down…I can’t even sit with my cell phone in my pocket, and this kid’s got branches, and leaves, and everything! 

The funniest part is that this whole little 10-second exchange does not faze him one bit.  He sees my look, sees where I am pointing, shrugs his shoulders, stands up all casual like, and heads for the trash can.  Of course, by the time he gets to the trash can, half of his “pocket tree” is now all over the floor.  I swear, it’s been days and I’m still finding parts of that tree around the room.

I can just my notes the first time I have a sub:  Make sure you check so-and-so’s pocket when he comes in from the playground…for trees!  

Monday, September 12, 2011

Who Gets in Trouble?

Here’s a little something I call, “Who gets in trouble?”

As you know, I teach First Grade, which means I spend my days with 6-year olds.  Now, technically, they’re 5, 6, and 7, and in their presence I would never, ever generalize and call them all 6; nope, whenever I talk about their age in front of them, believe me I am very sure to use their exact age, down to the month and day!  (Remember when being 5½ was so very important?)

But since we’re all grown ups here, and since we long ago stopped caring about being 5½, let’s just keep it simple and call them all 6-year olds.  So…

Last week, after the last recess, the 6-year olds piled into the classroom and returned to their seats.  They settled themselves pretty quickly and quietly (it was a hot day and we were all drained by the heat).  We were about to begin our final lesson for the day when one of the 6-year olds raised his hand, pointed to the 6-year old in front of him, and said, “She kicked me in the nuts.” 

A little taken aback by the use of his frank language, but always one to capture a teachable moment when I can, I said, “Oh, I’m so sorry, but just so I understand correctly, what you are telling me is that someone kicked you in your private parts?”

His response, “Yeah, the private parts called my nuts.  She kicked me there.”

So lucky readers, here’s my question:  Who gets in trouble?  The boy for saying nuts…twice?!  Or the girl for kicking him in the, um, nuts?

And you think teaching is easy…you try making these types of split-second, life altering decisions and then tell me how easy it is!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

And The Eyes Have It...

So the other day I accidentally only wore one contact.  I know what you’re thinking, How does a person accidentally only wear one contact?  I mean, you only have two contacts in the first place, right?  So, that’s like, what, a 50% accuracy rate on doing something as simple as putting in contacts?  I mean, how pathetic, right?

Unfortunately, stuff like this happens to me all the time.  Like the time I went to put my keys in my running shorts only to discover I had my shorts on backwards.  Or the day, just this week, when I felt something was a little off all day long and it wasn’t until I got home and changed that I discovered my skirt was on sideways.  Oh, yes folks, wearing one contact on accident is right up my alley.

In my meager defense, let me just say that when I went to put in my contacts that morning I noticed my left contact was torn so I went to replace it.  I evidently became so distracted by the two extra steps it took to replace the contact that I completely forgot to put my other contact in.

So I go about my day and I’m noticing that, well I’ll be, I’m actually seeing better than I have in a long time.  I mean, I can, like, totally see distance and close up.  I can see things going on far away and I can read the words on my iPhone.  Normally, I can wear my contacts and see far away and wear reading glasses for close up, or I can go without the contacts and read close up but wear glasses for distance viewing…but never both at the same time…until now.  Oh my gosh, a miracle has occurred! 

As my day progresses and I suddenly, and miraculously, have great vision, I’m staring to wonder what’s really going on, and the thought that I maybe, kinda, sorta forgot to put in both contacts comes to mind.  So I did what any normal person shopping in the shoe department at Macy’s would do in a similar circumstance.  I close one eye and look at something in the distance…I close the other eye and look at look at something close up…eyes open, eyes close…look in the distance, look close up…when I hear, “Mom, what are you doing?”  (No wonder my daughter never wants to go anywhere with me!)

I explain to her my eye “situation” and my hypothesis that I think I am wearing only one contact and then I ask her, “Can you tell if I have a contact in each eye?”  She chuckles, rolls her eyes, and gets in my face.  So now, instead of one crazy person in the shoe department of Macy’s, there are two.  She is, literally, looking at my eyeballs, and I am, literally, standing there as wide-eyed and as still as I possibly can.  (No wonder we couldn’t get any service that day!)

“Well,” she says.  “I can see your contact in your left eye, but I can’t see anything in your right.”   So now I’m feeling like the guy who discovered the Post-it note.  I mean, I didn’t mean to wear only one contact, but now that I am I have, like, the best vision ever.  Bye, bye reading glasses!

When I get home, I excitedly tell my husband about my new discovery.

Me:  “Hey, honey, did you know that if you only wear one contact you can see, like, totally normal?”
Him (looking at me all righteous-like behind his reading glasses):  “Of course I knew that.  They say if you wear the contact for your weaker eye then you don’t have to wear anything in your stronger eye.”

Me:  “Nuh uh.  There’s no way you could have known that because I just discovered it!”

Him:  “Jane, um, everyone knows that!”
Me:  “Nuh uh.  I didn’t know about until today…when I discovered it…for the first time ever…today!”

Him:  Exasperated sigh…

Me:  “Well, I think you should try it.  But if you end up liking it I think you should pay me or something since I discovered it.”

Him:  “Whatever…”

So…if you wear contacts and you’ve never tried the one contact thing, accidentally or on purpose, you really should!  I'll even let you pay me later…