It’s time to tell it like it is. If you’re a teacher, or you were once a student (this should include everyone. If not, um…) then you know that expelling gas is a huge part of the learning experience, almost more than actual learning. We all remember that embarrassing time we just couldn’t hold it in anymore and we farted in the middle of silent reading time. Or, the time we let go of a silent, but deadly bastard, and our red face gave us away. We all fart. We also have spent a huge chunk of our lives in a classroom, so it’s only natural that tooting happens at school. It happens a lot.
Today, immediately following a serious chat about why it’s important to pay attention, and why whistling during a lesson doesn’t lead to success, one of my students let out a fart that was likely heard in the next room. They were all on the carpet, sitting tall and proud like 3rd graders who are responsible for their own learning. They all (even the culprit) had expectant, eager-to-please, and innocent expressions painted on their little faces. The fart was a mistake. It was not intended to derail learning. And it was just what my stressed-out, exhausted, and wound-up psyche needed.
Basically, I lost it.
Teaching 101 says you never, never respond or react to a fart. Ever. Two very simple reasons why:
- They (your students) will take your laughter as license to act like wild hyenas, and your lesson is as good as over.
- The poor tooter will feel humiliated, and you try to avoid that as an educator and role model.
So, despite my knowledge of these possible outcomes, I lost all composure, and had a very serious, ugly-laughing fit. I was crying. I couldn’t regain my composure. It was awful. At first, I tried to hide my laughter behind my math teacher manual, but eventually someone said, “Um, teacher, are you OK?” I don’t usually sit with a book directly over my face, in front of my whole class, for an extended period of time. They likely thought I had gone crackers. When it could no longer be kept a secret that I was laughing like a fool, I kept saying, “OK, that’s enough. OK. That’s it.” Except I was the only one laughing.
You know those laughing fits you’ve had with a really good friend? The kind where you start making some ungodly repetitive noise and you almost gag yourself? Yeah.
I could not stop.
Eventually, my kids decided it was safe for them to laugh as well. Amidst the laughing and fake farts, someone accused Fred* of farting, and he proclaimed, quite seriously, “It wasn’t me! I take farts outside!” More laughing. Basically, math was over for the day. Thank God we were at the end of the lesson. Also, the teacher gods were watching over me today, for sure, because how awesome would it have looked had my principal walked in, mid-gagging laughing fit? I can’t even.
Some days I rock the shit out of teaching, and some days I’m the reason a single toot derails learning.
At least we had a nice chat about how everyone makes mistakes, farting is only natural, and we weren’t laughing at anyone, but with them.
In honor of my idiotic lack of self-composure and well, because farts, here is a list of truths about gas in the classroom:
- It doesn’t matter the kid, the age, the time of day, or whether it’s before or after lunch, ALL kid farts smell.the.same.
- We (teachers) have announced, at least once in our careers, after a barrage of fart smells, “I think someone maybe needs to go to the bathroom!”
- Students whose first language is Spanish say, “Took a fart”, because that’s the literal translation for ‘farting’.
- The phrase, “Took a fart” never gets old. Ever.
- Every teacher, in the history of teaching, has been guilty of intentional crop dusting, at least once. It’s only fair.
- Physical Education has a higher incidence of farting when compared to other classes, double the rate of incidences after lunch.
***Side note: My own boyfriend once earned an award for maintaining correct sit up form, even whilst farting. Fart pro.
And that’s all I have to say about farting (in a Forrest Gump voice).