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Yesterday, I got a new student. He’s a spunky, sweet kid from the south. I am sure he will be a wonderful addition to our classroom. As for his opinion of me? I am going to have to be extra awesome-teacher for the next few days, let’s just put it that way.
When you get a new student, it behooves any good teacher to make a great first impression. I made sure we got all of our dedicated brain breaks throughout the day-“Hey, this is a really fun classroom-we get to do a YMCA kids Just Dance video between math and reading?!”. I made sure to emphasize the positive reward system and incentives-“If I make good decisions, I get to eat lunch with the teacher? Baller status!” I made sure my students really showed what they have been learning about ancient Rome-“Wow! They know so much about an ancient civilization. I want to be like these kids!”
After that, it all went downhill. Clark Griswold-sledding-like-a-fool-downhill-like.
Every day, I do a read-aloud about our social studies topic. In the middle of reading about Julius Caesar’s ultimate demise, someone farted.
I know, I know. What the hell is it with farts? I know.
I have always been excellent at ignoring fluffs. If you don’t, you lose instruction time, there is the potential for embarrassing the culprit, and it is just not good role model behavior. This year, however, farts have become exponentially funnier. I don’t know why.
But, I am a freaking human, alright?
I could feel it building inside. I tried to ignore it. I tried to focus on Brutus killing Caesar, “Et tu, Brute” and all that.
There wasn’t a single laugh or even any acknowledgement that it had happened.
But…it went “Bloop”.
I couldn’t hold it in. I started laughing. I didn’t dare look at anyone. Maybe it would stop. I kept my face behind the book.
Reading…long pause…expectant re-positioning. Silent laughing. More reading. Longer pause. Not-so-silent laughing.
Fuck. I cannot believe this is happening to me. AGAIN.
Because, it went “bloop”.
At this point, I am too far gone. You know when you are not supposed to laugh? During funerals? When someone is telling you something sad? When you are getting bad news of some sort? But, someone told you a joke before the bad news and you are still laughing, or the person talking to you has a crusty booger and you just can’t even?
It was like that. I knew I shouldn’t laugh and so, that is precisely when I can’t control laughing.
My best friend in high school will relate, because we were the most hated students in Ms. Gibb’s class. We had laughing fits, on a daily basis, over stupid shit, like Ms. Gibb’s flock of seagulls hair. Once we started, we could.not.stop.
It was like that as my poor students sat, wide-eyed, watching their demented teacher lose her shit.
A few brave souls attempted apprehensive, “hehe’s”.
One student said, monotone, teacherly, “Are you OK, Ms. P?”
No. I was not OK.
Eventually, I did collect myself and we carried on, but not until we discussed why I was laughing. I was not laughing at the person who farted. We went over that it is a natural bodily function that is funny. Right?
The same student who asked if I was done losing my shit said, “Ms. P, that wasn’t even a fart, that was my shoe…”
What an excellent first impression for my new student. Teacher of the year right here.
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