>Stranger than Fiction, my job is

>Honestly. If I wrote a teaching memoir, people would doubt its truthfulness. Not even Oprah would believe it.
Let’s see — there’s the kid who was on in-school suspension who stood on the office’s bathroom toilet and got his hand stuck in the old-fashioned Kotex machine.
Then there’s the child now in middle school who is still featured in a photo on the kindergarten teacher’s desk: stuck in a dumpster in the nearby park, feet hanging out and kicking wildly. She had a hard time getting him out because she couldn’t stop laughing.
That story leads to the first grader (now in college!) who somehow got himself twisted between the bars of the stair rail. How, we still don’t know. The building engineer had to physically take apart the bars to get the kid out. The teacher, now retired, has a candle holder made from a piece of it to remind her of how entertaining her job used to be.
Ah, but those are just the legends. Then we come to today.
Today was popcorn day. Once a month, our Service Club sells popcorn to raise money. Kids nibble on it all day or at snack time, depending on when the teacher decides it’s okay to have it in class. Eleven students in my class prepaid and get popcorn every time we have it. Others can buy it at lunch.
First, the student volunteers bagging popcorn today were rather messy. I caught one trying to pick up what he’d spilled on the floor. “No, you can’t put that back in a bag after it’s been on the floor. Here, take the broom. You can sweep it up. The trash can is right here.” We got him on the right track and all the popcorn got bagged and sent up to classes in time for the bell.
Next, my class was not willing to settle in for the day. Surprise! That’s not unusual on the last day before a break, but this time it meant I had to keep them from stepping on the popcorn bags for our class. Yes, step on. The delivery crew had dumped out the basket on the rug instead of on a table. It’s okay, the bags were stapled shut, but my heavily ADHD class has a hard time walking in a straight line on a good day, much less a pre-break day. Luckily, no popcorn was harmed during attendance, announcements, pledge, and lunch count.
Wait — there’s more!
Later in the morning, I brought the class to the rug so I could read aloud to them. Have I mentioned how sloppy this group can be? Well, the rug had tiny popcorn remnants, too small to be called kernels, all over it. As I sat in my Teacher Chair and read, two students right at my feet played catch with a tiny kernel remnant. I put my foot between them (yes, they were that close). Instead of stopping, they moved to the side. “Ahem, throw that in the wastebasket. Stop distracting the class. Now!”
The student sitting next to the wastebasket then began reaching inside it where another child, no longer hungry, had thrown away half her bag. He was eating out of the wastebasket. A fourth grader. A ten-year-old. In his defense, this young man is very ADHD and his family refuses to consider treatment. His impulsivity is truly not under his control. But still…the other kids were, well, a bit disgusted by his behavior.
And that was just the morning.
Fortunately, mean teacher that I am, I planned a math test that took up half the afternoon. The popcorn was gone, the wastebasket had been emptied (thanks to my friendship with the cleaning staff, I know where they keep the extra trash bags), and the kids had to focus on double digit multiplication for a sizable length of time.
Now I’m home, sipping cappuccino, nibbling on Girl Scout cookies (lemon! Mm) and looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow.
I’m not sure I can look at Popcorn Day the same way ever again. Thank goodness there are only two (April and May) left.

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3 thoughts on “>Stranger than Fiction, my job is

  1. >Hi! Been lurking here for awhile, decided to leave you a comment.

    I’m a middle school BD teacher and can totally relate to this post. I honestly think that, if we had it, Popcorn Day would be the exact same way in my classroom. ADHD is as ADHD does, regardless of age.

    Enjoy your spring break! We’re in the home stretch now.

  2. >Ya know, while I love popcorn day, I sometimes wonder if someone somewhere is lacing it with something. Or could it be that popcorn days always coincide with a full moon?

  3. >Holy smokes! It’s those kinds of things and days that make me wonder how teachers get through it. You definitely need a beak!

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