Tuesday, March 25, 2008

I am DDR

So, remember the little girl who asked if I was a woman?  The same little girl that thinks I'm ugly when I spike my hair?  The same girl I made cry because she wouldn't stay on task?  Tuesday she says to me - in Spanish, of course - "Why were you born so handsome?"  I was caught completely off-guard.  Especially since she started off by saying, "Mr. B, can I ask you a question?"  That statement rarely bodes well.  Two days later she lamented my not-so-attractive state and told me I comb my hair like a chicken.

I love how blunt children are.  Today I wore a shirt of mine that is a bit eccentric.  Crazy, I know, but it's true.  It's basically a white button-up shirt with some embroidery, but it has some sort of "fashionable" dye-job which basically just consists of spots of yellow dye that make the shirt almost look stained.  One first grader astutely observed, "It looks like someone peed on your shirt."

I love the smell of grass.

Things that make me laugh when I hear them come out of my own mouth - "Don't eat paper."

I told some 2nd grade girls the other day that they were cute.  They still giggle every time they see me.  I think it's only because I'm comparatively good-looking.  The other men who work at the school are either old, scary, or wear things like floods and hats from the mid-80's.

I think one of my first grade boys has a little crush on me. It's kind of adorable.

In the first grade they were working on a worksheet containing a picture of a skeleton. The following conversations ensued:

B - What's a pelvis?
Z - That's his privates
B - No, that's a penis

Z - When you drink in goes in here and down, then it sits there for about 10 minutes, then you pee. When you eat it goes to the back and sits there...for about ten minutes again, then you poop.

After explaining something involving either groups of animals, or the finer workings of the Black Widow social structure (I wasn't quite sure which, as I was across the room) one of my young cherubs innocently declared, "Sometimes I'm smart."

Every month my school has a party for "Everyday Heroes." This is basically a behavior incentive - but a really cool one. They throw a big shin-dig in the gym and if your behavior was up to snuff, you get to participate. This month it was a luau. They had music playing on one half of the gym with some polynesian dancers showing their stuff. This somehow turned into songs like the Electric Slide, the Casper Slide, and the Macarena - and somehow I ended up in the middle of it showing the kids how to do the dances - much to their joy and entertainment. Now you might be thinking, "The Macarena? Isn't there a part of that dance where your hands are on your butt?" And you'd be correct. Some conservative types might decry this action and try to think of something more appropriate. I'm not one of those people. Rather than trying to hide it, I say go full-tilt. Own the butt-grab, which I did. Complete with a grunt for every thrust of the hips. The kids loved it. One of the teachers went up to the principal (I found out later) and said, rather emphatically, "Hire him." I believe I've found my calling in life. :)

Friday, March 21, 2008

Elementary wisdom

Every once in a great while I come across a nugget of truth in my humorous encounters with the educational world.  Here's my most recent one:

I was walking down the hallway and caught up with my boss and a co-worker who were in the middle of a conversation.  What I caught was my boss saying, "I said to him, 'you don't poop on your friends.  I'm your friend and you pooped on me.  You don't poop on your friends.'  That's a fundamental truth."

I'm fairly certain she was speaking of a kindergartener who had literally pooped on her, but as my co-worker nodded her agreement it got me thinking about that concept in a figurative sense.  I think it is a fundamental truth - you don't poop on your friends...if you want to keep them.

I suppose, at the same time, that can be a true measure of friendship - those moments when your brain shuts off and you inadvertently poop on your friends.  If they're still you're friend in the end, I think you can be sure you've got something there.

I'd just like to end by saying that I'm sorry if I've ever pooped on you - literally or figuratively.  And thanks for stickin' with me.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Spring Fever

One of my non-English speaking students has a really really hard time reading. She can sound out the letters, but then, for some reason, cannot put the sounds back together to form a word. i.e. she'll say s-a-t, tas. While working on high-frequency words and she was struggling with the word "after." In her frustration with reading after she'd said "a-f-ter", she put the word back together as "fart." I couldn't help laughing on the inside. And today I made the mistake of giving her the word "mad."

Then sun shone through the window of the neatly organized classroom. Students were happily working on their assignments and busily chattering about whatever happened to be on their minds. While enjoying a moment of respite from the frenzy of educational activity I turned my attention to the parking lot where the principal was walking to her car. Then she picked a wedgie.

Ms. J's Dad: (insert story about ancestor crossing the plains with the pioneers)
3rd grader: Oh, so he's like Mr. B.
Ms. J's Dad: Does Mr. B walk around a lot without shoes?
3rd grader: No.
Ms. J: Then how is he like Mr. B?
3rd grader: I dunno, he just is.

Topping the list of my favorite things kids do is how they tell stories. Today's example, which is fairly typical:

Kindergartener: Um...um...um...and then...um...he um...um...and then he...um...he said...um...um

A kid who apparently doesn't know me (which is preposterous!) wanted some help on the monkey bars. He heard the other kids yelling my name but I guess he didn't quite catch on be cause I heard him say, sort of reservedly, "Um...hey,...bumblebee." I like it.

Also, I evidently smell like jalapenos.

Here's some St. Patrick's Day fun:

Friday, March 14, 2008

The triumphant return...

3rd grader - What are we doing for our St. Patrick's Day Party?
Ms. J - Well, we're not gonna have one. We don't really celebrate St. Patrick's Day that much.
3rd grader - Yes we do, we're Mexican!
Other 3rd grader - Yeah, we celebrate everything.

I've seen enough little kid crack in the past two days to last me a lifetime. It was quite the welcome home surprise. Unfortunately the weather's getting warmer, which means less clothing, which means the possibility of more crack. And thus is the life of a west-side educator.

My principal asked me what my plans were for next year. So, we talked about it a bit, and she said she'd keep me in mind for a job. Not that I'm really worried about getting a job anywhere as a teacher, but I'd love to stay at this school. So, it's looking up.

And apparently they do speak German in Switzerland...who knew?

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Mi piace.

I'm in Europe this week visiting a friend who lives out here.  I love to travel and always appreciate the random things that happen to me when I do.  For example:

We went to Venice (gorgeous city BTW) and in the main plaza there are about a bazillion pigeons roaming around looking for stupid tourists who will buy food and feed to them as a photo op (which we did).  My friend Jay, and I noticed an albino pigeon amongst the others and then I realized that it had a seed/nut stuck in it's beak.  I guess the morsel was a bit bigger than the little guy had anticipated.  We weren't quite sure what to do, so we just stood there and watched as the bird shook it's head and wandered around aimlessly and rather helplessly looking for a solution.  Some other birds came and tried to peck the nut out for themselves, but our little guy would have none of it.  Eventually his gyrations worked and he was able to free his meal and continue on with life.  But it was funny.

Today in church they handed out roses to the sisters for some Relief Society anniversary or something.  Jay and I were talking to one of the sisters who speaks Spanish.  Another sister from the ward came over and offered a bookmark to the sister we were talking to.  She just said, in Italian, "No thanks, they gave me a dead rose."  She held up her rose and the flower was already wilting and bent over.  We just couldn't stop laughing.

It's been really interesting to see how much Italian I actually understand.  I can understand probably about 60% of what I see written a little less than half of what is spoken.  It's kind of cool.  I could also understand some German and Swiss. (We flew into Munich and traveled through Switzerland before arriving in Italy)  Did you know that the Swiss use the same word for pineapple as the Spanish?  Now you know.