Pee Patrol

Today for our class warmup I put Scattergories List 9 up on the screen and gave the kids 3 minutes to come up with one item for everything on that list that started with the letter rolled.

In one class, the letter was H. Of course for restaurants I had several kids write down “Hooters. In regards to body of water I over heard one student say, “The only bodies of water I know are the Great Lakes, and none of those start with H.” I flat-out told them they would not receive any points for writing “hooker” or “ho” for a Halloween costume. There was a collective groan across the room.

I was shocked when one of my sweetest students shared out his answer for a Halloween costume:

Student: “Hitler.”

Me: “Ummm. I suppose someone could dress up as him but I wouldn’t recommend it. In fact, I’ll just tell all of you right now, that if you any of you show up on my doorstep on Halloween dressed as Hitler, you will not be getting any candy.”

In another class, I rolled the letter P. I had several responses for household chores; most of them were variations of “putting” or “picking up.”

Student one: “Putting the dishes away.”

Student two: “Picking up the living room.”

Student three: “Putting laundry away.”

Student four: “Picking up the yard.”

A could see a pattern forming and then all of a sudden I get:

Student five: “For mine I get two points because both words start with P. Pee patrol.”

Me: “What’s that? Is that like walking the dog or cleaning the bathroom?”

Student five: “I don’t know. It could be either guess.”

Me: “I don’t know about that one.”

Student six says in all seriousness: “I can see that.  One time we had to totally clean out the fridge. We even had to throw a lot of food away because my dad came home drunk and peed in the refrigerator.”

Me: “Those are the kinds of things you probably shouldn’t share in public.”

Student seven: “Or be so goddamned embarrassed you have the common sense not to.”

Yep… I suck!

Today I had a serious case of Open Mouth Insert Foot.

At this point in time I have one student on crutches, another student undergoing foot sugary, and just yesterday, one of our 6th graders was hit by a car. Our poor kids are falling a part. This is also the time of year when we “exchange” students. At the beginning of every term, we have several students who up and leave, and several students who show up at our door from who knows where. Sometimes we are notified when new students will be showing up to our classrooms, but more often than not, they just show up in our doorway. I have acquired of each this week.

This morning, about 5 minutes into block 1, my door starts to open, and I see a staff member who usually shows up if a student is going to be out for a long period of time and needs work, or if a student has suddenly had a change in circumstances and needs some sort of accommodation.  The door starts to open, I see the staff member and I see the bottom of a crutch and all I can think is, “Who’s hurt now?” As the door opens, I say, “Oh, honey, you are all broken.” This is my staple remark to students who have induced some sort of injury since I last saw them, and is then followed by their story of what happened.

Today, as I’m saying, “Oh, honey, you are all broken,” the student steps from behind the staff member and I suddenly realize, this is one of my students who has sustained an injury. This is a new student. A new student who happens to need two support crutches to walk.

Shit.

At this point several things run through my mind: oh crap, my students don’t really seem to be reacting so I’m pretty sure they didn’t hear me, oh crap, new student is all smiles so there is a good chance she didn’t hear me, oh crap…

As I approach the new student to introduce myself, I overhear one of my students saying, “I can’t believe Miss Lewis said that. That was so mean.” I quickly shoot him daggers before he can quote me to the rest of the class who clearly have no idea what he’s talking about.

I make my very awkward introduction, while trying to read my new student and the woman who brought her in. Again, I over hear the same student make a comment about how awful what I said was, but at this point, for everyone’s sake, I’ve made the decision to assume she did not hear me.

Luckily, the students were taking a unit pretest today, so I had a minute to email the staff member. This was my message:

Serious faux pas today. Please tell me you did not hear the comment I made when you brought M——– in today.

 I just got a new student yesterday, who looks a lot like M———-, and that’s who I thought you were delivering this morning.  I also have two students on crutches, and when you opened the door, I saw the crutch and thought another student had been injured. I made the comment, “You are all broken” thinking she had broken her leg.  I am so embarrassed and I hope to God she did not hear me.  If you heard it, I’m guessing she did too. Good lord, I am a horrible person. :(

Luckily, the two of them were talking to each other when they opened the door and didn’t hear a word I said. Sadly, I’m pretty sure the student who did hear me, thinks I am a horrible human being.

>Now that’s what I call embarrassing

>“BINGO!” A student calls from the back of the room as he holds up his vocabulary bingo card. I let him choose his prize: a high five from someone in the room, a joke from someone in the room, or see a dance move from someone in the room. Naturally he chooses to see a dance move… from me.

Before I can even finish my move, which can only be described as AMAZING, another student says, “Miss Lewis, please stop. You’re embarrassing yourself.” To which I respond, “Don’t be a hater. It’s okay to be jealous of my mad skills; most people are. Besides, it would take a whole lot more than this to embarrass me.”

That afternoon, I gave a little more thought to what she had said, and to be honest, I don’t really remember a time that I was truly embarrassed by something that was school related. Oh wait… there was that one time…

Setting: Polk County Convention Center, Downtown Des Moines.
Occasion: Professional Development for the entire Des Moines Public Schools District.

Upon arrival, teachers had to check in with their building administrators. My father, who was a high school principal in the same district, was sitting at his table checking in his staff. I stopped by with a few of my coworkers to chat with him for a bit. We then left to get coffee, but headed back his direction on our way to our first session. This time we walked behind the row of tables. As we discussed which session we were going to attend, I thought, “Oh, I should probably say goodbye to my dad.”

The next thing I know, I reach out my hand, rub his shiny bald head and say, “Have a great day…” As my hand makes contact, I instantly realize- wrong bald head. Yep. I had just rubbed a complete stranger’s bald head. My dad was two chairs over.

Trust me. I’ll take dancing in front on my students over that experience any day.