Thursday, February 7, 2013

This Is Why We Can't Be Nice Things

Teachers get a bad rap. They care about the kids. Really. Because a decent steady paycheck and health insurance and a retirement plan is not enough to keep kid-haters showing up every day to fight the good fight. Those kind of folks tend to break. Not bend.

There's a fine line between cracking the whip and cracking kids up. A balancing act. First, respect. Then, humanity. Many a time we would like to help students out. Give them a break. Assist with an issue. But you can't cross that line. Actions can, at best, be misconstrued. And at worst, be misrepresented in a calculated act of revenge. Sometimes, there's simply a big-talker looking for attention.

Tuesday afternoon was practice for the academic team. Both the #1 son and The Pony attended. The kids sometimes grab snacks to tide them over. My boys raid the file cabinet drawer in my room that we have stocked for just that purpose. Others sneak into the Teacher Workroom to clandestinely purchase goodies from the vending machine, and sugared soda. These days, they don't even sneak. It's like a revolving door. More students than teachers. We have given up trying to keep them out. The soldiers must have a general, and this campaign is apparently not the front line anymore. To their credit, the academic teamies at least have the decency to act like they are guilty.

I was on my way to the office after school when a varsity scholar passed me. Stopped me. "I have two questions for you." The first was about calculating center of mass given three vectors. The second was, "Do you happen to have fifteen cents?" Mrs. Hillbilly Mom does not make it a habit to walk the halls jangling with change. It's harder to catch phonies that way. The texters. Illicit communicators.

PennySeeker is many things, including a frenemy to the #1 son. But a thief he is not. I had no qualms about letting him seek my fortune. Besides, my laptop was locked like the Tech Dude commands. Thanks, in no small part, to his secret sorties to catch us in the act of throwing confidential information to the blue rays. I was not worried that some calamity would befall my belongings at the hands of PennySeeker.

"No. But if you go to my desk, to the top flat drawer where I keep my pens, there might be change in the desk tray next to the paperclips. Don't get into anything else."

"Okay. Thanks. I don't want to go back and tell Mr. Principal that I can't get his soda."

I continued to the office. He was not fooling me. Mr. Principal would never send a kid short of money to get him a soda. He even buys an occasional soda for various kids at lunch. It made no nevermind to me that PennySeeker was trying to cover his tracks, should I catch him in (sweet) flagrante delicto with the Teacher Workroom soda machine. That horse has done left the barn, sown his wild oats, and been rendered to make a glue stick already.

Yesterday, a younger member of the academic team announced, in front of his whole class, "So, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom...I hear you have a change drawer."

"Oh, yes. I am rolling in coins. This entire drawer is simply dripping with them. I'm a metal millionaire. But it's mine. All mine."

Seriously. Can a woman not have one thing to call her own? No good deed goes unpunished.


Sioux said...

Once they know you have a change drawer, it's a slippery slope.

They'll figure out that putting their name at the left-hand border bugs the pee out of you...They'll ferret out the ONLY Seinfeld epiosode you have not memorized completely, and they'll taunt you unmercilessly with it...They'll wave store-bought bags of chex mix in front of you as they proclaim, "The homemade stuff tastes like cardboard."

Look out. You don't want to slip down that hill they're hosing down...

Hillbilly Mom said...

It would be a rapid descent, like a wheelchaired former flame barreling downslope without benefit of brakes.