I have a confession. My name is Mrs. Hillbilly Mom...and I'm a skimmer.
Don't go jumping to conclusions. It's not good for your joints. You'll have to get some of that Dr. Frank's dog arthritis medicine that you drip into your water to give you the joints of a pup again.
No, I'm not skimming money and stashing it in a sock in the Mansion backyard so I can still afford 44 oz. Diet Cokes on rainy days. I don't hang out at swimming pools to drag that long-handled net across the surface to snag a bucketful of bugs for classroom experimentation. I am not skimming fat from the top of beef or chicken broth.
I'm a skimmer. Have to be. I grade upwards of 100 student papers per day. I know the key words to look for in each answer. I don't farm out my work to pets, or deal it out like bingo cards for students to check each other's work. I grade. Every. Single. Paper. Every day. I have a good system. I'm thorough. We run through the answers the next day as a review, and in case I've made a counting error. But as far as poring over each and every word of an answer...that's not gonna happen. I'm a skimmer.
I have a good rapport with most students. Some agree to disagree, but it's a respectful truce. So imagine my surprise when I read an answer today to the question: "Name three things you would like to learn about biology." Stashed among the how sunscreen works, how life begins, how pollution affects species, how frogs can have extra legs, effects of hormones in food, and how garbage affects species in the ocean...I found THIS.
"I'd like to find out how to kill you."
Yikes! That was harsh! I looked to see whose paper that was. And to my surprise, it came from the salmonella crier. The gal who cried salmonella. I don't know why. But she came in stating it over and over. Salmonella. That she had just come from the cafeteria might have been a clue. However, I was not serving up hot dishes of salmonella today. So I figured it had nothing to do with me. I might have even made a little joke about it. And we laughed. Oh, how that worm had turned.
Seriously. This was something that must be reported. I've not been so taken aback since my first year here, when a student answered a question with, "Suck it!" Oh, dear. I took that one straight to the principal on my plan time. And do you know what he said? Of course you don't, unless you were some creepy Mrs. Hillbilly Mom stalker all up in her business, making a mockery of the facets of confidentiality. He said to me, "Mrs. Hillbilly Mom, are you a wrestling fan?" Huh. Not since I was a kid, when I watched Wrestling at the Chase on Sunday mornings, right after Roller Derby. "Well, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom, there's a wrestler who chants this phrase. Even holds the microphone out to the crowd to chant it back at him. I'm betting our boy is a wrestling fan, and didn't know the answer, and is just seeing if you follow wrestling. But I'm still going to put in a call to his parents."
This was different. It was no mere sports fan. Somebody wanted to find out how to kill me! Maybe or maybe not with salmonella! I made a note to beware of gift reptiles like tiny turtles. And homemade raw-chicken snacks.
After the initial shock was offset by my sudden rush of adrenaline, I peeped at that answer again.
"I'd like to find out how diseases kill people."
Oh. That's very different. Perhaps I should dial my perusing speed back a notch. And stop seeing conspiracies on every page.
There's a little Emily Litella in all of us.