As always, here are some of my favorite moments from inside the classroom last year …
Can’t wait for this kid’s reaction to the “Donate to the Children of Niger” plea
I’m not sure how true this one is, but a friend of mine who teaches at a neighboring school said that a Key Club representative came into his room and asked the kids if anyone wanted to donate money “for the children of Sierra Leone.” One of his students allegedly asked, with a straight face, “Who is she?”
Which reminds me … the world needs a universal pantomime for anal sex
I was sitting at my desk one day near the end of class when I heard one boy say to another, “Do you realize it’s virtually impossible to say ‘jerking off’ without doing that hand motion while you say it?”
Guess I’ll add the word “areola” to the vocab list next year
As an English teacher, I am always harping on the kids to make their writing original, to avoid clichés and triteness. Perhaps I’m getting through to one or two each year. I heard the following exchange between two very low-level students this spring. (Yeah, I know, this was a conversation instead of written work, but baby steps … baby steps … )
Boy 1: “Damn, yo! Her nipples were the size of, like, pepperoni!”
Boy 2: “Bullshit! They was like salamis!”
No rote learning in my class! It’s all synthesis, application and deductive reasoning
Girl 1: “Why do they call it a wife-beater?”
Girl 2: “Duh, think about it. If you gonna beat your wife, you ain’t gonna put on your good shirt and get blood all over it.”
My powers of people perception are starting to, you know, blow
A substitute teacher I know well popped into my “Kids Who Keep Failing the State Test” class one day. He saw me handing my car keys to Devonte so that the kid could get something for me out of my car. The sub came up to my desk and said, “So you got Devonte this year, huh?”
I reply, in a rare moment of workday enthusiasm, “Yeah, I love that kid. He’s hilarious. A lot smarter than people think. He’s one of those kids I know I can trust. My wallet is even sitting in the slot on my door but I ain’t worried. He’s cool, believe me.”
The sub, with a wisdom of the ages tone, said, “You do know he’s the kid who got caught sending everyone the cell phone video he took of [Fellow Teacher]’s daughter sucking his dick in the back of D-hallway last year, right?”
First thing I did after school was check the contents of my wallet.
Today’s high school anatomy books are apparently all about simplifying things
Boy 1: “He got him down and started punching him right in his face-hole!”
Boy 2: “His face-hole?”
Boy 1: [Obviously disgusted by his friend’s stupidity] “You know, his mouth, idiot.”
And the Holy Spirit is my boy
Found in my room in beautiful, multi-colored handwritten calligraphy on a full sheet of white paper after 8th period one day with a drawing of Jesus in the background: “Jesus is my nigga!”
”That constable is in no mood for tom-foolery!”
On the way home from a senior trip, which took place the Friday before Memorial Day, we drove past at least 15 instances of cops issuing tickets on I-95. I’ve never seen that many cop cars on an interstate in my life. Of course, the kids on the bus were stoked. Most of them didn’t seem to process that these were your standard-issue holiday weekend speed trap stops. To most of these kids, these were all instances of The Man pulling over D.C. drug lords and hardcore felons of all stripes. Because that’s what cops always do on the interstate on holiday weekends, right?
But what made their reactions priceless was their attempts to come up with a different slang word for “cops” at each new sighting of the flashing blue lights. See, the more words you know for “cop,” the more (phony) street cred you have. They started with “Damn! Po-po all up in Escalade dude’s shit!” Then it was, “Ohhhhh, Five-Oh goin’ hard on a brotha there!” Next we had, “Awwww, heat comin’ down on my boy!” But soon the slang well began to run dry.
At one point, they were forced to start making up terms. I swear they were throwing two random words together and daring anyone else to call them on their bullshit. “Oh shiiiiiiit, that ratchet ginner ain’t playin’, yo!” Of course, not one of the other kids would ever call the slang coiner on his bullshit for fear of being labeled tragically unhip. So they just kept their face-holes shut.
Ned Bitters teaches high school and dreams of one day seeing one of his former students on stage at a strip club. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.