17 January 2012

More than just teaching

As a teacher, I have to deal with a lot of unusual, uncomfortable things beyond the scope of just teaching the content.

Oh, you'd like to know a few?   There is the unintentional/uncomfortable comedy that happens at assemblies when big girls booty pop on a handstand (toward the end of the page is a description of the popping).  How about yucky kids who come to school deathly ill and dare me not to become sick.  Or the year that there was an epidemic of ringworm, staph, swine flu, shingles, mono all within a 3 month span.

Then there are some of the different discussions I have had to have with kids:

  • "No, she might not like you if she is going to the dance with someone else and won't return your texts."  
  • "No, you can't use me as an alibi for when you were in an area of the school without permission, and not where you were supposed to be, just because you stopped in to politely ask how I am doing.  You are still unexcused.  You should still get in trouble."  
  • "Yes, you are beautiful, even if boys your age do not tend to see it, yet.  Let me show you some beautiful African and African-descent women that you resemble so you can see how beautiful you really are."  
  • "No you should not be dating him if he is in jail and about to go to a half-way house even if he has written you long, loving letters while he was locked up."  
  • "Yes, it is probably time for you to leave him if he punched you in your face and you are more worried about how your dad will react than how you are going to deal with the issue and him doing it to you again."  
  • "No, I will not give you five or dap because you have some sort of thing going on with your hand that looks contagious.  Let's just do the head nod instead." 
  • "No, you should not let a teacher call you a waste of skin and a waste of life."  
  • "Yes, you should tell an administrator if a teacher is singling out the black kids by not helping them and only offering assistance and extra attention to the white students."

Today, I had to deal with one even worse than the kid I once had who seemed to drink at least five mini-milk cartons (not sure if it was the regular or one of the fancy vanilla, cookies and cream, or strawberry flavors) before first hour each morning.  This doesn't sound bad until you understand that the kid was severely lactose-intolerant.  Severely.

But this was worse because it seems to be getting worse each day and today it manifested itself into the worst nasal discomfort I've had to suffer through in quite some time - literally caused me to choke at one point.

There are kids who congregate out side my classroom during passing time to chill, talk, hack the sack, or sit and relax.  I never really knew if the uncomfortable smell was the students, or the sack, or the smell that came from students' dirty shoes being raised into the air to meet the hacky sack, or what.

Today I figured out that it may just be one of my students.

S/He came into class during the break as I was leaving and the BO was unbearable.  When the class period started and I went back into the room the smell had migrated throughout the whole room.  Of course there were some students who mentioned the smell, but not wanting the student to feel attacked, I told the kids maybe it was a something outside or maybe someone in the art or shop rooms below us was cooking up something.  I then lit some candles - one for my desk and one that I moved to a more central location.

This helped but it was still pretty bad.

I share this not because I am being a mean, horrible teacher and making fun of the kid.

I am seriously concerned and talk with the school nurses when I smell something this rank.  The smell reminds me of first grade when I had a hermit crab that I was supposed to take care of for the class and it died and smelled really, really bad.  If it's not a deodorant issue, there may be more issues with the student's home life that needs to be addressed by the guidance workers in conjunction with the nurses.

As a mandatory reporter, this is, to me, a first step to prevent any problems.


  1. Yes, yes, yes! Thank you! (From someone who doesn't know you in person, but SO respects this post.)

  2. @ Jenn - Thanks. It is all so true, and such a part of regular life for a teacher, really.

  3. Wow ~ You definitely have your hands full! When my daughter was in school, I made myself as available as possible to the teachers even with my hectic work schedule. I could only imagine how difficult it was to manage 10-15 little households a day. Tipping my hat to all you do!

  4. @ Sabrina - Thanks. It can be very hectic, didn't know it would be like that when I started, but I've gotten used to wearing different hats and working to help the students so they can become better adults.


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