yo ho a teacher's life for me


TGIF – those four letters have never meant more to me than they do now. Not in high school, not in college. Never. That being said, since it is Friday, and I now get the whole weekend to lie leisurely around in my pyjamas doing nothing at all, I’ve decided to take a gander at the brighter side of life right now.

Teaching second graders is unquestionably funny from time to time. Here are just a couple of anecdotes about things that have happened in just the last five weeks. I hope you find them as funny as I do.

Anecdote the First: My 2nd graders like to go to the bathrooms in groups of two because the lighting is bad and they find it scary to go alone. For a while this was working for us and I allowed it. However, as time went on the kids started to spend more time down in the bathroom messing around, and I had to change our rules. So I told the kids one day that they could only go to the bathrooms alone, and that they shouldn’t ask me to go in pairs anymore. Of course, they still came up to me in pairs to ask to go to the bathroom, and I told them “sure you can go, just one at a time, and since you asked me together you now have to decide amongst yourselves who will go first.” I don’t want to be the one to make this decision, since looking like the Bad Guy is basically my job description, and I don’t need any more of it. So, since they insisted on asking me together, they have to decide together who gets to go. They don’t like this because the don’t want to be the one to give in and let the other go, but they also don’t want to be a ‘traitor’ and insist on going first. Eventually they figure something out and they end up taking turns properly.

The other day two of my boys, Dylan and Kieran, did this exact thing. Kieran ran off to go first, and Dylan was quite upset. He started to complain that he wasn’t going to be able to hold his pee and that he was going to pee himself. Frustrated, and also knowing full well that he could wait two minutes, I retorted, “fine, pee on the floor!” Most people I interact with understand my sarcasm, but I’d forgotten that 6 and 7 year olds don’t typically fall into that category. He stood there, staring at me in disbelief for a second before asking sincerely, “…I can do that?”

“NO!” I boomed quite loudly, in utter disbelief. I couldn’t believe that of all the things I say and are ignored, this was something that he chose to take quite literally! God little kids are hilarious! The look on his face when I said no was still one of confusion and astonishment, and I don’t think he’s quite recovered to this day.

Anecdote the Second: Some of my kids think I’m super cool, for some of the funniest reasons. Reason #1: I own a car, and know how to drive it. Reason #2: When I cut my finger last week I wore a Hulk bandaid one day, and a Spider Man one the next day. The whispers of “Guuuuuys, she’s wearing the Hulkkkkk!” still amuse me to no end when I think about it. Reason #3: I have played a video game in my life ever. Reason #4: I have Minecraft at my laptop. Reason #5: I know what the Ocarina of Time is. There are more reasons in this general vein, but you get the gist.

Anecdote the Third: The girls like to ask me really absurd questions. I mean, the boys do too, but the girls’ questions are funnier. One of the boys likes to ask me approximately once per week if I’m married. Even though the answer (“no”) never changes, the question seems important enough to come up again 7 days later. (Maybe it’s because my younger sister is also a teacher, and married, and they can’t fathom why the older sister wouldn’t be married first? I don’t know.) The follow up question of course is if I have a boyfriend (another “no”), and then, somewhat out of order if you ask me, “do you have any kids?” No matter how many “no’s” I give, I have a feeling these questions will continue until the answers become “yes”. Oh well.

The girls ask different sorts of questions. “Miss Ratajczak, why do you only ever wear the same two pairs of shoes?” seems to be the most pressing of concerns. “Because I only have two pairs” stumps them every time. They stare for a moment and then tilt their heads to the side with a little frown and ask in the most melodramatic of tones, “…but why?!” as if it was truly the end of the world.  They simply can’t fathom only owning two pairs of shoes. Silly girls.

Anecdote the Fourth: There are these two boys on the playground that aren’t in my class, but which I see every day. They’re a little odd, and like to go around holding hands and doing everything with just themselves. They’re inseparable, and quite an interesting pair. One is taller and quite stout and round with dark hair. The other is more than a head shorter, skinny, slow, and blonde, with dirty bent little glasses. Every day I see them walking around, holding hands. Well, the other day they threw all of the hula hoops over the fence into the neighbors’ yard, and I had to tell them off for it. As I was doing so, the big one stood right in front of me, less than two feet away, with the little scrawny kid standing behind him peeking around wide eyed. As I spoke to them and told them that their behavior was unacceptable, I notice that the big kid in front is staring very pointedly at my boobs! “Oy, look me in the face when I’m talking to you!” gets him looking back where he should, but as I continue to speak, his eyes slowly and almost uncontrollably slide back down to my books. “My face, kid,” I say, which again only lasts a moment. Eventually I just got so disconcerted that I left them to their own devices and got far away. …pretty sure that kid was a fourth grader. Seriously! What is the world coming to?!

Anecdote the Fifth, and Final: Soooo, two of the boys in my class kissed each other on the lips yesterday. Yeah, my second graders. There’s nothing sexual about it in the slightest. Hell, they still think everyone’s got cooties (which is of course true) and the greatest insult is for someone to call one of their friends their ‘boyfriend’ or ‘girlfriend’. (So damn funny if you ask me.) Anyway, out of the blue during read aloud time, Dylan speaks up,

“Miss Rataaaaajczak, Kieran and Jayden just kissed each other…” he says.
“…..WHAT?” says I.
“Yeah, on the lips!” says Dylan.
“WHAAAAT?” says I again.
The boys went on to explain that they’d just gotten too close to each other joking around, and that it had been an accident. “Don’t worry, it’s happened before,” they assured me… (I use the term ‘assured’ very, very loosely.) Needless to say, I started to worry. I don’t know how to deal with a bunch of little second grade boys that think its funny to play chicken and end up kissing each other on the lips in the middle of class.

Thus concludes my demonstration of the vast humours of teaching the second grade. The frustration never ends, but neither do the funnies.

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