January 28, 2013
Writing about teaching instead of chapter "Rear Admiral George Cockburn"
This memory concerns one of my regular classes, or at least one member of that regular class. I seated students according to height, tallest students in the back, shortest in the front, and boy-girl, girl-boy, so as to knock off most social clubs. Right in front of my desk sat the smallest student I ever taught on that level. We used to call that level "junior high," as some of you will remember. Now it's "middle school."
I can't remember the bottom part of his face, for I had books lined up in a pile there, but he had the roundest, bluest eyes peering over my books, his head topped by blond crew-cut hair. He was attentive and quiet.
There was a clear glass panel in the middle of my classroom door, and one day there appeared in that panel the face of my principal. He beckoned me out into the hall. " We have been notified of a problem," he said. Turned out there was a female student, a chubby ninth grader, who had fainted in gym class. Our high school and our "junior high" were attached, both part of a larger structure. Turned out the poor child was pregnant, that she had been impregnated by a boy who at that very moment was sitting in my classroom. She had been getting help with her homework, and I guess she got more help than one would think she needed.
I looked toward the back of the room, peering in at the taller fellows, who were looking at the door --- did they look apprehensive? I asked myself. "No," said the principal. 'It's that little blond guy in the front."
"What?!" I was dismayed. "It can't be him! He's just a tiny tot. He's wearing toddler pants, for God's sake!"
"Honey," he replied, "It ain't the pants. It's what's in them. Send him down to my office last few minutes of the class."
Don't you love rural male logic ? One time, a farmer told me he was glad he had a boy --- because with a boy you "only have to worry about one pecker," and if you had a girl, you "have to worry about a million of 'em." Right on the money, have to admit. So, shortly before the end of the period, I sent that short, blond, blue-eyed baby to the principal's office.
That next class period was my planning period, and some kind of maternal madness set in. I decided I should stroll down to the principal's office myself. As I neared his office, I heard that boy wail a long, drawn-out cry of anguish that touched the heart. That was followed by some loud words that brought me to a screeching halt, my high heels almost digging a hole in the carpet. "But we used Sarrondwrap!" he cried out. (I've misspelled the brand name on purpose).
I made a fast retreat. For a while, I wondered if somebody ought to notify that company they should either make their product a lot less sticky or a whole lot more sticky, for the sake of society. And I also wondered if every parent should demand that homework helpers drop their drawers for inspection before they're allowed into the house to "help" anybody.
On to the next -----