Funny Stories from My Classroom
It’s Labor Day which means school has begun for just about everyone. I’ve taught almost all age levels, preschool through high school seniors…and now college student interns, learning to teach. I have the true and funny stories to prove it.
It was close to Thanksgiving. I had been sharing a book of turkey riddles with my preschool class. The following day we visited a supermarket for a tour and to talk about foods our families might serve for Thanksgiving. In each department there was a spokesperson who talked to the young children briefly about their area of the store. The lady in the produce section let the preschoolers spray water on the fruits and vegetables. Big hit with the kids! In the bakery department they had the chance to sample a cookie. Yum. But the head of the meat department clearly had no experience with preschoolers. His talk included technical terms about meat inspections, USDA requirements, meat temperatures, and how meats were classified. The class grew very restless, but the speaker seemed unaware. At last it appeared that he was going to release us to the next department. We were all anxious to move on. But before we left his area he asked one last thing. ”
Do any of you boys and girls have a question about meat?
Chris raised his hand. I was stunned. What could this four-year-old possible want to ask about meat that our tour guide hadn’t already over-explained?
All the teachers turned to listen. Chris’ question was thankfully simple.
Why did the turkey cross the road?
The teachers broke into laughter. The guy from the meat department was finally speechless.
I was teaching an important lesson about diversity to my high school seniors who were future early childhood educators. We were discussing the importance of choosing preschool toys and materials that are sensitive to the diverse backgrounds of the children we serve. I warned them to reject items that weren’t gender sensitive in today’s world, such as books and puzzles that always depicted a doctor as male and a nurse as female.
I cautioned my students to make certain all ethnic backgrounds were included in the main characters of stories and materials. “Also look carefully to be certain that toys and materials include children with special needs,” I said.
Their comments showed they were enthusiastic about this topic. I ended the class with an assignment. The students were given a ‘make-believe budget” of $500.00 and told to search through catalogs and find items sensitive to a diverse population. Only politically correct toys would do.
Way in the back of the room, Jennifer started right away. But she was turning pages just as quickly as she could. I silently wondered how she could even evaluate the toys at that rate; so I said,
Jennifer, you look like a woman on a mission. Can you see the items flipping the pages that quickly?
Don’t anybody bother me, I’m looking for fat Barbies.
It was right at the end of a long school day in my third grade classroom. I was putting my students through our closing chores as they prepared to go home. I gave my directions without giving it much thought.
Be sure to put your chairs up on top of your desks and pick up any debris.
Eight-year-old Bobby seemed puzzled when he asked,
My reply was also pretty impromptu.
Debris is left over stuff.
You could see understanding appear in Bobby’s eyes as he said,
Oh yeah, my mom fixes debris for supper sometimes.
I was preparing a group of teens to travel out-of-town for an educational conference. I spoke to them seriously about our stay in a hotel.
No one is ever to be in the hotel hallway alone.
Even if you’re just going for a bucket of ice, take a partner.
Never talk to strangers or enter the room of someone you’ve just met, no matter how nice they seem.
The atmosphere of my classroom was very sober…just the way I wanted it to be. It is a big responsibility taking teens out-of-town for several days to stay in a hotel. I never took this part of the job lightly.
At precisely that moment there was a knock on my classroom door. A man from the technology department whom I had never met before, was looking for the room that housed the media brain of our building. That particular door is somewhat hidden. You must pass through another room that has no posted room number in order to find it. I tried to describe the process to him, but he was still confused. I stepped outside my classroom door, walked a few feet down the hall, opened the unmarked door and escorted him inside, to point to the door he was trying to find. I was back to my classroom in seconds.
My classroom was completely quiet, still sober from our previous conversation. Then one of my girls with a twinkle in her eye spoke up bravely and said,
Excuse me, Mrs. Easley, but didn’t we just see you leave your friends and go into a room alone with a strange man who you didn’t even know?
For a second I didn’t smile. I tried to stay stern. But it was a hopeless cause. We dissolved into giggles, then laughter, then finally guffaws. Tears streamed down our faces. My safety lecture is one they (and I) will never forget.
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