Sunday, December 12, 2010

Leftovers, Part 1

Remember when I guaranteed more student similes here? Some of those promised treasures are sprinkled throughout this entry and the next in italics.

Until now, my entries have focused mainly on student blunders - misspellings, grammatical errors, and whatnot. And if I didn’t believe in the old, “You reap what you sow,” principle before, I certainly do now. Because, folks, yesterday I blundered big time.  Perhaps it was karma. Perhaps it’s because the end of the semester has me as distracted as a dog catching a scent in the wind. Who knows? Yet in the interest of full disclosure and in providing you with a little entertainment, I’ll share my humdinger. This particular goof had an immediate consequence, just like any classroom management plan worth it’s salt.

A bit of backstory: Until about 2 months ago, I was the proud owner of a GoPhone. Nothing fancy for this public servant. Having a $25 phone bill and only being able to check Facebook the old-fashioned way made me feel like I was part some elite, ascetic club - choosing to deny myself the pleasures of multiple apps and endless portable procrastination. Then, I met the Samsung Epic. Living up to it’s name, it has Swype texting, a touchscreen, a slide-out keyboard, and all the apps a girl could desire. I bought in and, in turn, joined the more populated, hedonistic club of smartphone users. From day one, I was glued to my Epic like a newborn baby to its mom. 

Which is why, on Friday, it accompanied me to the cafeteria for lunch. Fast forward half an hour. I sat in my red, teacher’s chair traipsing through the midterm review, when it suddenly occurred to me that I was missing my Epic. I flashed back to carelessly tossing my Kroger bag of leftovers into one of the 3 industrial-sized trashcans in the cafeteria.  

Horrified, I recalled that I had carried the Epic to lunch in that very same bag and had never removed it. My shoulders dropped like the rain after a long drought, defeated. 

I instructed my students to attempt the next 5 questions on the study guide and shot across the hall to the neighboring social studies’ teacher’s room. He and the other coaches have a deal with the cafeteria ladies that they will take the trash to the dumpsters after each lunch period if they are provided with all the food growing boys could ever need. 
Me: “Coach P! I think I threw my phone away!
Chuckles flew out of him like milk out of a cow.

Me: It’s NOT funny! It’s new, and I’m on a teacher’s salary, and OF ALL THE MONTHS, I just bought all these Christmas presents!

Clearly realizing the seriousness of the situation, his laughter slowed, and he wiped the tears of joy from his eyes.

Coach P: Watch my class.
Then, he left the room and pushed through the exit door at the end of our hall, headed for the dumpster. Five minutes later, he returned without my phone and coated in unidentifiable substances from the elbows down. I was as disappointed as a farmer whose cows had been struck by lightning. That’s when we put together the following timetable. 
11:58 - Lunch ended and students went out to courtyard with teachers on duty.
12:00 - He took the trash out to the dumpster.
12:05 - I threw my bag away in the fresh bags in the cafeteria trashcans.
12:06 - I escorted my kids back to class.
12:15 - I realized my fatal error and leapt into action.
12:18 - While Coach P was searching through the 7th grade’s leftovers, the 8th grade coach threw the 8th grade’s trash (including MY bag) in the dumpster.
Therefore, MY phone was not in the bags Coach P searched through, but was in one of the three bags Coach S, the 8th grade coach, had just deposited. Perfect! (I like to think that we weren’t wasting class time, merely modeling critical thinking skills for our students.)
Realizing that I would be pushing it to beg Coach P to return to the dumpster, I informed him that I would ask another teacher to watch my class and go search myself. Armed with nothing more than fierce determination and an oversized t-shirt to wear over my work clothes, I throttled myself towards the cafeteria. At that point, I truly wished that I would have had the foresight to put “Inflatable Hazmat Suit” on last year’s Christmas list for times such as this. Hindsight is truly 20/20, dear readers.


Jealous of that guy in the green gloves,
Ms. P

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