According to “The Teacher’s Calendar,” May is National Teaching and Joy Month. If you’re like most of us, you could use some joy and maybe even a chuckle, so sit back and enjoy this collection of classics. Thanks to fellow teachers who shared.
- I’d set up an incubator with quail eggs so all interested students could watch the hatching process. The day of hatching, a fellow teacher overheard a kindergartner tell her friend, “I told you they were quails, not whales.”
- A gym teacher saw a boy pull worms out of his pocket. The boy said, “Look! Aren’t these cool?” “Yes,” the teacher said, “but if you keep them in your pocket they’ll die.” “Well, Billy has some, too.” Billy pulled out two worms. The teacher said, “You need to let them go.” Billy said, “Tommy has some, too.” “Yeah,” Tommy said, digging into his pocket. “But I have dirt in here, too.”
- A colleague complained after a field trip. “They were just awful. They wouldn’t listen, wouldn’t do what I said, and one even smoked.” “A student smoked?” I exclaimed. “No, I wasn’t talking about my class. I was talking about the chaperones.”
- A student bumped a teacher and said, “Oh, you’d make a good airbag.”
- A coworker told the story of a student with new eye glasses who kept taking them off. When asked to explain, the student said he was afraid he’d use them up.
- During a volleyball lesson a gym teacher told the little kids if they set the ball for teammates, they should use their forearms. A little girl looked distraught. “But teacher, I only have two arms.”
- And now, here’s one that I call My Smelly Reputation. I first noticed the awful classroom smell during the hectic morning activities of taking lunch count and attendance. A teacher walking down the hall asked another staff member if the sewer was backing up. He paused by my door. “Oh, it’s coming from her room.”
I checked the fish tank, the guinea pig cage, the terrarium, and the worms we were collecting for Froglegs, the aquatic frog. Nothing especially smelly. Still sniffing, I opened another cupboard and pulled out the nest a student had brought in. It contained the skeletons of four baby birds. I planned on using it when we discussed the vertebrate system. I sniffed. It wasn’t the skeletons. “Please open your desks,” I finally said. I noticed a girl in the last row open and then quickly close hers shut. I walked closer. The smell got stronger. “It’s okay, Sweetie. Tell me.”
“Remember Thursday when I asked you if we could have show-and-tell on Friday and you said yes but then we never had it?”
I did vaguely remember an unexpected visitor showing up during show-and-tell time and having to cancel it. “Go ahead and open your desk.” I drew in a deep breath and held it. Lying on top of her science book was a plastic bag filled with mush. “What is that?”
A flush creeping across her cheeks, she whispered, “A bluegill. At least it was a blue gill.”
Ah, yes. Enjoy May, National Teaching and Joy Month. In celebration of my spring picture book, The Quack-a-Doodle Parade, and my young adult novel, Stranded on Castaway Island, I get to return to classrooms and libraries. Contact me for information. We’re sure to share a few joyful chuckles.