My Do-Nots have been very trying lately. Trying to get my goat.
No, I don't really have a goat, though my Hillbilly Husband at one
time said he was bringing home two baby goats to eat brush so he
wouldn't have to clear it. Then two years had gone by, and #2 son
said, "Dad, are those baby goats ready to bring home yet?" To
which I snorted, and replied, "Those baby goats are dead from
old age by now." Which was perhaps not the best response, since
my little boy teared up a little and stuck out his bottom lip and
would not talk to me for about an hour.
No, I mean they have been trying to get on my last nerve, to get
under my skin, to drive me to drink, to make me blow my stack,
to rub me the wrong way, to give me an irritation that no salve
will sooth, to upset my applecart, to rain on my parade, to shake
my tree, to rattle my cage, to yank my chain, to piss me off.
They have almost succeeded. I know they are adolescents. It is
their job to question authority. That is how kids grow up and
become autonomous, how they break from their parents and
learn to make their own decisions. But gimme a break! Question
authority. Hillbilly Mom will never be mistaken
for Ghandi. Or Mother Teresa...though Mabel's mom did refer
to me as MT one time. Mabel still has not recovered from the
indignity. It is that time of year when we have cabin fever, or
at least Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's Classroom Fever. Bickering has
reached its zenith (I hope). Mrs. Hillbilly Mom was seen only
yesterday, reaching for that big ol' large economy can of Whoop-
A$. Don't make her use it, kids.
The catalyst? LIES told about Mrs. Hillbilly Mom! Shocking,
isn't it? I must enlighten you. It isn't always fun and games in Mrs.
Hillbilly Mom's classroom. We can't be discussing Franklin's
every day, you know.
Two girls worked on a math worksheet all hour. They were
adding and subtracting unlike fractions, which meant they had
to first choose a common denominator. They asked questions
like, "What do 12 and 15 both go into?" I hooked them up.
Five minutes before the bell, one asked a question that didn't
make sense.Bring that up here. No wonder...you can't do that. You have
to change the top numbers before you add or subtract
.You mean I did them all wrong?
Well, you have the correct denominators. You need to go back,
and change those top numbers. Whatever you multiplied with to
get your denominator, you have to also multiply by the top number.
But Mrs. B said not to change the top numbers.
I don't think so.
She did! She said 'Leave the top numbers the same.'
I don't think she would have said that. Because then all the answers
would be wrong. Just go back and multiply your top numbers.
Both girls closed their books and sat for five minutes. After school,
I told Mrs. B what they'd said. She laughed. "They told me YOU
told them to work the problems that way. I said, 'Girls, I'm sure
Mrs. Hillbilly Mom knows how to add and subtract fractions.'"
Because we've worked together for 6 years now. We know the
tricks these kids try with 'she said/she said' to cover their mistakes.
The next day, I asked if there was anything anybody wanted to
tell me. Nope. Silence. Then another girl cracked, and said how
she'd thrown away some notes in Mr. L's wastebasket, and
another girl picked them out of the trash and gave them to some
boys, and how the principal had gotten involved. "Thanks for
sharing, but that wasn't what I was getting at."
So I flat out told the fibbers what was said, and that I didn't
appreciate them lying about me
to cover their errors. They made
up a couple more stories, to the effect that they never said that.
Meanwhile, Note Girl sat behind them nodding her head, as in
'Uh huh, that really did
happen and now they're trying to get out
of it.'I didn't say you told us to do it that way. And I didn't tell you
that Mrs. B told us to do it that way.
I know what you told me. And I know what Mrs. B told me.
Well, I didn't say it. You can not believe me if you want to. I
know what I said.
It's good that I can not believe you, because I don't. I know
what you told me. Are you saying that Mrs. B. is lying to me?
No. It was a misunderstanding.
But I heard what you told me. And now you say you didn't
I don't care. Believe Mrs. B.
Because she's and adult.
No. Because she has never lied to me, and you have all year.
Normally, I don't badger the kids in class. But these two have
to realize that they can not make up stories about me or any
other teacher and get away with it. I did not expect them to
see the error of their ways, and promise that they would never
lie again. All I wanted was for them to admit that they said it,
and wouldn't do it again because they knew I'd find out. But
noooo. I couldn't even get that. Today they were angels, so
something got through to them.
And then there's Mum. He will not raise his hand for lunch
count like the others. He must be asked individually after all
items have been recorded. Today I asked him again.Mum, you didn't raise your hand. What are you having?Duh! I'm CATHOLIC! I can't eat meat on Fridays!Yes. You've told us that for the last couple of weeks. What
are you having? (Because last Friday, he had sausage pizza,
but maybe he didn't know sausage was meat.)
Salad! All you had to do was raise your hand when I said 'Salad?'.
Why are you so special that you make me ask you individually?
I don't.Well, you never raise your hand. I always have to take the time
to ask you after everyone else has been counted.I'm worried about all the Blacks moving into town.WHAT?You better watch what you say, little boy.You can't talk like that. It's not politically correct. That's gay.What do you have against gays?Oh, do you like them?My boss is gay. I don't have a problem with it.Huh. Just ask anyone.And you can't say that, either. Who do you think you are to
say things like that? What other minorities are you going to
insult? What if everybody said, "Man, I'm worried about all
the Catholics moving into town?" That would be different,
wouldn't it? Hey! You can't say that!Then you'd better watch your mouth. I'm not going to put up
But wait! There's more
Do-Not action! There was a Health
Fair today. Students could get checked for blood pressure,
blood sugar, weight, and body fat percentage. Many of them
came to class with band-aids on their fingers. One particular
Do-Not asked to go get his work from his locker.Yes, Mime. That would be a good idea. Since I gave you a
tardy yesterday for coming to class without it, making me send
you to your locker. Get back before the bell.
Mime took off for Mabel's end of the hall. It's a long trek. The
whole way, he slung his band-aided finger. You know, like if you
have water on it, and are trying to fling it dry? He came back to
class.Can I have another band-aid?" (Because I have ScoobyDoo band-aids, you know, not just the beige ones.) No. You're trying to make it bleed. Look at this one. It's got a big spot of blood!It's dry now.
Mime leaned over, elbows on knees. He milked his band-
aided finger, squeezing it until the fingertip was purple.Man. I hope it stops bleeding.Then stop trying to make it bleed!!!
The whole class shouted
it at once.
I did not
give him a new band-aid. Because he was trying me.