Northerner In Nashville

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Apr 30 2013

I’ve been holding it in…Boys stink

As any teacher will tell you, each class has a different personality. You may teach the same grade for 30 years, but each class will have some characteristic that makes them different from the one before or the one after. My first year teaching my 4th grade girls drove me crazy with their cliques and mean girl attitudes. There was a stretch in there where weave was rolling down the hallways like tumbleweed after a girl fight. One girl latched her nails into another girls weave and managed to lift her off the floor. At the end of that year, I thought “Man. Eight years of all girl’s education did not prepare me for this. Bring me a class of boys.” Well, ask and ye shall receive. My second year in 4th grade was probably my favorite overall class, although it wasn’t without issues. I had some sweet boys, a lot just full of anger.

Well, this year my boys are full of something but it sure ain’t anger.

Boy #1: Mark
Each morning, we have a whole school assembly. Classes line up around the gym, cheer, sing, and get ready for the day. Last week, I approached my early arrivers and was overwhelmed with a smell. Not a smell, a STANK. All the kids were giggling and looking around when I noticed that little Mark’s backpack was wet. And leaking. As I approached his backpack, he got really defensive of it.

I try to model the right kinds of behavior for my kids but I just couldn’t hold it back — when I opened his backpack, I had to gag. A pencil had punctured a chocolate milk carton he had placed in his backpack. Based on the smell and texture of the milk, there’s no way that that he’d picked up that milk that morning. I tried to see if there was a way to clean it out, but I couldn’t keep it open long enough to clean it out. I hate throwing away my kid’s things because they place a lot of value on material things, but this was past redemption.

Boy #2: David
I’ve been having an issue with my little friend David. He’s incredibly talented at mimicry. However, recently he’s decided the emulate The Hulk, complete with grunting and attempting to lift things like classmates. Needless, sometimes it’s difficult to keep the other kids from paying attention to his antics. Just when I thought we had been making some progress, he’s developed a new skill.

He has learned how to make himself throw up and has done it daily. For a week.

Boy #3: Gerald
As I was getting David settled in his time out at recess, a gaggle of girls ran over to me. “Ms. A, Ms. A, Gerald’s peeing on the tree!” I looked at another first grade teacher out on recess duty and we just kind of stared at each other like “Is this real life?” Gerald was hiding on the playground at this point. I managed to take his hand and walk over to the tree and, undeniably, there was a wet spot that stank of pee. The conversation went a little like this

Ms. A: Gerald, what happened here?
Ms. A: Who peed?
Ms. A: Gerald, did you pee on the tree?
Gerald: I peed on the tree. It needed to grow.
[It needed to grow? This was not what we covered in the unit on living things]
Ms. A: Did you not use the bathroom before we came outside?
Gerald: I didn’t have to go
Ms. A: Why didn’t you come find me?

Needless, this was one of the more strange parent phone calls I’ve had to make. As he was crying on the phone with his mother, I wondered: How many people saw him? How many of my students saw him peeing? Oh god, what kinds of calls am I going to be getting from parents tonight?

Then, I realized I’d held his hand.

Boy #4: Kenneth
My class is a mix of 1st and 2nd graders (although more heavily on the former). Normally, it’s not a big deal but we’re doing standardized tests and they have to be separated. When Kenneth returned from his testing, my co-teacher told me that there had been an accident during testing. Seeing as most of the kids haven’t taken must standardized testing, my initial reaction was that perhaps something was wrong with his materials that I’d given to Ms. T

My curiosity got the better of me and I went to ask Ms. T about what happened. Turns out that while Kenneth was testing, the proctor noticed something unusual and called Ms. T over. Kenneth had peed his pants. Not just a little woops, but dripping down the chair and puddling on the floor. Apparently they had to call the janitor in the middle of the standardized test. Yet another reason why small children should not be getting standardized tests.

So there you have my evidence. Mark. David. Gerald. Kenneth. Conclusion? Boys stink.

One Response

  1. I laughed, but it also blows my mind that elementary teachers deal with this kind of stuff on a regular basis. I applaud you.

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a 2010 CM’s experiences

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