Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Strangest Teaching Experience Ever

I know I need to finish the other story, but I had to share this with you. I couldn't let something like this happen without telling you.

Yesterday I had the strangest teaching experience of my teaching career thus far. Of course this would happen to me, because I am the freak magnet. People always tell me that a ridiculous amount of unusual things happen to me and that I know a high percentage of crazy people. I used to respond that I just know how to notice it better and retell it. Crazy stuff happens to everyone, I would say, I just know how to frame it as a story whereas other people just kinda don't pay attention or forget about it.

I have come to see that I was wrong. It's true. I seem to attract oddity.

Yesterday I was trying to teach my class amid a flurry of excitement because "Jersey Shore" is now being filmed in South Beach, and in my students' world, this is apparently a huge, major deal and all of them want to go figure out how to get in the background of the show so they can be on MTV.

Once I got them focused on thesis statements once again and once we were talking about boring things like how to make an argument, all of a sudden one girl shouts:

"OH MY GOD LOOK OUT THE WINDOW!!!!!!!!!!!"

This made all of the students rush out of their desks and over to the window where they all started going "OH MY GOD LOOK!!!"

I sternly asked what was out there and if I needed to call 911. They wouldn't tell me what it was. I actually heard one girl whisper to another girl not to tell me because "she doesn't like sexual stuff, remember." I don't even want to know what that was supposed to mean.

So I go and look out the window to see for myself. My classroom is on the third floor overlooking a courtyard in the back of the building. In the courtyard is a picnic table with a bench. Seated on top of the table was a young lady with her skirt pulled to her waist. Seated on the bench before her was a young man. The two of them were engaged in, umm, an activity. A lewd and lascivious activity, if you will. Just use your imaginations. I guess these two thought they were alone. I guess they forgot that there were three floors of classrooms with windows in front of them. I mean, the windows are tinted so you can't see in, but everyone can see out. Lord have mercy.

My students lost their minds over this scene and started pulling out their phones. One student said he was going to film it and put it on YouTube to which I responded that no he was not if he wanted to continue on in my class.

As a teacher, I have to lead a bit of a double life. In the classroom I need to be stern, orderly and not take any crap. I have to manage 28 fidgety young people who don't really want to be there and I have to keep things professional and proper at all times. If my students knew some of the stuff I've written or done, they'd just die on the spot. You could probably never in a million years ever convince them that it's true that I once worked in a strip club. They have this idea about me that I'm stuffy and old and don't know anything and that I'm definitely a virgin and that I would never watch "Jersey Shore." They believe I have never once in my life uttered a cuss word. I think they think I'm something akin to a married nun, if such a thing could exist.

To keep up this image for them, I had to wrangle them all away from the window and act horrified and ashamed and aghast. Then I had to practically threaten them to get the into their seats and pretending to care about thesis statements again. That's teacher-me.

The truth is, in my real life, I was right at that window with them.

I came straight home and had to tell anyone who would listen to me about this event and I did it with as much gusto as my students gawking at the exhibitionist couple. Everyone's response - "of course that would happen while YOU were teaching."

And it's true, of course it would.

You know what else happened?? Today, in a different class, I busted a girl who tried to send her twin sister to sit in my class so she could be absent. It wasn't hard. They aren't exactly identical and the twin had no book and no knowledge of routine class procedures. Plus, I knew the girl had a twin and I heard another student use the sister's name. When I confronted her, she said she was going to throw up and ran out of the class. Mmm Hmmm. I didn't know twins did that in real life. I should ask my uncles if they ever pulled a bait and switch routine in school.

Two weeks left in the semester people. Let me just get through two more weeks.

15 comments:

♥ Calamity Anne ♥ said...

Thank you for ending my day with a really good laugh!!!

roberta said...

I've had soon odd things happen when I taught middle school writing class at a local private school, but I admist nothing like that. I do find it endearing though, that students think teachers don't exist outside of the classroom. My former students are in college now, and still seem surprised to run into me on the street.

mcgrimus said...

It's true. Some people are crazy-people magnets. My wife is one (I don't know what this says about me...), and someone I work with is definitely one. I think crazy people can sense when someone is open to listening to them and enduring their crazy-ass ideas. You are probably too polite to just ignore them, and also your curiosity must get the better of you. This is OK, as it makes life a little more interesting.

MtnMama said...

Every set of twins I've known has done this, and some more. Yes, I ask. I find it fascinating, but I think it is wrong if it matters, and not just with friends.

Laughing hysterically at the thought of trying to corral a bunch of young people back to their seats with something like that going on. Too funny. One of the reasons I don't enjoy being the boss; I'm "at the window" in my mind, too.

Jenn said...

My twin is a boy, so no bait and switch there. I do have a cousin that could pass as an identical twin though. We never switched classes, but I'd wear her extra ID if I forgot mine, or vice versa. I also frequently got her in trouble when I'd dodge one of her teachers that I didn't like at the grocery store.

JoeinVegas said...

My daughter taught fifth grade, and came upon one of her students from the previous year on the school playground having sex with a boy - (fifth grade+1!) and she wouldn't stop, even with a crowd around.
You could have at least let them take videos and write a theme on that experience. (merge with the situation teach!)

Anonymous said...

Ah, spring. Last year around this time, I took my lunch and went to a small local park. Usually up to a dozen people park, eat their lunch and get away from work for a bit.

I parked my car, and started eating my sandwich. The truck 2 rows across from had a young man sitting there with a huge smile on his face. Just as I was trying to determine what was going on, a young lady popped up in the passenger side.

I guess that is one to enjoy lunch hour on a Wednesday.

Sixteen Chickens said...

Sometimes I really wish this blog had pictures, or better yet... video.

The Four Writters said...

I wish that was me on the picnic table.

Jan @ Struck by Serendipity said...

You should have let one of them slyly take a video and then forced them to turn it over to you. You get the video without & get to retain your strict persona!

Life in the mom lane said...

So where exactly does your classroom overlook? was this on school property? I can not imagine trying to corral a bunch of teenagers away from that! :)

Donna said...

Oh, come on - you all didn't open a window and hoot and holler at them? Really? You could have at least yelled, "Get a room" like any self-respecting married nun would have!

Suzanne said...

LOL! It reminds me of the time I watched a girl hide behind a bathroom in a condo complex's open courtyard to smoke a joint. She was squatting down, looking at the dirt and I was like, girl if you would look up you would realize you face 10 units which have big glass windows.
Preferable to the show you got I think. YIKES!

Miss Kitty said...

I hear ya, WL. My students would probably never believe I worked in a strip club...for three years. What IS it about us that we refuse see other people--especially those in positions of authority--as human, too, and having been in many varied and crazy situations?

Had that been my classroom, I would've been the first to start making catcalls and shouting at the couple...and filming them on my camera phone. And calling Campus Police. And then we woudl've had an AWESOME internet/mass media discussion. Maybe. :-P

Aneela Maharaj said...

Hilarious! From one freak-magnet to another, and from one teacher to another I have to say I immensely enjoyed reading your blog. I stumbled upon it while surfing, and I just love your dry, witty humour. By the way, that pistachio dessert sounds disgusting.

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