These are but a few of the fun times you can have in Georgia. What special fun can you have where you live?
—Georgia, by Elmer D. Williams
My classroom particulars are sensationally doofy, too. I know this and embrace it. I had all summer to allow my imagination to do things.
The best thing about teaching, and sometimes the worst thing about teaching, is that you’re left alone most of the time to do what you think’s best. I learned that my first day of subbing for Pam and Bodeep. Sometimes good deeds go unpunished.
The name of my classroom … your classroom, I said … is “The Cozy Room of Learning.” I have designed and decorated it with the hope that its coziness might make you want to learn a bunch of things without complaining. I said I hope you like my lamps and my maps and some historical prints I’ve had in my room since I was a kid.
Tempest moaned … Creee-pee!
I had been to School Box, the teacher’s dope store. I held in my hand a fake pencil. Two feet long. It’s bright yellow. I said … This is “The Teaching Stick,” and I’ll probably be whipping this thing around a whole lot this year to punctuate the air with knowledge. Touching The Teaching Stick is unholy, however. Don’t do it.
Spike yelled … Can I touch it!
I ignored the question. I had to. I knew I had to get through this as quickly as possible before I changed my mind on every bit of it. On the wall I have placed in big letters, I pontificated, that I bought at an arts and crafts store and that I painted in a school color and the words are Seek Knowledge. I pointed The Teaching Stick at our class motto … Seek … Knowledge. When in doubt, I said, seek knowledge.
They seemed to think having a class motto was okay.
I moved over behind a lectern my father had made for me out of old wood. Wood that had seem some things. I said this is “The Lectern of Speaking.” I said I’ll be blowing hard from behind here a lot this year. I said when I really want to deliver some awesome stuff I’ll probably step behind The Lectern of Speaking and I will probably be holding The Teaching Stick, too, and whipping it around.
Petal moaned … This is so lame. Petal and Tempest high-fived. Petal said … There is definitely something wrong with you.
And in the back, near my desk in the back, I said, is not a globe. It’s “The Globe of Happiness.” After you push the northern hemisphere up you will see that inside The Globe of Happiness, in the southern hemisphere, is a whole bunch of candy that I discovered is real expensive to buy. Do good deeds. Say good things. Work hard, I said, and you’ll get candy, and lots of it.
All eyes were now on The Globe of Happiness. Four of five of them, especially Spike, were already lurched forward, ready to leap out of their desks for an inspection.
I walked back there and lifted the northern hemisphere on a globe on a stand with wheels that’s actually a bar. The southern hemisphere holds ice for adults who drink cocktails.
Three kids, at that special moment in the early history of The Cozy Room of Learning, said that I was their favorite teacher. Spike said he’d catch a bullet for me anytime, and at this school, he said, it could be any day.
I think bribing kids with wads of Snickers, Butterfingers, Smarties, Twix, Milk Duds, Milky Ways, Blow Pops, Gobstoppers, and Chupa Chups, Twizzlers, Swedish Fish, Dum Dum Pops, M&M’s, Sour Patch Kids, Tootsie Rolls, and bubble gum cigarettes, to do and say nice things is fine because it works.
I also asked them not the chew on the carpet or lick the walls. Class discipline must be maintained.
Next Entry ... August 14: Buttsing Heads