Dispatches from the Delta

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Sep 13 2007

Can’t Explain

Sometimes, thoughts cross my mind that would not be generally considered age-appropriate. Today, for whatever reason, the adult filter was off.
Scene 1: 7:45 AM – outside the cafeteria, walking to class

Cashane, a smallish boy from my class, looks up to me and says, “Mr. Starkey, I looked in my mirror last night and talked to myself,” to which I replied, “Oh really, Cashane? That’s called narcissism.”

Scene 2: 8:00 AM – classroom, during beginning of day work

Xavier, a tall, skinny girl, who has recently been struck with a series of short-lived, morning-only ailments, walks up to me and says, “Mr. Starkey, something’s wrong with my eye.” She had been ambling around the class like a one-eyed pirate for the past 5 minutes, so I was happy she finally decided to come to me.

Mr. Starkey: Now what’s wrong?
Xavier: My eye hurts.
Mr. Starkey: So what exactly is wrong with it?
Xavier: I don’t know, it just hurts.
Mr. Starkey: Well, here’s what I want you to do. Go down to the office and ask Ms. Hunter if she knows anything about corneas, or, well, Lasik eye surgery.
Xavier: About what?
Mr. Starkey: Just ask her if she knows anything about Lasik eye surgery.
Xavier: OK.

Xavier: What was that word?
Mr. Starkey: Lasik eye surgery.
Xavier turns and walks out, still clutching her eyes. She returns 2 minutes later.
Xavier: She says you need to write her a note.

Scene 3: 11:05 AM – lining up for lunch

Cashane, who is essentially a curveless rubber band of a person, has issues with pant sagging. Seeing yet another occurrence as he stands in line, knowing that Coach Turner considers that irritating (we have PE after lunch), I walked over to him to remedy the situation.
As I yanked up his waistline, I told him, “I’d hate for you to have a wardrobe malfunction.”
Cashane: A wardrobe malfunction? What’s that?
Mr. Starkey: Just tell Coach Turner in PE today that you want to do your best to avoid a wardrobe malfunction.
Cashane: OK.

Knowing that I can keep myself sane in an otherwise ridiculous situation with off-the-wall humor means one of two things:
1. I’m in a very healthy mental state.
2. No one else is laughing.

Let’s hope it’s #1.

2 Responses

  1. mom

    Aargh?? (like a pirate – use your imagination) –
    and a quick-witted lad you are matey.
    We all know that is not ‘my’ fault and where the blame truly lies.

  2. Sumner

    Travis- Itis not just 2nd grade. In my senior elective Bioethics class, I was trying to get across the idea that a moral structure cannot be formed based on the power position we hold. That is, I can’t make a moral system based on believing I am somehow unique in my control and others are not as important. To make this point, i was using Plato’s story of Glaucon who describes shephred who finds a ring of power which makes him invisible. He uses this ring to seduce the King’s wife and murder the King and take control. So, I usually pick up whatever object is in front of me, toss it to a student, and have him develop a list of powers that this object has. Usually this list includes invincibility, invisibility, etc. Heis very happy because he assumes he now has those powers, but then I take the object and hand it to another student, saying tot he first one, “I never said this was yours; I just asked what powers it gave.” This first student is caught in a “developed structure” that he has created, but suddenly he is not in the power position. So, I was doing this in this semester’s class and happened to pick up my cell phone which was in front of me to serve as the “random object.” I tossed it to one student and asked him to strat listing the powers that it provided him. The first one he offers: “Well, I can call people.”

    Good gosh, we are concrete…..

    When he finally understood where we were going with it, and after much extended thought. he came up with the very original power of….. invisibilty. When I asked hm what that would allow him to do (eg: head over to GPS and cause havoc, or the like) he replied, “Well, I could walk around without folks seeing me.”

    I guess I was glad that we all had been reminded of the definition of invisibility…..

    You’re doing great. Sumner

Post a comment

About this Blog

One Journey through the Deep South

Mississippi Delta
Elementary School
Elementary Education

Subscribe to this blog (feed)