Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Check Your Zipper!

I've taken a long-term position as a Teacher's Assistant in an elementary Varying Exceptionality class. The main teacher was out, so there was a substitute in the room, as well as myself.
Before lining up for lunch, the substitute asked the kids whether they knew the days of the week (in order). Sadly, many did not (apparently we need to review). She also asked if any knew the names of the days in Spanish.
One of our kids is a very small second grader. Picture a cute little child who's missing his two front teeth and has a slight speech impediment.
He doesn’t know any Spanish, but he was so eager to answer a question that he was standing up, raising his hand, and yelling "Ooh! Ooh!"  Keep in mind that he doesn't know any Spanish.  While this is happening, I notice that his zipper is down.  So, I whisper over to him, "Check your zipper!" Hearing me, he thinks I’m feeding him an answer and redoubles his effort to be noticed.
Trying to keep from laughing, I quietly call him over to me.  He rushes over, eyes still on the substitute and nearly shaking with excitement.  I whisper, again, "No, check YOUR zipper!" He nods enthusiastically and bolts back to his desk.  He proceeds to jump up and down with his hand raised, and yells, excitedly and repeatedly, "Check your zipper! Check your zipper!"
            And that’s when I passed out from laughing.


Our students really do need and thrive on stability.  They have trouble adjusting to a substitute if the main teacher is out.  Having me there tends to keep some level of normality (zipper checking aside).  Yesterday, we were both gone.  One of my students did not handle it well.  Apparently, he freaked out and grew enraged.  He starting throwing papers around the room and then threw a desk over.  The sub had to call the principal in, and he came and took him to the office.  Once there, the student then proceeded to try and shove the principal’s desk.  The principal had to physically restrain him (one of two of the adults on campus who's legally allowed and trained to do so).  As he's holding him down, my student is letting loose with a volley of angry curses.  It's a never-ending stream of grammatical discovery.  Entire sentences are diagramed and brand new pairings of noun-verb-adjective-adverbs are revealed.  He's a third grader, but he swears at least a tenth-grade level.  At one point during this eloquent elocution, he's so out of breath that he belches.  At which point he pauses, says, “excuse me,” and then goes back to cursing.  Remember: Politeness, first, people.

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