Friday, October 23, 2009

A Tater's Tale

Okay, so I never know.... as I drive to school in whatever type of weather we're having... What kind of day will it be? After 34 and a half years... it's still one of those wait and see type of jobs. I mean... Perhaps I'll be met with energetic students who pursue a problem, looking for the source of a water leak on the interior wall of a bottom floor classroom... and discovering the cooling system is leaking from upstairs....

Or maybe... It will just be business as usual.... A well-done Spanish vocab poster or some great charts for an investigative unit... Today, it was neither. My classroom was dark. One of my junior boys had burned his eyes with a welder the night before, had suffered immeasurably overnight, been to the emergency room, but was still there at school to get his attendance points... This is a good kid; I'll call him Brian... He's a bit mouthy, a little arrogant, kind of a redneck... but a great person. He's a volunteer fireman, a wheeler dealer in scrap iron, a veritable fount of instant jokes and amusements. Until today. Today he was silent, scared, and in pain. I, being Mother Hen incarnate, told the child he could sit in a dark room somewhere, go to my car and get my sunglasses, call his welding teacher... go home.. Whatever it might take to feel better.

Oh, no... Brian had gleaned the Old-Timer's remedy near and dear to his heart. He'd been informed that cutting a potato in half and putting them to his eyes would draw out the pain and the burn and the heat. So 20 minutes into class, he requested to go see Rowella, the school cook, and get that "tater." How could I deny him? "Yeah, go!" I softly agreed. And he was off... I didn't realize my accomplice student had also slipped off with him. Timmy is that shadow kind of guy who never asks permission to do things that he "instinctively knows" I'd approve of... He went along to guide Brian through the stairways and halls... Yeah.. I was knee deep in computer problems, glitches with templates on Resume writing... mini differences of opinions on just who inhabits which house on the left, and authoritative direction of which fact is the ultimate jewel to nail a future hypothetical job in my Practical English class..

20 minutes later, my principal comes in and swoops down beside me. "Do you have any idea where Brian might be?" he booms..

Do you guys have any idea how much I wanted to NOT utter the next sentence that had to come out of my lips? "Uh, yeah. He asked to go to the cafeteria and get a... a.... a potato to..... a....aaaa.... cover his eyes!"

And then what? I mumbled something about a school nurse maybe? A hall pass? Well, no... I'd gotten a bit excited and forgot to write that... and then where? I thought maybe Brian had gone to sit in that previously mentioned dark room??? But no real clue... Clueless teacher... Great... Uh... Dunno... The principal stormed out... I believe he had been the victim of a memo from the elementary about a blinded loudmouth in search of a potato..??? Then Dave informs me that Timmy had gone as well... I looked around and quickly head-counted the 19 other busy souls... yep... two down... I quickly hall passed Dave to rescue Timmy (and me)... but alas! Too late for Timmy, but just in time for Dave to catch it as well... The principal soon ushers in all three sheepish boys in front of their "Bo-Peep, Fast Asleep, Little boy blue asleep in the hay...who looks after the Lane" or however that goes English teacher... We got the message then and there.... that all students were to stay in the room or go home...

Yes, sir. I understand. Of course, I did. I totally got it. I'm not a fool or a novice teacher. I understand how irritated, and rightfully so, this would make an administrator... Also how later when some girl mysteriously, from a cell phone she isn't allowed to have, texted her dad to bring in a potato for Brian... (THANK YOU, Lord, not in my class)... and he did, ----how that would really go over just about as well.. Not as well as when Brian cut that hard-won tater in half, duct taped the pieces to his eyes, and was led around the halls between lunch and Vo-tech(you guessed it.... by Timmy!!!!)... Uh, yeah...

The day before State Tournament saw high spirits and much drama in our little school... and not all of it was pre-game jitters...

Paula Deen says she would get off her death bed for a tater... I see.. I really do... Go, Wildcats... and bless poor Brian's little eyes... I love that kid.

3 comments:

Becky K. said...

Gayla,

You are so awesome!!! You understand your students so well.

I pray Brian's eyes heal up completely and that Timmy continues to use his compassionate spirit. What a lovely story.

Lisa said...

OMG, I LOVE This story. I had a visual the whole time!!!!

Laurie said...

LOL! I work at a middle school so I can really "get" the feel of your story! Too funny, one for the scrapbook!

Laurie S.