Wednesday, November 19, 2008

My job actually matters!

I know that my job actually matters, really I do.  That I am making a positive impact on society, providing a positive role model for kids, shaping and molding the future of our country, blah, blah, blah....but let's be real....most days it doesn't feel like I'm really making a positive impact on society, it feels like kiddie crowd control.  Today however, was totally different.  I live for the teachable moment at work--for you non-education peoples, "a teachable moment" is when something happens, or is said that changes the direction of your lesson to help educate and foster their interests/investigative nature/curiosity.  

Here is the scene.  I am sitting at my desk scoring scoring an assessment they did earlier today while the children are having their silent reading time at their seats.  Y'all know who it stars...your favorite and mine...J!

J: [racing to my desk]  (in an emphatic whisper) Miss _____!  Miss ______! You NEED to come see my book.  There is a VERY bad word in it.  I don't think this book should be in our room.

(Side note: earlier today J was appropriately distraught because there was a curse word written on one of the stalls in the boys' bathroom.  He was afraid another kid would see it, say it, and get in sweet is that!  Oh, in case you are wondering the word was fuck, but it was spelled fook...clearly by a kid who needs to go back to Phonics 101 and waste less time graffitiing the bathroom.)

Me: Take a breath, is it something someone wrote in the book that we can erase?

J: No, it part of the book!  The arthur (yes, arthur) wrote it!

Me: Ok, bring the book over.  [Now at this point I am getting nervous, because we have over 600 books in our classroom-seriously, I stopped counting when I reached 600-and I have not read every one.  I was trying to control my freak out since who knows what word he found in what book.]

J: It's right here, in this poem.

Me: [looking] Where?

J: [emphatically pointing] Right here!

Are you wondering what the bad word was?  Are you on the edge of your seat?  Have you made a prediction?  The word

He was freaking out.
Over the bad word.

The gist of the poem from what I quickly skimmed was about an elephant who played with friends, lived in the jungle, what they did for fun, and that their life was carefree and gay (i.e. happy--it was an old poem)

Now at this point I have about .003 seconds to decide what to do.  How to handle this, how to address this, what exactly he will understand, my legal limit of explanation, and then I said to myself, "Self, fook it and do what is right."

So I did.  I fooked it and did what was right.  J and I had a very long talk about how in the poem it means happy, origin of word meanings, other places it is used (Flintstones intro, Christmas songs), how word meanings have changed over time, now it's a synonym for homosexual, etc.  Here are bits and pieces of our conversation.

Me: Gay is not a bad word.

J: It's not?

Me: Nope.  It's not.

J: [hesistating] But then, how come people say it like they're mad?  Like it's something really bad?

Me: Well, it's like when a bully yells "freckle-face!" or "four-eyes!"  It's not a bad thing someone has freckles or glasses, it's just a fact.

J: Oh.  Ok.  [pondering]  Someone should tell them it's not a bad word, they might hurt someone's feelings.  Cuz I know it hurts A's feelings when people say four-eyes, and his glasses are nice.  It would hurt my feelings too, cuz I like my freckles.  I can't change I have freckles and it's mean it tease people.

(How much more do you love this kid!!!!)

At one point another child, T, who was sitting nearby joined us for our little impromptu PSA conversation.

T: Hey!  I read that poem too!  I thought they just forgot the r.

Me: [totally lost] The r?

T:  Yeah, that the elephant was gray.  

So today, my job actually mattered.  I made a positive impact on society, helped to mold the future of our country, and hopefully, aided in the progressive change of understanding and acceptance of all.

As every good PSA should end....the more you know  :-)


sheA said...

Awwww- fookin A.... seems like we have the best jobs in the world- man that J could he BE any cuter?!?!?!?..... makes me miss my dot dot

Carolyn said...

Awww that is so sweet. I want a kid like J someday! And I want them to have a teacher like you!

I just want to give J and big squishy hug. hehe. The most interaction I ever get with kids is waving and making faces at them, or asking them how they're feeling when they're obviously sick.

The Surprise Dyke said...

I honestly don't think this kid could be any cooler. If I ever have a kid, I hope they are like J.

Trop said...

Well done.

It's nice to see the impact you can have on minds.


The Surprise Dyke said...

Thank you Trop!

mewi said...

I only want daughters XD I wouldn't know how to raise a male child or anything @__@ it would be way to weird for me ;\