Today was the last day with my 3rd period kiddos who, as I've stated before, walk a fine line between annoying the crapola out of me and sheer comedy genius. They jabber continually and whine often, but in general, I get them and they get me. Most days, harmony is achieved even if the lesson objective is not.
And, in a way, they are responsible for this blog. So if you hate it, blame them. They'll probably ignore you, though. They're not into your harsh criticism, and they always have my back. If you like it, well, they will bask in the glow of your adoration and be all, "Naz Who?". They are one of the few groups of kids in a long while who, as a class, love to explore new ideas, debate, and more than anything -- write. They are fascinated with the art of the written word and love, love, love to share their thoughts, and they didn't just request that I participate in daily writing with them, they demanded it. It made me fall in love with the process of writing and revising and creating all over again -- which led me here to this inconspicuous little spot on the internets. This is the gift they gave to me, and I'm sad that my time with them is done. Truly. I wish I could have told them how they inspired me, but truthfully, I don't want their nosy little butts in here.
Therefore, in honor of 3rd Period, today's post is an email (below the stars) I sent to some friends on one of my favorite days with them. My friends are sad, too, by the way because they laughed their asses off when I hit them with this:
I love my 3rd period kids. Many times, they are the saving grace and, by far, the most interesting kids I have.
In true 3rd period fashion, a tangent provided the most interesting lesson of the day. Since we're reading The Yearling and just beginning to learn about the main character and his life in the country, the kids asked me about growing up on the farm (and although I didn't, one of my childhood best friends did. So, this makes me a total expert in their eyes). I told them the story of Rudy the Steer (intended lesson -- why you don't name the animals on a farm). This is the conversation that interrupted my story.
Spacey Girl: What's a steer?
Me: Ummm.... well... it's a male cow that's been... castrated. (I tried to be delicate, but, really, how delicate can the topic of castration truly be?)
The Loudest Girl in the World: What's "castrated"?
Me: Ummm... well... it means that its.... testicles... have been... (ahem) removed.
Entire class: DO WHAT????!
Me: Well, that's what it is. A bull has 'em. A steer doesn't.
Them: (Groans, shrieks, and a few nauseated looks from the boys)
Me: You've never heard of calf fries?
Them: NO!!!! Eww... ick... Wait... what's that?
Me: Slices of deep fried bull testicles.
Them: (More shrieks and groans) And people eat them???
Me: Well... sure.
Them: (literally writhing on the ground) That is so DISGUSTING!!!
Another kid from the crowd: Gross. What would that even taste like??? (asking a completely rhetorical question)
Me: Kind of like chewy steak fingers.
Suddenly, all eyes were on me, and all talking ceased.
Icked-out Boy: (eyes popping out of his head) Oh... my... God. YOU ATE ONE????
Me: Well... yeah. It's kind of a rite of passage where I come from. Also, on menus, they're also called Rocky Mountain Oysters. Don't be fooled. They're not really oysters.
Them: stunned silence immediately followed by several completely inappropriate questions.
Things just went on from there. Maybe the word "bull nuts" was uttered by a few of the boys. It was pretty entertaining, and, if I must say so, the most education I've conveyed in the past two weeks. It was hard to get 'em back after that, but I think I did earn a little more respect.
People with office jobs must get so bored.
When people ask what I do for a living, and then look at me with a mixture of pity/shock/mild distaste when I say "junior high teacher", these are the kinds of stories I tell. And, then, I think they're a little jealous because this kind of shit just doesn't really happen where they work. There are lots of things about my job that bring me to the bottom steps of the bell tower, but then there are always these little moments that make all of that nonsense fade into the background. And I'm reminded again, that I'm here on the planet for a reason... even if it's just to gross out some city kids with a little life lesson on bull testicles.