Tales from the Classroom, Part 1

It has recently been pointed out to me (by someone who points things out to me regularly) that I am the sole provider of low-brow fare for Chapman’s General Store patrons. While others are writing about the economy, politics and general state of the nation (or at least Greenfield), I’m offering insight into the latest musical stylings of the Butthole Surfers or Fury in the Slaughterhouse.

That said, I’m not thinking of changing or anything. As Popeye said, I yam what I yam. And so we proceed . . .

As many of you know, I’ve been in education for over 27 years. I’ve taught at every level from Pre-School to 8th Grade, from PE to Social Studies (yes, my years as a PE teacher included a class of 4-year olds. Fun aplenty but that’s another blog entirely).  Anyway, I’ve taught, coached, was an AD for 9-years, blah-blah-blah. As a result I’ve had some pretty interesting experiences. Below are just a few, because I have a million of these. Come to think of it, this may be the first installment of many.

Back when I taught 6th Grade I had a kid named Joe who was, shall we say, a little on the edge. He’d been in trouble so many times his mail was delivered to the principal’s office. I knew about all this at the beginning of the year but, as I did with all my kids, I was going to let him start with a clean slate. The first couple of weeks were uneventful, but Joe never said a word. I decided the best plan would be to just give him time and try to draw him out slowly. Sure enough, one day we were talking about careers and I was asking my kids if they had any idea what they wanted to do for a living someday. The topic then turned to animals, so I asked the class if anyone would like to work with animals in the future. Among the 4 or 5 students who raised their hand was Joe. Ah, I thought – breakthrough. I worked my way slowly over to him. I asked one of the kids how they wanted to work with animals, and she said she wanted to be a veterinarian. Another said he wanted to run a daycare for dogs. And then I turned to Joe. The conversation went like this:

Me: “Joe, how would you like to work with animals?”

Joe: “I want to work in a slaughterhouse.”

That, my friends, was Joe’s idea of “working with animals.”

A couple of years ago, I was teaching Phys Ed and a 2nd Grader walked over to me. Here’s the conversation:

Max: “Mr. Shoe, do you mind if I sit out for a little bit?”

Me: “Why? Are you sick?”

Max: “Nah, I’m not sick, I just haven’t felt very good since the incident.”

Me: “The incident? What incident?”

Max: “I fell out of a tree stand.”

He then proceeded to turn around and show me a knot on his head the size of Pilot Mountain.

Me: “HOLY . . . have you been to the doctor?”

Max: “Nah, dad says it’s probably just a concussion.”

Me: “Max, go to the nurse.”

They raise ‘em tough down here in Ross County.

And finally, this nugget. I was a High School Athletic Director at the time, and I was making the rounds passing out some paperwork to my coaches.  One of my volleyball coaches taught 3rd Grade, and I have to say she was, well, a bit of a prude. In fact, she was really uptight about some of the very things in life that yours truly indulges in regularly.  Keep this in mind as you read the conversation that took place between me and a little kid as I walked into her room:

Kid: “HEY! I saw you in the liquor store!”

Me, startled: “Huh? What? I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Kid: “Yeah, it was you. It was on Thursday in Greenfield. You were at the liquor store.”

At this point I remember that I was in fact at the liquor store on Thursday, and that it was, in fact, in Greenfield.

Me, thinking fast: “Oh yeah, a buddy of mine owns the place so I was stopping in to say hello.”

I’ve no idea why I felt compelled to lie to the kid but he had me on the ropes. Alright, I admit it.  I panicked. Anyway, the kid wasn’t convinced…

Kid, skeptically: “Huh.”

At that point I’d given the papers to the teacher and was on my way out. Hey, I’d covered my ass and was good to go. But as the door was about to shut behind me I heard this:

“That’s funny. I thought I saw him buying a fifth of Grey Goose Vodka.”

Damn kid was probably flunking 3rd Grade but he remembered every damn detail of my trip to Joe’s Party Shop.

As I mentioned above, I have a million of these. Hopefully these were at least mildly entertaining. More to come . . .


7 thoughts on “Tales from the Classroom, Part 1”

  1. Loved the stories. Having taught many years myself I often wish that I had kept a journal. Nevertheless, like you, some happenings are etched into my memory forever. Once, during a class, one of my students said, “I saw you driving to school this morning.” Thinking that this was an innocent observation I quipped, “Yeah, how was I doing?” She responded, “Not too well, you were in a school zone going about 35.” Nailed.

  2. Norman Gingerich and I were sharing playground duty during lunch one day when a young kid came up to us crying his heart out. We asked him what was wrong and he said, “I hur, hur, hurrrt, my, myse, myself!” Norm asked, “Where did you hurt yourself?” The kid replied, “Ov, ov, over there!” Pointing his finger at the teeter-todder!

  3. I remember the day that we were to share in English class, that this girl proceded to tell a dirty joke. We were stunned and the teacher didn’t stop her either. Of course we all died laughing at the joke but the teacher let us know that there would be no more jokes that it had to be a story. It was very funny at the time and she was a good joke teller.

    1. AD stands for Athletic Director. I was a high school AD for 9-years. I was also a college AD for awhile at OU-Chillicothe.

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