He pulled up a straight chair and sat down. “Now we can have a real talk,” he said, his smile spreading. “It’s high time we got to know each other.”
No expression of approval or pleasure lightened the boy’s face.
—The Violent Bear It Away, by Flannery O’Connor
So you want to be an educator? Sure you do.
Well then, here’s a conversation you might have to have with an eighth grade boy one day. And to help educate you, here’s the exact transcription of the one I had to have today ...
THE SCENE: Class is over and everybody’s walked out and Levon is standing by me while I’m seated at the desk in the front of the classroom. Levon has a big wad of handsome brown hair. He smiles so easily and sincerely, and he’s got big brown eyes with big long eyelashes. Exactly, he’s as cute as a bug. Me, I’ve got my hair real nice and swooped back and all hair sprayed and I have on my new black and white plaid pants with a black and white polka dot tie with black and white check fabric cufflinks and a French blue shirt with the white contrast collar and my fancy loafers. Sugar, somebody call 911.
THE EDUCATOR: When you farted real bad in class today did you do it on purpose?
LEVON: No. No. It just came out!
THE EDUCATOR: Okay … but you saw how it totally messed everybody up and disrupted the class and I had to ask you to go outside for a minute and all that and it took me a while to get them back on the subject.
THE EDUCATOR: Are you sick or anything? Do you have any medical issues right now that's making you fart real loud in class all the time? You know, like you've been doing all dang week.
LEVON: No sir!
THE EDUCATOR: Okay … now you know if you feel one coming on in class you know how to squeeze real hard to hold it in, right?
THE EDUCATOR: Okay … and thanks for using your manners, by the way. I really appreciate it. So let’s do this from now on … if you feel a good one coming on you don’t even have to ask me … just get up and go into the hall and crank it out or go out the other door and crank it out while you’re walking around in the grass or the driveway out there. Just cut all those bad boys loose and then come on back in and learn some Georgia history. I know you can do it.
LEVON, LOOKING AT THE TEACHER AS IF THE TEACHER WAS A PIECE OF ABSTRACT ART: Todd, you're freakin' nuts, too.
Next Entry ... August 21: Et Toot, Too, Elmo?