DIXIE DELIRIUM: Ramblings On The Fine Art And Act Of Teaching
Extra Credit Reading: I Was A Wide-Eyed Substitute Teacher, Too, Before All This Got Started
A DIXIE DIARY: The Spring Semester Of My Rookie Year
Is Teaching Fun?
Old Burrell Almost Killed Me In High School Lit Class. Now I'm What You Call His Colleague
Classroom Confidential: Bodily Funktions
Teachers Have To Write Essays, Too. Here's 932 Southern-Fried & True Words Of My Own
Essay A Go-Go: What's Up With Them Adults?
Rebel Yell: Give Todd A Holler

October 15

Times have definitely changed in the Bible Belt.

—Georgia Curiosities, by William Schemmel


Dear Dixie,

Since the beginning of the year Spike has been pestering me about selling his soul.  Not to Satan.  To me.

I’ve been pushing him off.  That’s an important decision in a kid’s life.  I’ve been telling him to sell his soul to his parents.  I said I bet they’d appreciate having you in their grips even tighter, but that suggestion didn’t deter him. 

The next couple of times Spike asked me I had some conversations with him about very strongly considering selling his soul to Satan and getting the inevitable over with.  That Satan could probably offer some perquisites that I couldn’t, me being earthly and all.  This didn’t deter Spike either, as attractive as selling your thirteen year old soul to the big mischief maker should be.  Anyhow, Spike was even more glued to his belief that if he sold his soul to me that that would make him a better student and human being.  I was deeply flattered.

So I finally told Spike I had some conditions for the sale, and if he agreed to the conditions, then he could sell his soul to me.

Of course, Spike was eager to know the conditions.

I told him that anything and everything I asked him to do … then he had to do it without huffing or puffing or rolling his eyes or whining or moaning.

Spike asked me to give him an example of what I might ask.

I said sure.  How about studying the material for my class, asking good questions, and turning your essays in on time?  All of your essays ... on time.

So Spike sold his soul to me, and to commemorate the agreement I bought a five-foot long plastic skeleton in the Halloween decoration section at my local Wal-Mart and took it home and spray painted the side of the skull and some of the joints and a little bit on both shins with red paint.  You know, to resemble the blood that he’ll be shedding for me while his soul was my property and he was being a better student and person. 

My youngest son, Zydell, a ten year old fifth grader, helped me paint the skeleton and knew the reason why we were painting it.  Zydell said there ain’t a freakin' teacher at his school who would ever think of something like this

I told Zydell to stay hopeful.

I put the skeleton, representing Spike’s sold soul to his Georgia History and homeroom teacher, in a decorative wooden box that I have under a table in the corner of The Cozy Room of Learning.  On the outside of the box are two, old-timey, mustachioed gentlemen looking at the flight of a golf ball one of them has just launched.  Like they say, Every shot in golf pleases someone.  Under the two golfing gentlemen it says, Hoylake 1928.


Today, I described to my guys in homeroom the new agreement between Spike and me.  They were real excited.  Then we decided to call the box ... The Box of Sold Souls.  Instantly, Clark asked me could he sell his sold to me instead of Satan and for me to go to Wal-Mart this weekend and get another skeleton.

I gave Clark the same soul-selling conditions I gave Spike.

Clark said he really wouldn’t be able to do most of that stuff.

For the rest of homeroom, Spike would jump up and open the lid and check on himself and tell everybody he was doing fine and sit back down.  Then he'd jump back up and check on himself about ten seconds later.

As a fairly mature and responsible schoolteacher, it sure does feel wonderful to successfully motivate a student and to deny Satan at the same time.



Next Entry ... October 20: Spike Takes Language Arts Seriously