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Rebel Yell: Give Todd A Holler

September 8

“You have a package here,” the postal clerk said when she called, “and it’s clucking.”

“The It Bird” by Susan Orlean


Dear Dixie,

Today I instituted something awe inspiring, history making, and totally unique in the annals of addled teachers thinking up new stuff.  It’s the new Wiggly Plucked Chicken Award for Class Participation.

If this invention increases my student's class participation and at the same time saves the world from evil, bad manners, certain local and national TV news anchors, muffin tops, Lewis Grizzard impersonators, and lack of global harmony, I’d like to be given full credit on TV after a buffet dinner with all the world's leaders.

Successfully received by its participants?  Oh, what a happy day. 

Written up on the board this morning as they ran into The Cozy Room of Learning because they missed it so much over the three day weekend was, Introducing a New Award … The Wiggly Plucked Chicken Award for Class Participation.  Todd wishes you … Good Cluck!

Some got it.  Some didn’t.

I wiggled the chicken above my head.  Its head and neck and legs were flapping around and making sounds.  I was squeezing its belly, which feels nice when you do that.  I said … the chicken asks you are you asking questions.  Are you answering questions?  They don’t have to be correct, but are you trying?  The chicken politely asks are you paying attention.  The chicken asks if you’re offering up discussion questions.  You aren’t asleep are you, the chicken is wondering.

Dexter’s eyes were slits.  His head was about to drop onto his chest.  I yelled his name as loudly as I could. 

Dexter freaked out. 

I would not have been surprised if he asked me to go to the bathroom to change his shorts.

Levon asked, while I was still wiggling the chicken above my head, if it was edible.  Is the chicken edible.

No.  And please do not lick, bite, or gnaw on the chicken.  Don’t fry it—boil, bake, broil, grill, roast it, or microwave it.  Don’t bar-b-que it.  Don’t massage it.  Hugging the chicken is okay since you’ve earned it.  But please don’t kiss the chicken.  They laughed like hell.  With real and genuine joy.

Todd, how to we obtain the chicken?

Wonderful question.  For those who pep up their class participation I’ll chuck the chicken to you and you’ll get to keep the wiggly plucked chicken on your desk and allow it to be your friend until someone else does better than you then I’ll give the chicken to them.  At the end of class, the last two people who possessed the chicken will have their ongoing class participation grade increased by three points as well as have the pleasure and the pride-inducing feeling of dipping their quivering hand into The Drawer of Happiness.  Any questions about the awesomeness that is happening in the world right now?

Debbie said she felt like she was in first grade.

I went over to Debbie’s desk and tried to poke her with the beak of the chicken.  The chicken, you would suppose, is dead, but its eyes are open.  Like I said, a creepy quality to doing better in class.  The beak is half open.  The chicken looks like it’s about to scream something.  Debbie juked her head from side to side and I never could get her with it.  Plus, Lurlene roams the halls all the time and looks into your door window and this would not have been a good scene.  I went up to the front of the class and made another pronouncement: Never question the chicken.  I wiggled it one more good time, and then said it again.  Never question the chicken.  Don’t cluck with the chicken.  The chicken is always right and correct and omnipotent and plucked.  On my desk in the front of the classroom I placed the chicken on top of a book: Understanding Flannery O’Connor.

Debbie rolled her eyes. 

We accused her of being glum in the face of wiggly plucked chicken happiness.

After a few minutes I discovered something: when a wiggly plucked chicken is at stake, boys class-participate a whole lot more than girls.



Next Entry ... September 10: Show And Tell Merry Mary