Saturday, July 10, 2010
Somebody STOLE my Red Pen !
About 6 years ago, around the time that "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" came out, I had a young man in my class that I will call "Mike." Mike was a class clown, always looking for a laugh, and never seriously interested in school. We got along fairly well; I think he appreciated my dedication to teaching along with my sense of humor.
Mike came to class one day, wearing a tall white top hat, giant googly white glasses, and black nail polish. Whenever I would look in his direction, he would blurt out, "DON'T STARE AT ME !" to which I finally had to break down laughing as he looked like a complete spectacle. "I'm sorry," I would reply, still laughing, "I have to look at you to teach you."
Now at that time I was still using the overhead projector for class notes. As was often the case, whenever I misplaced an overhead pen, usually the red colored one, I would state, "Somebody STOLE my red pen!" I would look through my desk drawer and through assorted papers and overhead sheets. It became a running gag of sorts, in homage to the early comedy of Steve Martin.
Mike's antics continued throughout the year, and finally I was able to give him a small dose of his own comedic medicine. He came into class chewing gum one day, and I directed him to make a deposit in the gum bank (which is the trash can.) As he came up to throw the gum away, I placed my finger over my lips after he passed as I walked over to his desk and discreetly slid the red overhead pen into his notebook. The class immediately caught on to my gag and began to giggle.
Turning on the overhead projector, I exclaimed, "Somebody STOLE my red pen!" looking around my desk. Mike immediately chimed in blurting out, "Oh, no, not THAT dumb joke again!" He rolled his eyes and made sort of a show out of it, mocking me. The class broke up into stitches knowing what was coming.
"Wait a minute..." I frowned, focusing on him because of his outburst. "I'll bet YOU are the one who has been stealing my pens!" I pointed my finger as the class practically erupted. "Oh yeah, RIGHT!" Mike replied.
I approached his desk keeping a straight face, picked up his notebook and gave it a shake. "Ah HAH!" I exclaimed as the red pen came out. I picked it up and held it aloft for the class to see. He was completely surprised as the class broke out in laughter, but appreciated the humor. "You set me up," he declared, smiling. We had a good class day of learning after that.
Teaching has become progressively more difficult over the years, with ever more duties and responsibilities assigned with less time to take care of classroom related tasks. It's times like these, which are not forgotten, that make the effort worth it.