Monday, February 3, 2014

James Treadwell

No Child Left Behind
By James Treadwell

School is about so much more than just teaching and learning. 

It's about flicking the lights on and off while you're standing by the door waiting to go to your next class as if you've just discovered light switches. It's about making an NBA moment out of every crumpled piece of paper you throw away. It's about flicking water on the back of people's necks while making fake sneezing sounds. It's about jumping up to hit the top of every door frame as you pass beneath it. It's about giggling absurdly when a teacher uses the word "balls". It's about delighting in anything that can be stuck to the ceiling. It's about going to all six school dances and successfully not dancing at all six of them. It's about buying five big cookies at lunch and throwing away the apple, granola bar, and ham sandwich you had packed. It's about a 45 minute lesson being reduced to 10 because there's a bee in the room. It's about shielding your eyes during a test to give the illusion of deep concentration while you not-so-stealthily look at someone else's paper. It's about loudly squeaking your sneakers with every step when you discover they're wet and with a little extra effort you can make them squeak with every step. It's about needing to use the bathroom eight times over the course of seven hours, but only Mondays through Fridays. It's about applauding extra, obnoxiously long at an assembly to try to be the last one clapping. It's about screaming "IT'S SNOWING!" and madly dashing to the window like a miracle has just occurred outside. It's about peeing on the seat just because you can. It's about trying to convince every sub that the teacher usually lets you do a bunch of stuff that the teacher would never ever actually let you do. It's about sitting eight feet from a pencil sharpener and claiming you can't do the work because your pencil's broken. It's about compulsively making shadow animals and peace signs on the screen during a presentation if you're within arms reach of the projector. It's about going to the nurse for unknown, undiagnosable, and entirely undetectable ailments. It's about knowing, to the second, what time every class ends, but remaining clueless as to the start time of any of them. It's about fighting to get the sports page or comics section of the newspaper when you're putting paper down on your table in art class. It's about swearing on your Grandpappy's grave that you turned the paper in when truthfully you did no such thing, but it might buy you some time. It's about launching out of your seat to be the first to the light switch when the teacher needs them off for a movie. It's about incessantly pleading to go outside during class because "it's soooo nice out", then proceeding to go home and sit inside the rest of the day no matter how nice it is outside. It's about tipping back in your chair despite the number of near misses, times you've been told not to, or concussions you've sustained. It's about single-handedly blasting a hole in the ozone layer by deploying absurd amounts of AXE™ body spray in the locker room after P.E. It's about fashioning projectile weaponry using rubber bands and tightly folded pieces of paper. It's about mastering the art of gum concealment within one's oral cavity. It's about being a teacher and frittering away your planning period making lists of ways students fritter away the periods.

School sure is about an awful lot of things. The best we can do is try to squeeze in some teaching and learning somewhere...

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