Unbagging the Cats 1

Unbagging the Cats 1

Friday, February 18, 2011

Island Vacation Subdues Teens

I spent the day basking on Study Island. That's a site where students can practice the type of questions that will be used on state-sanctioned evaluations for specific grade levels and subject matter.

You would think a learned educator such as myself would be prepared for a voyage to Study Island. Perhaps a hamper of cool beverages was in order. As well as an Igloo Playmate filled with refreshing cucumber finger-sandwiches. Round that out with a tube of sunscreen, a good book (Bright Lights, Big Ass), a visor to keep Val's lovely lady-mullet out of her eyes, a large beach towel suited for lolling...and you've got a relaxing field trip to a tropical paradise.

Or not.

Did I mention that I had 21 students as my companions? Their company was quite enjoyable. But I, as Val, their fearless leader, was there to rescue those who swam out toward the rip tide. To apply sunscreen. Swab Neosporin on sliced toes. Minister to the nauseous. Mend broken hearts. Send up the signal flare when our rowboat drifted away. It was a working vacation. Of 50 minutes.

Forget the beverages and sandwiches. No food or drink allowed in the computer lab. The sunscreen was needed only when the large swaths of maroon fabric draped over the two tall windows fell down, setting the stage for a focused beam of sunshine from God's magnifying glass. Since the student handbook requires shoes to be on feet at all times throughout the school day, no Neosporin was needed. Seasickness was not a problem in our  lab built on bedrock. The only couple present had managed to survive the full moon unscathed, with intact hearts. And a land bridge back to the main hallway put the kibosh on any signal flare ideas.

Oh, but it was hot! Those computer technology instructors must have lizards in their family trees. My class needed an excursion to a sweatshop to cool off. If only someone had brought along beef from yesterday's lunch, we could have made jerky. And had 30 minutes left to practice the forgotten art of mummification. Several texts came in from hell, pledging ice water as soon as their shipment arrived. My face turned flaming, fire-engine red. It emitted enough heat that the girl at the computer next to me said, "I stink. I can smell myself."

Around the room, students lay draped over the backs of chairs, like so many Salvador Dali timepieces. Their listless, languid limbs waved feebly, like sea anemone arms slyly beckoning prey. Discipline was not an issue. Survival was. I circumnambulated the room, restoring passwords, leading my scholars to knowledge, unwittingly scorching them with my blazing solar countenance.

Mercifully, the bell rang. My charges peeled themselves from brown plastic chairs. They shuffled over the carpeted shore, eager to escape the broiling ambiance of Study Island.

We set sail again next Friday.

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