My students are quite comfortable with asking me somewhat inappropriate questions. That is not a good thing. All it takes is one not-so-innocent query, and they are off to the races.
On Monday, as I was returning graded assignments, with the intent of discussing the errors and enlightening their spongy minds thirsting for knowledge meted out in a trickle so as not to choke them, a fly was flung into my educational ointment. "Did you dye your hair?"
I continued to pass back the papers. "That is a bit personal. It's not the kind of question that you should ask while I'm trying to start class."
"I just wondered. Because it looks darker." She smoothed her own locks. They were back to their normal hue, after a month of parading as two different impostors.
"Maybe I fell into the Fountain of Youth." That rendered Rapunzel speechless. But awoke a slumbering giant seated two rows over.
"Were you drunk? That sounds like something you would do when you were drunk."
I let this one go. No need to feed the trolls. They quickly tire of the game when they don't receive feedback. That's the fine art of teaching. Knowing when to respond, to what extent, and when to ignore. The papers were handed back, and class began as normal.
Today, my younger students started the would you ever inquisition. Not at the beginning, but just before the dismissal bell. It began with a boy telling the girl next to him that he wanted to come to school in a dress, rip it open down the middle, and reveal black biker gear. He turned to me. "Has a guy ever worn a dress to school? Can you get in trouble for that?"
I explained that any clothing that caused a disruption to the learning environment could result in a trip to the principal's office. Dress Dude went on to describe his outfit. It would be pink. He would have a string of beads to swing around. That put his confidant in question mode. "Would you have piercings? Tattoos? How about for twenty dollars? Would you get a tattoo if somebody bet you twenty dollars?"
I stated that the twenty dollars would be gone in a jiffy, but the tattoo would last forever. No, a few students declared, they could be removed. "You're right. By being burned off with a laser!" I always like to inject a dose of realism into their dreams.
That started my line of questioning. I was asked:
Would you ever get a tattoo for twenty dollars?
One hundred dollars?
Would you dye your hair for twenty dollars?
Get your nose pierced?
Get gauges in your ears?
Thankfully, the bell rang. I don't know why they think I need extra money so badly.