Unbagging the Cats 1

Unbagging the Cats 1

Monday, July 2, 2012

It's Not the Heat. It's the Aridity.

Don't turn away because you can't face reading about the heat wave again! There's a real story here. Without all that much to do with the weather. I just couldn't resist the title. I like to think I'm clever. Which, apparently, is not such a good thing these days.

The heat wave has baked the earth. It's dry. Sofa king dry. "But Val," you say. "What IS sofa king dry?"

I guarantee that any of you who have ever spent quality or quantity time in a classroom full of eighth grade boys, or have ever BEEN an eighth grade boy, will be familiar with the term.

At one point in my career, I was entrusted to teach at-risk youth. I'm not complaining. I enjoy working with that demographic. Some of them are downright geniuses. They just don't apply themselves to book learnin'. Oh, but they apply themselves whole-heartedly to testing boundaries.

As luck or misfortune would have it, the first year this class was created, it was alternated with physical education. Non coed physical education. So some days, I had about thirty at-risk boys in my classroom. Boys. No girls as buffers. No reason in the world for eighth grade boys to curb their uncouth ways. Nobody to impress but other eighth grade boys.

One young Einstein was unfailingly polite. Not in a smarmy, Eddie Haskell way. But in a pretend-innocent, un-feather-ruffling, non-aggressive way. He would ask questions to which everybody knew the answer. But in a manner to try and entrap me in something somewhat inappropriate. Not having been born within the previous twenty-four hours, I was onto his tricks. A clever comeback would shut him down until we next convened.

Little Einstein tried for an entire class period to get me to say those words. Sofa king. The first tactic was to say something not quite discernible, except for those two words. The goal being for me to repeat it. "Sofa king WHAT?" However, I put the kibosh on that attempt by only replying, "I'm sorry. I couldn't hear what you said." Even though I did.

Next, he tried to tell me that he had gotten some new furniture from that store. The Sofa King store. Did I know where it was? Had I ever shopped there? Again, the goal being for me to say the words as I ruminated, "Hm. The Sofa King store? I don't think so." But I didn't bite on that bait. I just said, "No. And I don't plan to."

By then, the other boys were kind of snickering at his predicament. I had gained the upper hand by playing dumb. Little Einstein yawned and stretched. "I'm sofa king tired. Have you ever been sofa king tired, Mrs. Thevictorian?"

"No. But if you're that tired, you need to go explain it to Mr. Principal. And since you seem to be so preoccupied with royal furniture, you might want to stop by the counselor's office. But, since you're so tired, I can call them both in here right now, and we can discuss the situation."

"Oh, I don't think that will be necessary, Mrs. Thevictorian."

"I didn't think it would be."

In case you're still in the dark about sofa king, try grouping those three syllables a little differently, and putting the emphasis on a different syllable. Uh huh.

Or just ask an eighth grade boy.


Leenie said...

I've always said anyone who teaches kids that age is either a good teacher who really loves teaching or is way on the other end of the teaching spectrum. There's seldom middle ground in a place like that. You're obviously on the high end of the first alternative. It sounds like those boys met their match and lost that round. Heh heh.

Joanne said...

That little sleeper.

Stephen Hayes said...

I must admit that I had to say this out loud several times before I got it. I guess I'm no young Einstein.

Val said...

I used to prefer middle school age. Now they wear me out. I'm happy with ninth graders. Not as much energy to burn, but they still have that curiosity, that spark.

Heh, heh. Sometimes, kids that age are are simply full of shoot.

Hmm. You must have been an exemplary eighth grade boy.