The minute you blog about an awesome day, a Rockstar Teacher Moment, a classroom v-i-c-t-o-r-y, you can guaran-darn-tee the next day will be hell.
It started with Pizza Hut. Or maybe it started with not getting enough sleep last night and noticing a bunch of sleepy heads who wanted to be on their phones in first period. Or maybe it started with The Question (props to Crane on that one).
My kids were tired this morning. I was too. Plus I’m trying this whole bonding thing: enter Pizza Hut. (The whole thing was recorded so this is probably on YouTube somewhere and maybe not exactly as I remember).
So, yeah. Pizza Hut.
“Stand up, stand up, stand up!” I said grapevining across the back of the classroom where I have to stand to teach since giant monitors block their eyes from me if I stand up front.
“Nooooo.” “Ugh.” Various other complaints and the passive aggressive ignore Mrs.Lee continue playing game on computer.
Five of 30 totally in it, standing, ready to do whatever comes next.
“Oh come on you guys! This will be fun! I promise!” Me, looking at a class of kids who want me to just keep showing a PowerPoint so they can check out while looking like they’re totally into photo composition rules.
The sudden dawning realization that I’m not backing off this one. Three refusals still. Whatever.
(Aside: I have no idea where this whole idea of mine came from. One minute I was bored to tears. The next, Pizza Hut.)
“Okay. You’ve gotta do this,” show drawing a square in the air; “this,” show chicken wings; and “this,” show McDonald’s arches in the air.
Interest alights. I’m suddenly hungry.
One kid in the back, or actually now front, “Hey Miss, how is this relevant?”
The class looks toward me expecting I’m not sure what exactly. I mean this is J class and we’re drawing boxes, doing the chicken dance and mimicking McDonald’s arches.
It’s a good question. How is this relevant? It’s a question I should always, always have the answer to in my classroom.
And I do. But first, “Just follow along. I promise I’ll tell you how after.”
Then, “I’m gonna do it first then y’all do it too.”
And I start the song with motions my daughter brought home from camp one summer.
“Pizza Hut, Pizza Hut, Kentucky Fried Chicken and a Pizza Hut.
We sing. No. Three of us sing, most do the motions, the three abstainers look at us like we’re crazy.
The same response.
“One last time.”
The crowd at the back has joined the abstainers, but the ones along for the ride are laughing. And then it’s over and most collapse to their seats like I’d asked them to start marathon practice or something.
And then I explain the relevance.
“It’s fun. And groups that are silly together bond.”
They groan and tell me I’m wrong.
But they’re never going to forget Pizza Hut, KFC or McDonald’s, I bet. And maybe they’ll remember photo composition too.
The rest of the story, and my real moment of almost failure (not the song and silliness, surprise!):
One of the kids I look at as a leader was an abstainer. I kept her after and said, “Ya know, I really need you to participate. When you don’t, others won’t.”
And she reminded me she has extreme back problems and neck problems and they had flared up today.
I knew about those issues, but I forgot.
And then I justified: “next time just shout it out so the kids know WHY you’re sitting.” instead of “oh my gosh! I forgot.”
Bright side: yearbook loved it. And they did Maw-Hu-Saw-Sin today.
Tomorrow is Chicken Butt. The perfect journalism movie.
Because staffs that have fun together and are silly together are stronger. It’s relevant.