Nothing gets by me…

Nothing gets by me…

As a teacher who is a mom, I pride myself on knowing everything that is going on in my classroom. I tell my students I have “mom eyes and ears” and that I can see everything and hear everything.

When I taught Freshman about 10 years ago, the students were doing a timed writing – so, silent, individual work. As I was surveying the class, making sure they were on track, I see a cute little gentleman in the back pull a rubber ducky (yep. a yellow, rubber, bathtub, ducky) out of his backpack. He then proceeds to ‘walk’ the duck up the arm of the student sitting next to him, while making quiet little quacking noises. I watched him for about 20 seconds, thinking about how to address this. Then I decided to just call him out. “Put the rubber duck away and finish your timed writing!” He looked up startled, threw it back in his backpack and went back to work on his essay.

Other things interesting things I’ve noticed? A student looking up the definition of misdemeanor, a student throwing another student’s shoe in the trash, a kid with about 100 Sweet n Low packets opening them and dumping them in people’s sweatshirt hoods, a boy who was drawing penises on paper and taping them to other kids backs and someone writing notes on the peel of a banana. And these are just the top layer of the stack of wacky.

See?? Mom eyes. Ain’t no one getting away with anything.

(I think you can probably see where this story is going….)

We were drafting an essay in my class about a month ago. My Seniors were all working on their papers and peer editing. Then one of them asks me “Mrs. Gibson, do you like snakes?” It was a super random question, out of the blue. ‘”Ummm…yah. I do.” Then we all start chatting about snakes and reptiles while I walk around and check their work. I am WALKING around the class – this is an important detail. I start to see the kids on one side of the room making weird eye contact with the kids on the other side. Then the smirks start. Something was going on. I look down at my shirt to see if my bra is hanging out. Check to see if my zipper is down. You know, the usual things that high schoolers would laugh at their teacher for. Nothing seems out of place. I could not figure out what the ‘secret’ was that the kids were making eye balls about. The bell rings, they start packing up, and the same girl that initiated the snake conversation calls my name. “Mrs. Gibson!” I look over and she lifts her arm up from under the desk and yep, wrapped around it, is a snake. She had had this snake the WHOLE entire class, everyone knew, it had been crawling on the desk! and I had never seen it one time. What????!!! So much for my ‘mom eyes’.

I went into my back office and was telling a friend this story, totally perplexed that I had missed this visitor for an hour and a half. My TA was also back there, I had had him in class the year before. After my story, he pipes up, “That’s like the Bearded Dragon.” Huh??? He continues,”That’s like the girl that brought the bearded dragon to our class last year. She had it almost every day and you never noticed it.”

Holy stinkin’ moley. What in the actual world??? A girl brought a bearded dragon to class almost every day for 20 weeks and I never ever noticed??? Like the snake, she had kept it in her hoody front pocket. And there I was, teaching as normal, telling the kids I see and hear everything, and yah…. they all knew otherwise.

This was like a big ol’ reality check for me. I guess I am not as ‘good’ as I thought AND it reinforced the idea that students really can still surprise me, even after all these years.

Also, is this a thing??? Kids bringing reptiles to class? I mean the emotional support animals are a big thing right now, but emotional support serpents?

My ‘snake girl’ DID say she wants to get her snake registered as a support animal so she can take it to college…. I wonder if the college professors will notice it.

In the meantime, back in my classroom, I’m gonna have to adjust my spiel about how nothing can get by me and keep my eyes peeled for things crawling under the desks.