Saturday, March 15, 2014


March seems like an incredibly long month. I think that standing next to February, a much shorter and balder month, makes March seem more substantial. Another reason is because every March, the students kind of turn on me. Not in a violent sort of way, but like a pack of passive/aggressive wolves. They move in a fluid, well coordinated motion. It is imperative that no student ever gets behind me or else I fear they will attack. Or take shit from my desk. Wolves are like that, putting their grubby paws on my stuff.  
Documented proof of me being attached by students.

One reason the kids turn into some sort of wolf/gremlin hybrid is because they are getting tired of me by this time of the school year.  And they have reason to be. They have sort of hinted at this, saying, “We, as a class of small wolflike creatures with grubby paws, are tiring of listening to Clay. We would appreciate if you would allow for more goofing off in the classroom.” I am of course paraphrasing. What they actually said was, “Stop making sounds out of your face!!” Then they stick their fingers in their ears and scream like goats. As you would expect, this is an unpleasant experience. This is March.

The kids are making other animal sounds during class. These outbursts are unexpected and unappreciated, by me at least. One sweet little girl made the sound of a donkey braying. Unprovoked and loud. (Although I’m not sure how one would provoke someone   into making that sound.) Right in the middle of a math test. And the oddest part of this true story is that nobody turned to look and see what was going on. And she went back to her math, just like she hadn’t emitted that awful sound. It was as if I was the only one who noticed this and found it out of place. This is March.

Here we have a student ready to fire.
By the time we make it to March, the kids have had six months of practicing their school farting. School farting is the art of passing gas at a moment's notice and without regard to decency or decorum. If one kid farts, others in the class will discharge within seconds just to show that they can too, similar to how dogs bark at each other at night when you are trying to sleep. Only now you can smell the barks. And the pride they have! Zero shame and high fives. Some weeks I let them choose what spelling words to use for the week. Last week one student’s word was “fart”. No, I told him, we are not using fart as a spelling word. “How about butt fart?” No, I told them, we are not using butt fart as spelling word. Besides, butt fart is two words not one. Their reply? “Ha Ha, Mr. Clay said butt fart!”  This is March.

March is half way done. The sun is out much longer now and continues to give us 6 minutes more each day. Every year goes like this. And every year I realize at this time that maybe it isn’t the kids who are turning on me. Maybe, just maybe, it’s their teacher who is getting grumpy. Maybe their teacher got tired and started feeling sorry for himself. So I remind myself that making barnyard noises and smells aren’t the worst things in the world and try to appreciate my surroundings a little bit more. But I will not turn my back for one second. Because this is still March.