Sunday, August 30, 2015


Once again it’s the start of a new school year. This year I have only one new student. My position shifted from 2-4th grade to 3-5th grade. So I have the exact same students as last year, plus one student who moved here over the summer. That means that we are all well acquainted with each other. But I’ve found over the years that it doesn’t matter too much because I seem to have some of the same characters in my class, no matter what school year it is. If you’re a teacher, you may recognize some of these students. Some years you may have slightly different characters, but I keep seeing certain characters in my classroom. At the end of the school year, one of my characters will advance to another classroom, but on the first day of school I can almost hear the voice-over guy say, “Now playing the role of The Hypochondriac will be Johnny Smith”. Marvelous. I was just getting use to the other guy in that role.

I would say they are like Batman villains, but they are not nefarious. At least not in their characters they play in the classroom. And maybe the roles aren’t natural, but they just fill the open role so there will be a well rounded sense of annoyance in the classroom every year. So here we go, here is a list of characters I seem to always find in my class.

The Compulsive Denier.  This kid will deny everything. If ever accused of this he would deny it too, of course. He will deny obvious accusations only to try to change the subject and point his finger at someone else in the classroom, even me.
This one will probably be a politician.

The Negotiator. The negotiator wants to haggle with you over the amount of school work she is assigned or the amount of free time she will be allotted for the day. I’ve spent less time with a border-town blanket salesman then with this student on a single math assignment. They will also try to assess the fairness of each assignment, asking several times if it is necessary and if everybody has to do these.
This one will probably be an attorney.

The Hypochondriac. This character always has something wrong with him. It’s amazing how many headaches this student will get when it comes time to read an article for science. But 30 minutes later, he has miraculously healed enough to play a game of dodgeball during PE. He’ll shrug off a ball blasting him in the face, but whimpers because of eyeball trauma caused by typed words on paper.
This one will probably be an insurance claims adjuster. (When he shows up for work)

The-One-Who-Makes-Weird-Noises-But-You-Don’t-Know-Who’s-Doing-It. (I couldn’t come up with a one word descriptor.) I’ve always had one of these students in my class, but not always making the same sound. I’ve had whistlers, clickers, chirpers, smackers, and knockers. Any sound that can be done incognito will do the trick. They have mastered the ventriloquist’s craft and share it nonchalantly with the whole class. Usually while I’m discussing something the State of Alaska Department of Early Education has deemed important. They can even mimic the look of annoyance like the other kids while making the sound. 
This one will probably work right next to you at whatever job you have. 

The Clinger. This is someone who thinks I’m a piece of gym equipment to be climbed on. This one usually uses ninja style tactics to leap out from obscurity and latch onto my shoulders from behind, hanging on me like a cape. My usual style of persuasion, “Get off of me you weirdo” doesn’t seem to deter the clinger. She just jumps off and plans her next stealth attack.
This one will probably appear on American Ninja Warrior.

The Never-Ending Storyteller. This character loves telling stories but most stories end with, “Oh, I forgot what I was going to say.” Mainly because they got lost in their own convoluted and meandering zig zag. The stories never go anywhere because the direction keeps changing. And never has an end. And it’s hard to stand there and listen because you don’t want to interrupt the child. But at some point you have to just move on. With everyone else’s lives.  
me: Who in here has ever used a telescope?
chronic storyteller: (hand raised high and jazz hand)
me: (looking around room of any other hand)(sits down) Oh alright, would you like to give a brief description?   
cs: One time I was helping my dad look for our dog. He was kind of old
      and had a paw that was fluffy. One time our dog chased a rabbit, I 
      I think it was kind of red colored, and the rabbit jumped through    
      the old fence by the barn. We used to hide my brother’s toys in 
      there when he was being a brat. (pause and a look of confusion) I 
      forgot what I was going to say.
me: That’s alright. I forgot what I asked. Lets take a break.
This one will probably become a blogger.

Again, this is not an exclusive list. You may have experienced different characters in your life. Because we all can agree that these kids grow up to become coworkers of all of us. Hell, we were/are some of these characters ourselves. These characters are in every office, firehouse, submarine, police station, dispatch center, garage, lab, warehouse, church, package delivery service, sports team, etc….. If you’re not sure what character you are, just ask the person playing The Know-It-All at your job site. Don’t worry, they’ll tell you.