Cut. It. Out.

To start the day, my student brings in a picture he drew. It's a piece of broccoli with a face (can vegetarians eat that?), or so I think. Wondering whether the drawing is Veggie Tales inspired, I inquire why he penciled broccoli. "That's not broccoli, that's a picture of you with an afro!" Oh, of course. At any rate, remind me not to get that hairstyle ever. I must not be stimulating these kids enough if they're starting to imagine what I'd look like with an afro.

I've had some difficulty keeping the kids on topic and try to monitor the discussion fervently. However, I become a bit lax(ative?) when the students bring up poop. I selfishly let the topic go on, having missed this type of conversation in life lately. Then the kids start listing different words for poop. That's a good practice in synonyms, I rationalize, and let it continue until someone utters "shit." "That's enough," I interject. "But Mister!" "Oh come on, we all knew we were going to have to stop once you brought up that word." The student slapped his forehead in shame, knowing full well the unspoken rules.

Even though I enjoy inappropriate things like poop, even I wasn't prepared for the giggling at the mention of Charles Dickens. Yes, Dickens. Unable to settle the students down, I lost my cool and said, "You can't be serious!" "Who names their kid Dickens?" asks one. "It's not a big deal," I say. "Some people have the first name Dick." "No!" one doubts. "Sure," I said. "Don't you know our Vice President, Dick Cheney?" Neither student is familiar with Dick Cheney. "Is Dick Cheney a woman?" one finally asks. If I wasn't present, I would not believe this conversation were happening. I take one of the kids' papers and write at the top "Dick --- Richard." "Dick is a shortened form of the name Richard," I explain.

On to the next tangent, though. One kid likes to do the infamous Joey Gladstone, "Cut it out!" complete with hand motions at least a dozen times during the class. I finally have to ask, "How do you even know Full House?" "I watch it every day," is the response, adding "How rude!" "Stephanie?" I ask. "Yeah, she's hot." "You know, she became addicted to meth when she grew up." "What's meth?" Oops. These kids don't know who the Vice President is, I should hope they'd be ignorant to the existence of meth as well. "It's a bad drug, don't ever do it." I pause, hoping the subject will magically change again. Thank goodness it comes, and not a moment too soon. "Michelle is hot, too." "She's a baby on that show!" I object. "Yeah, but grown up she's hot!" "Well they're twins," I point out. "It's Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen." "I know; they're hot." "Actually, they're creepy looking, all skinny and on drugs." "Why is that all the hot ones have to get screwed up on drugs?" my student ponders. Perhaps this student is actually wise beyond his years - it took me until college to reach that insight.

At the end of the day, my student packs up all of his stuff, except for one paper which he leaves behind. "You forget this," I call after him. "I can't bring that home: you wrote 'Dick' at the top!" Indeed, I had. Granted, it was in the name of instruction, but the bottom line is that I wrote "dick" on his paper.

This is my life, people. Even I can't believe it.

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