I’m trying to polish off the last few tasks that were lurking when I came back to work from having a carpal tunnel release surgery a few weeks ago. It’s rainy and bleak outside for the seventeenth time this week, so scoring grade seven essays fit the mood.

The school year is punctuated by all sorts of events, uplifting, stupefying, stressful, and ridiculous, depending on the day. I think teaching junior high exposes a person to a bit more of the outlandish in a week than the average person encounters in a month or two. That said though, I like junior high because the kids are learning about the world and starting for the first time to seriously determine what they want their futures to hold.

Sometimes, a kid says something so funny that I can’t help but share it. It’s pretty common for the kids who are “talkers” to start each class by engaging me in conversation, usually to tell me about their weekend plans, their new smartphones, or the fact that their hamster disappeared last Wednesday and there is now a funny smell in the laundry room. I love hearing about kids’ lives, and I’m touched that so many of them think enough of me to have a casual chat about what’s going on for them. One day this winter, my exchange with a grade nine student went like this:

I’ve subbed “kid” in for the student’s name for the sake of anonymity. I don’t usually call them “kid” generically. 

Student:  Morning Miss.

Me:  Hey, Kid. How was your weekend?

Student:  Good. Me and my brothers and my dad sent my deer off for wrapping.

Me:  Nice. I bet you’re excited to eat some of your own deer.

Student:  Yeah. I bet she’s delicious. I can’t wait.

       Note to readers: I grew up in a rural area, and my own dad and brother are big hunters: this is not an              abnormal conversation for me.

Student:  (opening up his binder and finding his homework) Hey, Miss, have you ever had mooperoni?

Me:  Have I ever had what-er-oni?

Student:  Mooperoni.

Me:  Kid, I have no idea what mooperoni is.

Student:  It’s pepperoni, but it’s made with moose meat instead of whatever they normally use.

Me:  Ah. Yep, I have had a lot of moose pepperoni over the years. I’ve just never heard it called that.

Student:  We ordered a bunch from my dad’s moose. I’m pretty excited.

Me:  Nice. Enjoy it. I like the garlic sausage best.

This is the part where I teach for a few minutes, because that’s what they write my paycheque for. Then, I have a thought and turn again to the kid, who’s working hard on his grammar. 

Me:  Kid, I have a question.

Student:  What’s up?

Me:  Well, if mooperoni is made of moose, what is pepperoni made of?

Student: (nonchalantly, without missing a beat) Cheerleaders.

Sometimes the entertainment value of teenagers is off the charts. Stuff like this doesn’t happen at “normal” jobs.

copyright 2011:

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