"Face the palm tree. Face the palm tree. Deep breaths. Deep breaths." I chanted the mantra to myself as I sat at my desk, looking at the lovely Hawaii calendar hanging on the wall. Why did I have to buy that, anyway? With my husband and I both employed as teachers, that calendar only taunts me. And yet, it still gives off an odd and calming vibe. "Face the palm tree. Face the palm tree. Deep breaths. Deep breaths."
It was time to reclaim the term "facepalm," as my face and my palm have met many times this school year. But now, the year is almost over. The kids I have loved and nurtured for the past nine months will move on to first grade. As they leave, I'll jump for joy. Oh, who am I kidding? I'll be blubbering like a baby as I say good bye to my little ones. But after that, I'll jump for joy.
As I look at the calendar picture, I allow myself to sit back and remember some of the more memorable moments from the past school year.
There was the time I was collecting money for a field trip. I told them not to put anything on my desk without their name on it. Poor choice of words. A few minutes later, I looked over at my desk to find a five dollar bill with "Kimmy" scrawled across it in purple crayon. Mr. Face? Meet Mr. Palm.
I showed a picture of a lemon to one of my students and asked him what letter "lemon" started with, stressing and repeating the "L" sound at the beginning. His face brightened. "Lemono!" I asked him what he meant. "You know..." He started in with the alphabet song. "...H, I, J, K, Lemono, P!" Perhaps I need to work on my teaching technique for next year. Mr. Face? Meet Mr. Palm.
Not all of these moments were brought on by students, however. Jimmy, one of the sweetest kids I could ever imagine, has a father who's stationed in Afghanistan. For show and tell one day, he brought in a picture of his father in uniform and some army men figures his dad had bought him. One of the army men had a gun. Well, the principal was observing and Jimmy was suspended, thanks to the school's "no tolerance" rule regarding weapons. Mr. Face? Meet Mr. Palm.
My husband had some moments too. He teaches various since classes for the middle and high school.
On one test paper, the question asked about the parts of an atom. One student answered "Protons, neutrons, and elections." Another answered "Neutrons, electrons, and politics." Well, close. Kind of. Mr. Face? Meet Mr. Palm.
My husband loves Star Wars and likes to have fun with his test questions sometimes. "You are watching an epic battle between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader. You see one-hundred storm troopers running towards you, wielding light sabers. You happen to notice they are three-hundred feet away. If they are running at ten miles per hour, how long do you have to start running?"
Sometimes the students like to have fun with him in return. One student's answer read, "Well, seeing as I am just an observer in this situation, and therefore have no light saber, if one-hundred storm troopers were running at me wielding light sabers, I wouldn’t stick around long enough to figure out the answer to this question!" Creative? Yes. Smart? Yes. Correct? Not so much. Mr. Face? Meet Mr. Palm.
I can't help but shake my head sometimes. So as the stress of the end of the school year mounts, I return once again to my little mantra. "Face the palm tree. Face the palm tree. Deep breaths. Deep breaths." The calendar falls to the ground. I can only laugh, as I look up. "Lord? Please don't let that be prophetic." Mr. Face? Meet Mr. Palm.
Mostly fiction, though small parts are inspired by true stories from my mom's days of subbing and from my days as a student.
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