Witty Commentary vs. Kindergarten Tactics 

Some of the kids I work with are still learning social skills and appropriate ways to frame a question. One student in particular will just look at the teacher I work with or myself and just say one word and expect us to know the rest of what she is thinking.
  The other day as we were covering the year 1929 in History class she looked at me and said, “Great Depression?” I’m trying to break her of this habit so I use a bit of humor when trying to do so.

 I looked at her across the study table and said, “I have been a little down, thank you for noticing…”

 She looked at me, rolled her eyes, quietly smiled and reframed her question.

 Later we were learning about the Dust Bowl and the effect it had on the economy. Another student asked me a question which I replied also with what I believed to be witty commentary pertaining to the subject. She too rolled her eyes.  

 Because the students have had enough of my historical observations they have all come to give me the same look my mother gives me when she has had enough silliness. So they have started retaliating.

 They retaliate in the way they best know how, pithy jabs at my appearance. A couple of weeks ago I needed to get my bangs trimmed. This is a task I took on myself. Usually when I do so only hairstylists tend to notice the imperfection in the cut. As soon as the teacher I work with and I greeted the students in the morning for school, one student blurted out, “OH MY GOD! THOSE BANGS!” She really didn’t need to comment, she already said everything with her face before her exclamatory outburst. Rest assured I had a comeback.

 “Since my hands are usually full I can’t wave to people, so I cut my bangs to do the waving for me.” A collective eye roll happened from a few students this time.

 Later in the day we were covering Norse Mythology for our English lesson. The teacher and I started bantering back and forth when the students and I suggested “Thors-day” we should do something. Then I quickly quipped, “But we have to keep it on the ‘Loki’ (low-key)”.

 “OH MY GOD! THATS HOW WE KNOW SHE’S A NERD!” yelled the normally quiet student in the back.

 Another time the students collectively started to egg the teacher on about how they deserved a treat for being so good and earning good grades for the week. He looked at me and said, “I think they might deserves something for that, don’t you?”

 “Yes, they do…”

 I started a slow clap.

 The entire class turned their eyes toward me. One girl sitting next to my desk defiantly shouted, “NOOOOOOOOO! NO. NOOOO.” Little did I know I was about to get my comeuppance from her.

 This same student was standing behind me in line as we were leaving from choir. I felt something on my elbow followed by the student saying, “You have old lady elbows.” I quickly jerked my arm away.

 “Leave my old lady elbows alone!”

 “But they’re so wrinkly!” she said with a giggle.

 This time I had nothing to retaliate with.  

 Earlier in the year the student I first mentioned who only asks one worded questions was working on a different history project. She was a brand new student in the class and as we were all talking somehow one of the boys made a comment on how I used to be a kick-boxer and boxer. As I was leaned over helping her with her work she poked my arm and said, “Then how come your arms are so squishy?” I think this might have been when it all started with my commentary.  

 As I’m writing this an epiphany occurred. We are stuck in a vicious cycle of eye-rolls and Kindergarten tactics. Kindergarten tactics beget historical and literary one-liner jokes and puns. One-liner jokes and puns beget eye-rolls and Kindergarten tactics. Honestly though, it is a cycle I prefer to be stuck in and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

What cycles have you been stuck in? Did you ever want out?


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