Occasionally, I get a raging case of the giggles, which is not so bad- it's good to laugh so hard you cry. What is not always such a good thing is getting a case of the raging giggles WHILE I'm trying to teach. In order for me to continue with the story, let me first give you a visual of one of my students. He is a big, dough-y kid with thick glasses and mussed up hair. In addition to the glasses, he usually has kind of a far away look in his eyes, kind of Christopher Lloyd -ish when he was on Taxi. He also has a volume control issue, where he speaks too loudly, but it's inconsistent- odd cadence, too. (I teach language, so I notice stuff like this, big time.) He is quite smart- his accent's pretty good, and he's, well, creative. He's way into Japanese anime, he's usually reading the paper or something else during class, which ordinarily would irritate me to no end, but it doesn't seem to adversely affect his grade. We'll call him Austin.
So, I'm in my 4th Block class, the last class of the day, it's a big class-27 kids, and they love the class. This is good that they love, but it's also bad, because it means they just wanna have fun and we don't get as much work done. So, they are already jacked up when they arrive. I had some "house keeping" sorts of business to take care of at the beginning of class- collecting money for a field trip, handing papers back, etc. I was just settling them down to start our "Anuncio" part of class, where they have to tell the class something in Spanish. I happened to glance over at Austin, who was pouring Sprite from a bottle into the tiny lid of the bottle and was about to take a sip. Sometimes kids do things like this in front of an "audience", for attention. Austin? He was in his own little world, ready to take an itty bitty sip of Sprite. I said to him, "Um, Austin??" , upon which the entire class swung their heads around to look at him and busted out laughing, as did I. I wondered what must have gone through his mind "I've got this huge bottle of Sprite, I wonder what it'd be like to drink it a teaspoon at a time from the lid? Let's see..."
I finally got my own self settled down, making a subtle point not to look in his direction or think about him anymore so as not to crack up- without corners of mouth twitching, small bubbles of laughter escaping, giving me away. I was pretty successful, until he raised his hand with a question about our upcoming field trip to Chicago. On this trip, the kids will have a little bit of free time to shop downtown- at the Water Tower Place. So, Austin asks "During our shopping time in Chicago, do you think I could maybe buy some meat and bring it back?" I tried not to laugh- and failed. At least I didn't spit water out my nose or anything. I did ask him to clarify, and by that I mean I looked at him and said "What?!" The funniest thing was that he thought this was the most natural question for him to have asked. "It's cheaper up there! I can get pancetta and it's way cheaper up there, " he confided, loudly, to the kid next to him. First of all, how does a 16 year old boy know from pancetta? And second of all, what's with the meat purchase?
I told him he could buy whatever he wanted as long as it didn't stink up the bus.
THEN, when I was asking about who was going to Spain and telling them they needed to turn in their registration and deposit, I asked Austin if he was going to go, because he had indicated weeks ago that he was. His reply was "ummmm, ?" I said "Austin, you've got to decide, because we have to send in the money tomorrow. "Oh yeah!" he said, shaking his pointer finger, as if something just occurred to him, "We just bought a house!" I'll take that as a "no".
How lucky am I that I get to be around these characters every day?