Wouldn’t it be great to say whatever is on your mind, with no consequence? Go back to elementary school and let your dreams come true. Kids can be so honest that it hurts. Just ask me: Every week I am served a giant platter of truth, served with a side of ridicule, garnished with scrutiny. Not going to lie – it’s a little overwhelming at times. But I really do appreciate all of their honesty, because sometimes I do need to know if my hair looks gross. And then there are other times the kids say just some funny shit, and it’s hard not to laugh. Let’s get rollin’ with some good, some bad, and some plain old ugly truth from my week.
Maddy: “Miss Mackay, what’s that red spot on your face?”
And a happy day to you, too! That’s called a zit, sweet Maddy. In a few years, you too will awaken and realize that the puberty fairy has visited you overnight. Gone is the skin of sweet baby bliss, replaced by pre-teen hell. Now, I was promised that it wouldn’t persist into adulthood, but my dreams were crushed by my dermatologist and false advertising by Neutrogena.
Bobby: “Miss Mackay, do you have a boyfriend?”
Billy: “You can’t ask her that! That’s against the rules, like asking a big girl how much she weighs!
Bobby: “But I know a guy!”
First of all, I’m going to take this as Billy does not classify me as a big girl. (Small victories, people.) Billy, you’re getting an A. Second, Bobby, no, just no. I know you’re talking about your uncle. I went to high school with him and it’s a hard pass.
Me, to the entire class: “Did you all hear the exciting news that scientists have discovered new planets orbiting a star!? Isn’t that exciting? Who thinks that they would like to visit these planets one day?”
Many students raise hands, but one in particular is waving his hand like it’s a damn parade. I call on him.
Me: “Yes, Gerry?”
Gerry: “Mmm yeah, Miss Mackay how long will it take to develop wifi on those planets? That’s the only way I’m going.”
Several other students nod along. Good lord, I pray for the future.
Derrick: “Miss Mackay, I ain’t livin’ the thug life.”
That’s really great, Derrick, because you live in the burbs and your biggest problem in life is that your mom won’t buy you new lacrosse cleats.
Me: “Oh, I wasn’t sure that was option for you.”
Derrick: “Yeah, I’m gonna live that hug life!” *bear hugs me awkwardly*
Me: gasping for air, “Fantastic.”
Watch out, Derrick, that might be considered assault in some states.
Daniel: “I’m trying to make my poem about cows, and I need another word for grass.”
Mara: “Use a thesaurus!”
Hallelujah! It was as though the heavens opened. The children were being kind and helping each other. It really warmed my soul. Daniel ran off, but he returned a few minutes later, very confused.
Daniel: “Miss Mackay, what’s ‘mary-jawn-a?’”
Me: *flashbacks to college abound* “Um, I think that’s a grass for special cows. Really doesn’t fit your poem. How about you write about what a cow looks like instead?”
Me, to a student who copied and pasted his entire report: “You did a great job finding an interesting topic to write about, but you do have to put what you read into your own words. If you don’t do that, it’s almost like you’re stealing someone else’s work. That’s called plagiarism, and it’s very serious. I’ll help you rephrase this first part, ready?”
Matt: *has been looking at me the whole time, and he nods* “You know, you’d probably look really good with some bangs. And I didn’t copy anything.”
Alright, Matt, let’s play hardball. You really didn’t even try to hide the fact you copied and pasted because the HTML links are still blue and underlined. Don’t be dumb, son. And what the hell year is this, 2012 – bangs? Don’t even come at me with that shit.
Nina: *genuinely upset about finishing five problems for math homework* “This is so unfair! I can’t wait to be an adult and do whatever I want!”
Oh Nina, that’s not how it works. But shoot for the moon, kid. Even if you miss, you could land among the stars. Or reality TV.
Overall, it was a pretty tame week. I breathed a heavy sigh of relief and planned to give myself a heavy pour of red. But that pour had to wait until after 8:30 on Friday – I checked my calendar and was scheduled to chaperone the middle school dance. The hits just kept on coming. .