Thursday, January 22, 2015

Never Underestimate the Power of Persuasive Second Graders!

A different sort of blog today...Sparky is on hiatus, and Jeannie is in her place. (the one and the same of course....) I decided to go back to the first person and report on my subbing experience today...I do a lot of it on Facebook, but today's story is a little too long for Facebook....

So today, I had a third grade in the morning, and a second grade in the afternoon. At lunch time, I hike over to the portable to meet my second grade class. (Many Florida schools have many outbuildings or portables, and the kids get some nice walking from here to there to get to their specials--art, music, lunch, etc. Sometimes you really feel like you are "out in the back 40".) The kids are just coming outside to head to lunch at the cafeteria, some distance away. They see me...

"MRS. SPARKS! Are you our sub?"
"Yay! Will you eat lunch with us?"
Since my morning hadn't been too hectic, I said, "Sure!" The boys wanted me to eat with them, the girls wanted me to eat with THEM! A dilemma. As I brought my tray to the table, the boys are pointing, sit here, sit here, so I plopped down between a couple of them. Four or five of them say, "Yay!" and give me big grins.

Now there's something you need to know about elementary school kids and their lunches. School lunches aren't too swift. Some things never change. The other day I got broccoli and cheese. The broccoli was green, the "tree tops" were huge, and there was a nice cheese sauce on it. Only one problem--the broccoli was very crunchy and no way could you get a small enough piece in your mouth to eat it with good table manners. The only utensils available were a plastic spoon and a plastic fork. If you tried to cut the broccoli into more manageable pieces, you broke your plastic ware. Needless to say, not many kids ate the broccoli and left it on their trays. But I digress...A really big thing with elementary kids, especially the Hispanic kids, is a salty snack that comes in a bag called Takis. Takis are hot chili pepper flavored tortilla chips/strips and they come in a very distinctive purple bag. You see these purple bags all over the lunchroom at my school. They bring them from home. (Note: I do not speak Spanish, so "fuego" was not in my vocabulary. I thought it was a company name or a word for "chip". HA!)

A little boy at my table held one out and said, "Have one, Mrs. Sparks."  I said, "Uh, no thank you. I've heard they are VERY spicy and I don't like things that are too spicy."  He says, "No, they aren't. Have you ever had one?" I say, "Nope." He says, "Try one. You shouldn't say you don't like something if you've never tried it." (!)  I ponder for a moment. I said, "Well, I need something to drink if I'm going to try one."  The boys around him perk up, and a carton of fruit juice mysteriously and suddenly appears in front of me. They are smiling. I wonder why. All the boys are watching.  I say, "OK...I'll try one."   He hands me one taki chip. I take a bite. "Not too bad," I say,  adding, "These aren't so bad."  The kids are watching me very carefully for a reaction. You know that saying, "You can't scare me, I'm a teacher"? I don't give them a reaction. I take another bite, a big one. All of a sudden, the heat hits.  "OH, MY GOSH!" I'm frantically fanning my mouth, I'm trying to drink big gulps of fruit juice from this little itty bitty carton that's smaller than a kids' milk carton, the juice is spilling down the front of me and the boys are laughing their heads off. I'm not joking around any more. Those takis are HOT! Those takis are SPICY! The boys are laughing so hard they are almost falling off the cafeteria benches. My eyes are watering, my nose is running,  and the boys are having a heyday.

I mop the juice off myself off, and say, "Guys, no more takis for me!" And they laugh their heads off some more.....I look up the word "fuego" later, and discover it means "fire."

It was a fun day at school today....Even if that same group of boys were rascals all afternoon.....I love my job!


  1. Hey they got you good, the little devils!

  2. Its great when a teacher is human. Bet they remember this longer than some of their lessons.

  3. Time to learn a little Spanish :) So cute!