Remember that show? Hosted by Bill Cosby in the late 90's or something...
My first year of teaching, I was thin. It was caused accidentally by a mix of stress and not enough hours in the day to squeeze in my meals. My second year of teaching, I was (apparently).... not thin. This was news to me, delivered, free of charge (except at the expense of my ego), by Kassandra.
Thank you, child.
Adults never tell you if you've gained weight. Kids on the other hand, have no qualms about it. As we were dismissing from school one day that second year, Kassandra comes up to me and gives me a hug. She squeezes me (looking back on it, I wonder if that was the catalyst), looks up and asks,
"Ms. Mystery, you pregnant?"
Flabbergasted, I respond. "What? No! What makes you think I'm pregnant, Geez Laweeezzz woman!'
Kassandra: "You look bigger than last year, like your stomach and stuff."
Holding back a tear and a fist (not sure which would have come first) I reply,
"Oh, it is probably just this baggy sweater that I'm wearing..."
I'm just trying to redeem myself here! Save my dignity from an untimely death! But no! She just won't quit!
Kassandra: "No, I don't think so, you're definitely fatter, I noticed it before too."
WHAT?! Really?!? Shot through the heart! This is just not fair, damn it-- so what if I snarfle a 99cent, packaged cinnamon roll from the bodega across the street every other day. So what if I raid my fridge immediately upon entering my apartment and consume food straight through the evening until I get into bed at 11pm? So what?! Just because she's a kid, all of a sudden its OK to say things like that? All of a sudden, an insult becomes a 'darned thing?' She shmutzes BBQ chips all over her face for breakfast in our school cafeteria, chug-a-lugs high-fructose corn syrup for lunch, and vacuums down pastelitos (like beef patties with dough) for dinner. Not to mention, her stomach-- yes her fat stomach-- hangs over her pants, giving her a gigantic Dunkin Donuts muffin top at all times, aannd her plumbers butt comes to visit the entire class at least four times a day when she bends over to pick up the pencil she dropped.
Allll that and then has the audacity to tell me I'm FAT! (Pregnant, whatever, same thing). That is NOT how shit works around here!
Kids do say the Darndest things, don't they? Asshole.
- Mystery Me
- I started writing this blog in 2008, toward the end of my first year of teaching. These posts about my experiences as an NYC Department of Education teacher have been (and continue to be) assembled over a period of several years. They don't necessarily need to be read in chronological order, but my very first post, "Context" (March 2008) might be useful as an introduction into this lunacy. While most of my stories highlight the ridiculousness of being a public school teacher, I should note that I love my students and care deeply for them. So as you read, please keep in mind that I do in fact have a soul, as well as a heart; and that heart of mine brims with pride every time I think about my students' talents and breaks with pain every time another one gets screwed by the system.