I started teaching with the idea that I had knowledge and skills to pass on to my students. That was my job description as I saw it. However, the feisty and sometimes unruly nature of adolescents in middle school was an obstacle to the flow of knowledge.

I am keenly aware of my uncontrollable giggles when I was that age and still find it hysterical that an English teacher with huge breasts calmly stated to us, “I have two huge things to get off my chest before class today.”

I am sure none of us in class heard what two issues she was trying to explain. Surreptitious glances among us – with, no doubt, images in our little minds of what the teacher’s breasts might be like – spread stifled giggles throughout the room the entire period.

Fast forward … As a teacher, I knew that I was on the other side of the fence. To be frank, I never did instinctively have the knack of easily instilling order and discipline in my classes and, then as now, I was often amazed at the outrageous things that happened in front of me.

For instance, a middle school boy somehow got his tongue stuck in a water bottle. I have no idea how he got it unstuck, but he did. I know I was dumbfounded. You see, this particular situation was never dealt with in the “how to teach” courses! Thinking back, I have no idea what I did that day. Then and now, I found it hysterical.

And how about the young man who got up from his seat to sharpen a pencil and, as he leaned over, mooned us? Unbelievable, you may say, but true!

Or the time I was walking around the room as I taught so I could “assert my presence,” and a student casually caught hold of the sash of my dress and undid it? Good thing it wasn’t a wrap-around skirt! Things could have been worse. As it was, how dignified could I have looked with my cute little green spring dress floating around me? And who knows what adolescent minds were thinking.

The funny thing is that these events (and others, believe me) occurred in a middle school in Portland about 20 years ago. So it is very possible that some readers will be saying, “Oh, my goodness, I was there!” So if you were at King Middle School then, we can all have a good laugh together. I am still smiling.

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