Oh, Boy! by Pete Springer

Who knows when I first met Pete Springer? The guy is amazing. Not only was he an educator for 31 years, he’s published a book on teaching (that I read and reviewed!) and is working on publishing a novel for young adults. In his free time, he continues to influence and praise the work of teachers, administrators, hairstylists, family members, waitresses, and a stray dog that looked like he needed a pat on the head.*

Photo of Pete Springer

His only fault was trusting me, Chel Owens, to write a post over at his blog. At least he was gracious enough to repair some of that damage with a post of his own, below.

I give you: Oh, Boy! by Pete Springer

First, I apologize in advance for the list of stereotypical comments that are about to come. I detest making sweeping generalizations about anything, except lima beans—they all suck! When you’re a guy, you can get away with saying stupid and crude remarks like, “this sucks,” because the bar is set so low, and no one expects us to utter anything resembling intelligence.

Boys? I’ve seen my share of them over the years. After all, I’m the youngest of four boys. I also taught elementary school for 31 years, so I’ve spent a lot of time analyzing the biology and maturity of boys and girls.

Photo Credit to Cleyder Duque on Pexels

What people say about girls maturing faster than boys is generally true. I taught in grades 2-6, so I can provide many first-hand accounts to support that opinion. The difference between 2nd and 3rd-grade boys and girls is enormous. (We’re talking Grand Canyon.) I often laughed to myself, looking out at my sea of faces. Most of the girls were attentive and would do anything asked of them.

Meanwhile, boys were often wiggling and unable to sit still. Several times a year, this involved falling out of their chairs. I recall calling a parent once to tell him that his child got injured at school, falling out of his seat.

Just because males are slower to develop than our female counterparts, we must not overlook their creativity. For example, 2nd and 3rd-grade boys don’t look at pencils as tools for writing but as objects to fly through space while making sounds like “speeeesh.” One of the techniques that usually gathered my students’ attention was to stop talking. Awakened from their slumber, they’d look around to see what was happening. “Now that Springer has stopped yammering, maybe I’ll pay attention.” A select few were so oblivious that they didn’t notice the quiet and continued their Apollo space missions while I looked on in wonder.

Speaking of pencils, boys take special pride in sharpening pencils to tiny nubs. I have no idea why this is just a guy thing. Some of my boys would walk up to me in the middle of class to show me their tiny pencils, thinking I’d be impressed. I was not, and even less enthralled when several times a year, they’d get them stuck in the classroom pencil sharpener. My college professors from teacher prep classes neglected to tell me I’d become a skilled surgeon in extricating pencils from the sharpener.

Photo Credit to Pixabay

As boys move into upper elementary school, they become fascinated with jumping. While they no longer fall out of their seats, they have a curious habit of jumping up whenever passing under a doorway. My theory of why this happens is that as boys mature physically, they constantly want to test their bodies. For guys, it’s always about lifting more weight, running faster, and jumping higher. Since I’m declining in all those areas, I look for ways to hang on to my glory days. One of my bedtime rituals is cranking out 40 pushups to prove that I can still do it. 

Another truth for most elementary-aged boys is they love to laugh whenever someone farts. I’ve watched a classroom go from zero noise to uproarious laughter in seconds when someone passes gas. Some 6th-grade teachers like me were brave or foolish enough to take their classes on end-of-the-year sixth-grade campouts as a means of recognizing the end of the elementary school experience. Several times I had to sleep in the same cabin with my boys. With nearly 100% certainty, there came a time when someone would fart, and the rest of the group went into hysterics. What followed predictably was another “accidental” flatulence, and the cycle repeated itself until I instituted a “no farting” rule so that we could go to sleep. It was all rather pointless as there was no way of knowing who the offending parties were in a darkened cabin with twelve boys and no realistic way of enforcing such a stipulation.

People frequently ask me what my favorite grade was to teach, but the truth is there is something extraordinary about every age. I preferred teaching the girls through fourth grade because while the boys were all over the place, the girls were usually eager to please and respectful. By sixth grade, the boys had finally matured (minus the farting), but many of my 6th-grade girls became impossible and downright cruel to one another. While the boys could get quite competitive and sometimes lose their tempers during recess games, there seldom was any carryover once they’d calmed down. By the next recess, everybody was friends again. Unfortunately, such was often not the case with my sixth-grade girls. They had a habit of hanging on to grudges and not being able to let things go quite so quickly.

Photo by Norma Mortenson on Pexels.com

Our upper-grade classroom took on a rather distinctive odor when spring rolled around. I’d describe the smell as a combination of wet dog, vomit, and rotten eggs. The boys, especially those who hadn’t discovered deodorant, were usually the culprits. That was the point I broke out my award-winning hygiene lecture. (Add that to the laundry list of items my college professors failed to communicate.) Upper elementary students are not known for their sensitivity and uttered phrases like, “God, you stink!” to one another. Without fail, some boy would overcompensate by bathing himself in a half bottle of Old Spice aftershave. We all know how brutal that five o’clock shadow can be in 6th grade.

While I like many things about boys, I think it’s time to admit that men have managed to screw up the country after numerous chances. Let’s give the women a chance. Besides, that will provide us with more time to yell at the television during sporting events, drink more beer, and improve our belching and farting skills.

© 2021 Pete Springer


Pete blogs over at https://petespringerauthor.wordpress.com His very helpful and interesting book on teaching is available for purchase at: https://www.amazon.com/They-Call-Mom-Difference-Elementary/dp/1977200052.

Photo of Debbie and Pete Springer

*I have no evidence that Pete patted a dog on the head. I wouldn’t be surprised if he did, though, and even took that dog home and gave it a warm meal.

WINNER of the Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest

So sorry for the delay in this announcement. The judge had a busy day and a headache-d night.

At long last you may know that the winner is:

Woe is everyone

by Deb Whittam

Long have the halls been silent,
The chairs empty, the locker doors thrown open.
Long have the weeds grown,
Unchecked, through the days of winter, cold and dull.
Long has the toilets been clean,
The stains and smears of adolescence finally washed away.
Peace has reigned.
As the bell sounds for the first time,
The rodents, the cleaners, the teachers,
Grimace their despair.
School’s back.
So sad.

—–

Congratulations, Deb! You are the most terrible poet of the week!

Many poets’ works made me grimace today, but Deb’s stood out. She made me believe I was reading a serious poem, then artfully threw the meter off course whilst adding elements like rodents and “smears of adolescence” in there.

But the terrible poetry doesn’t stop there! Read the others, if you are able:

Untitled piece

by Trent McDonald

Teacher, teacher,
Be aware
I just dropped my pencil
Under there
Ha!
I made the teacher
Say “Underwear”!
Principle, Principle
Don’t be blue
I know I took advantage
Of the teacher who’s new
Darn!
He sent my butt home
For my mother to chew
Mother, Mother
Don’t be mad
Only nine months to summer
Then we’ll be glad
Huh!
What’s she mean
It won’t be the worst nine months
She ever had….

—–

SIDDOWN N SHUDDUP!

by Bruce Goodman

Hello Everyone! Welcome back to school!
Murray, SIDDOWN N SHUDDUP!
Paula, I hope your summer time was cool!
Wayne, SIDDOWN N SHUDDUP!
Shirley, you’re acting like a fool.
Frank, SIDDOWN N SHUDDUP!
William, you’re full of bull.
Jeanette, SIDDOWN N SHUDDUP!
Winifred, no you can’t; it’s against the rule.
Neil, SIDDOWN N SHUDDUP!
Oh for goodness sake! I can’t wait for the Christmas break when we celebrate Yule.
EVERYONE! SIDDOWN N SHUDDUP!
Let’s see who does the bester
In this first semester.
YOU’RE HERE TO LEARN SO SIDDOWN N SHUDDUP!

—–

Untitled piece

by Gary

Is it really back to school
In that uniform so uncool
Yep
Do I have to Combe my hair
I’m not allowed to rock in my chair
Yep
Come again, I have to get up at Half past Six
Then get on the school bus with the other lunatics
Yep
Have to eat a healthy school lunch
And in the class I’m not allowed to munch
Yep
I have to learn my nine times tables
And I need to write my name on all the coat labels
Yep
I’m not allowed to pick my nose
While having to write boring prose
Yep
Not allowed to play games of my mobile phone
And if the teacher shouts I’m not allowed to moan
Yep
Must not run and play along the school corridors
And no pulling funny faces at the other choristers
Yep
When I ask a question I must raise my hand
Even when in Latin it’s impossible to understand
Yep
I have to fully button up my school shirt
Always keep the blazer on to hide all the dirt
Yep
Not supposed to throw objects at the head-boy
Be nice to your classmates and certainly don’t annoy
Yep
On no grounds can I fight or swear
Don’t attack the other kids with the set square
Yep
Need to pick my feet up so no scrapping only the floorboards
And certainly I’m not supposed to do rude doodles on the blackboards
Yep
I HATE SCHOOL……

—–

Back to school

by Ruth Scribbles

“Why oh why?”

The children cry

“Yipee Skippy!”

The parents are trippin’

“Kids are goin’ back to school!”

School daze begin again

Hallelujah! Amen!!

Wait!

What?

You need clean clothes

And play clothes TOO!

paper and pencils

And have to work at home too??

OH! NO!!!

BACK to school BLUES!!

—–

Going Back

by Joem18b

my dad was on parole
which was a rigamarole

then he goofed up
but then he fessed up

and back he went to the Big House
quiet as a mouse

i know how he felt, it was a bummer
like with me at the end of each summer

—–

The Fall

by LWBUT

The Summer joys shelv’d

like books to a library.

Autumn faces droop.

—–

Thank you to everyone for playing. Come back tomorrow for next week’s contest!!

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Deb: D. Wallace Peach created this graphic that you can use (if you want) for a badge of honor as the winner:

The Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest

Welcome to the Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest #41!!

For some guidance, click a basic description here. Entrants assume all risks associated with poeming, reading, and laughing painfully.

Here are the specifics for this week:

  1. Topic, topic; who’s got a topic? Ooh! I do; I do!
    It’s Back to School!
    Thank you, Timmy. Now, next time let’s remember to raise our hands.
  2. No teacher actually reads those 500-word essays, so keep the Length above 4 words and below 200. For those in the advanced math group, that’s 4<p<200, where p is poem and 4 is 4 and 200 is 200.
  3. Teacher, should we Rhyme? If you wish, this occasion.
  4. Just Make it terrible! The superintendent of all the area schools must feel compelled to visit and deliver a lecture on “Why One Never Poems Without Reason,” followed by a light refreshment of watered-down punch.
  5. Naturally, this assignment must be rated appropriate for general audiences.

You have till 8:00 a.m. MST next Friday (September 6) to submit a poem.

Use the form below to remain anonymous for a week.

For a more social experience and immediate fame, include your poem or a link to it in the comments.

Share with your friends (and enemies).

Have fun!

 

 

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Photo credit:
Image by klimkin from Pixabay

School Days, Reminiscences of Chelsea Owens

I finally buckled down to answer The Amazing Norah Colvin’s questions on my personal education! Check it out; and see top-secret, photographic evidence of my childhood.

Read Norah, too. She shares awesome educational resources.

Norah Colvin

Welcome to the School Days, Reminiscences series in which my champion bloggers and authors share reminiscences of their school days. It’s my small way of thanking them for their support and of letting you know about their services and publications.

This week, I am pleased to introduce Chelsea Owens. I first met Chelsea when she pulled up at the Carrot Ranch and joined in the flash fiction challenges. I enjoy her wry wit and sense of humour, some of which you’ll experience in her responses to my interview questions. It was also evident in her four creative and original entries in the Carrot Ranch Rodeo fractured fairy tale contest last year. Since I love fractured fairy tales and it was the contest that I judged, the connection was inevitable.

Before we begin the interview, I’ll allow Chelsea to tell you a little of herself:

I was born in Salt…

View original post 1,343 more words

The Teacher’s Child

The teacher’s child is up too soon,
Eyes a-rubbed and cereal spooned.
He’s all his clothes laid in a line,
All washed and pressed with Mother’s iron.
He knows the sun, both ‘rise and ‘set,
He knows who’ll be the teacher’s pet.

The teacher’s child can never shirk;
Can’t hide the notes about late work.
Can’t even hide behind his name;
The teacher’s clearly called the same.
And all his friends know this too well
When he’s greeted by the principal.

The teacher’s child must quietly chew
Another meal from the drive-thru.
“How was your day?” is not his own
When they fin’lly meet his dad at home.
Then he will always share his desk
With thirty other pupils’ mess.

The teacher’s child will wash his sheets,
Will feed the pet, will brush his teeth.
He’ll tuck himself into his bed,
Will tell himself a book he’s read.
And, though her time is far and few,
Will cherish his mother’s, “I love you.”