Friday, December 18, 2009

Jingle All the Way.......

I have a small collection of Christmas-themed sweaters and vests. I have far fewer than I used to have, however. I finally started getting rid of some of them a couple of years ago. Some of them were in pretty bad shape, and I still hated to get rid of them. Especially the peach-colored one with the curly-haired ragdoll on it. The hair looked just like mine. It also had jingle bells and a whole bunch of other decorations on it. I hereby officially apologize to anyone who was forced to see me in that sweater.

One of the benefits of being a teacher is that you can get away with wearing things that you normally wouldn't be caught dead wearing. I even went on this personal crusade to have enough Christmas-themed sweaters to wear a different one every school day in December. Seriously. It made clothing decisions so much easier, at least for that one month out of the school year.

Then of course I had to have earrings and socks that went along with the sweaters. It wasn't difficult, since those were inexpensive gifts that students tended to get for their teachers anyway. I'm not sure what happened to the days when students gave their teachers gifts. Instead of a hard time.

The closer we got to Christmas break, the more ostentatious my sweaters got. I saved the really tacky, really outrageous, really NOISY ones for the last few days before vacation.

This was also back before the days of block scheduling, when our semester didn't end before Christmas and we didn't start school shortly after the Fourth of July. We didn't have final exams to use as a classroom management tool, so the only thing we could do as teachers was schedule a really hard, really long, really important test for the day we got out for Christmas. It was the only way to survive, I promise.

One year I was fully armed with my hard-as-heck test for a classroom of advanced ninth graders. I had on my stern face and my you-aren't-on-Christmas-vacation-until-the-last-bell-rings attitude.

Oh, and I had on my Christmas sweater with the jingle bells.

And my bell necklace.

And my bell earrings.

And my socks with the bells on them.

The room was dead silent during the test. I walked around the room to make sure no one was cheating, sleeping, copying, or getting all happy about Christmas break.

The room was dead silent, that is, except for my jingle bells. Jingle bells on steroids.

On one of my circuits through the classroom, I approached the desk of a girl named Sunshine. That wasn't her birth certificate name, but it was the one she went by. And it was much easier to pronounce and spell than her birth certificate name. And it did NOT describe her personality most of the time. How do they know these things when their children are mere babies?

When I got right next to Sunshine's desk, she looked up from her test -- for which she had obviously NOT studied -- and snarled, "Why don't you GO SIT DOWN somewhere?"



Finish your test.

Have a good Christmas.

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