Twenty-Five

“Shorter of breath, and one day closer to death.”

-Pink Floyd

Halfway through my 20s already?  Crap.  It seems like only yesterday I was out catching turtles with Luke and Justin, telling immature jokes and seeing how much we could eat without puking.

Okay, technically we were doing those things less than a year ago, so I guess age is what you make of it.

And with that, I would like to count down 25 “Working in Iowa” thoughts in honor of the years I have been alive.

  1. When you work with kids, they fart. A LOT.  Usually on you.  One minute you’re answering a child’s question, the next Phil the Fart Monster slaps you vigorously in the face.
  2. There is no good way to respond when a child answers “Jesus and God” to the question, “What do animals need to survive?”
  3. Kids give you an automatic +5 cool points for being a male teacher. Hey, I don’t make the rules, but hell if I don’t exploit them.
  4. Midwestern children cannot understand New York accents. I frequently translate for my Bronx-born boss: “Don’t worry kids.  She meant DRAW, not DRAWER.”
  5. Nobody ever wants to be the mascot at special events. Which is awesome, because I dominate it.  Look up “Puddles the Blue Goose” on Google.  Now look up “Puddles the Blue Goose Twin Cities Marathon.”    That’s me.
  6. Due to a sizing error, I only have one shirt to wear for work.   Do you know what happens when you do public speaking five days a week in one shirt?  It appears as though you use sticks of butter for deodorant.
  7. Steel-toed boots are incredibly uncomfortable and unnecessary for teaching. And yet they are part of my uniform.
  8. Half the parts of my uniform are made in China. Which seems weird for a federal organization.
  9. Teaching makes the day go by incredibly quickly.
  10. Teaching is like an out of body experience. I don’t feel like it is me when I’m doing a lesson.
  11. Leading questions can be dangerous around young children. For example, trying to teach the word “scat” by saying, “It’s the scientific word for poop.  It starts with an S…”
  12. Another example: “Why do you think your dad wears camouflage when he hunts?”

“Because my Grandpa used to wear camouflage, and daddy really misses grandpa.”

  1. Children think my ability to walk backwards is amazing.
  2. They also think my drawing skills are amazing. Naturally, I take advantage of this and draw a lot during lessons to fish for compliments.
  3. Parents nowadays seem to spell their children’s names oddly instead of coming up with new ones.
  4. “Err, I’m gonna need help with your name.”

“Semaj.  It’s ‘James’ spelled backwards.”

  1. Kindergarteners are huggers.
  2. I have good hand writing by 4th grade standards. Not sure if that’s a compliment or insult.
  3. Asking questions is pretty much the golden rule of teaching. Not only does it get you out of having to know all the answers, but it keeps kids engaged.  Once they hear an answer, the learning stops.
  4. Kids can break your heart.

“I’ll miss you, Mr. Patrick!  This was so much fun!  I wish I could stay…”

“Don’t worry, you can come back and visit with your family!”

“We don’t have a car.”

  1. Knowing the delay on the classroom light sensor allows you to appear godlike. I add a “Let there be light!” for theatrics.  Kids eat it up.
  2. Time outside is too structured for children. We need less rules and more freedom.
  3. I wonder if I’d have chosen an outdoor career path if I wasn’t free to do half the crazy shit I did while out exploring nature.  For example, I used to pour pancake syrup on ant mounds and watch the different ants come up to eat it.  If you waited long enough, ones with wings came!
  4. Kids don’t get my Lion King references.
  5. I love my job.

Thanks to everyone who wished me a happy birthday!  I’ll be home in Minnesota this weekend due to an Iowa prom party (long story).  So I probably won’t have time to post until after Tuesday.

I’m sure you’ll be waiting with bated breath.

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