I have a goofy boy in my room this year (actually, I have more than one goofy student this year but this post is just about one of them). I like C so much. He’s bright and funny, but he is impulsive and so distracted he can hardly sit still for more than a few seconds at a time. One thing that does keep him focused for awhile is my animal books. He loves to look at the animal pictures and talk about them and show everyone, including me. A few weeks ago, he brought a book up to show me, and shoved it in my face. I was horrified when it was a picture of a slithery snake.
However irrational, snakes, even pictures of snakes, are probably one of my biggest fears. Just thinking about the picture of the snake he showed me makes me shiver. Just typing the word snake does too. As calmly as possible I took his arm and lowered his hand away from my face. “Ya know what?” I said, “I don’t really like snakes.” I’ve never told a student that before because I fear that a snake will end up crawling out of some kid’s backpack into the classroom some day.
That was about a month or so ago. Since then, C comes up to me about once a week, shoves a snake picture in my face, and after a second or two jokes, “Oh, that’s right, you don’t like snakes.” I fake laugh at him, trying to hide the fact that my heart has jumped into my throat. C is a reptile fan, and I know he has lizards at home. He’s asked to bring them in to share for our animal unit. Of course he can, but I told him he’d get suspended if a snake showed up. He laughed, getting my joke. I hope he knows I’m also serious.