Looking at one, among the many children I taught over the years that had given me cause to start my bimonthly commitment to Miss Clairol, I smiled.
During the last school year, I found a fun project that compared and contrasted Red Pandas and Giant Pandas. It ended with a final project that utilized a Google Slide presentation. My sixth graders enjoyed this unit since, with their final project, my students could team up with others in the classroom.
Now, as an instructor for over twenty years, I can sometimes discern when my students want to try to press their luck or try to slip in some ornery pranks into their work. For those special children that start to ask questions that flip my “uh oh” radar, I have come up with a solution that has worked for the most part; I simply reply, “keep it granny friendly.”
Still, every now and then, one mischievous child comes along and pushes the boundaries that are expected in the classroom setting. And this year, the child in question happened to have an angelic face that would mask his devilish intentions. With his strawberry blonde hair, his spattering of adorable freckles, and an enduring grin, this kid knew how to work his charms, especially those of the grandmotherly persuasion.
This little guy and his partner in crime decided to work on their panda assignment together. Since these two little guys required extra attention in the classroom, I knew I would have to pay close attention once they started their project. Dillon and Nate, not their real names, had quite the knack for finding trouble, and with these two, their team task proved to follow suit.
At one point, Dillon came to me and quizzed, “Can we include pictures in our slides?”
Glancing at his delightful little face, the wicked gleam in his eyes hinted that I should answer his question with caution. “Of course,” I replied. Since his freckled face broke out in a mischievous grin, I reminded, “Keep it granny friendly.”
Once he raced back to his computer station, I slowly walked around the computer lab. Stopping here and there, I admired the work of my students. I answered their questions as they diligently worked on their presentations. From across the lab, I heard Nate frantically tell Dillon, “That’s NOT granny friendly!” My teacher senses tingled since, as I anticipated, one of my boys was up to no good. Remaining calm, I smiled and pretended that I did not hear the panicked voice of Nate as he warned his friend of his irreverent ways.
Gliding around the room while cautiously moving towards my wayward child, I continued replying to my students’ queries while acknowledging the hard work of those that stayed on the straight and narrow. Peeking at the boys in question, I watched as the two huddled and whispered to each other. Dillon grinned from ear to ear. Poor Nate, on the other hand, that had recently spent his time in In-School Suspension, was trying to reform his friend and show him the errors in ways. Still, Dillon just smirked as he scanned the internet for pictures.
As I worked my way to their corner, the panic in Nate’s voice rose to a high shrill. “Dude! That is not granny friendly!”
Once I arrived at their station, Nate jumped to his feet. He stammered and stuttered and tried to explain, “Really, Ms. B. I tried to tell him that this was not granny friendly.” Glancing at the subject of Nate’s distress, Dillon wickedly smiled while waiting for my response. Finally, I looked at the computer screen to discover the horror behind Nate’s reflection. Keeping a straight face was difficult, for poor Nate visibly winced as I looked at the screen. Two Red Pandas were locked in a very suggestive embrace.
“Well?” The devil’s spawn questioned with an upturned smile.
“Well,” I replied, “Nate was correct. This is not granny appropriate.”
Standing, Nate groaned and slowly sank into his chair. Dillon, on the other hand, was not quite ready to let it go. “What’s wrong with this picture?” He demanded.
Nate, through clenched teeth, loudly whispered, “Shut up, shut up, shut up!”
Looking at one, among the many children I taught over the years that had given me cause to start my bimonthly commitment to Miss Clairol, I smiled. “You know perfectly well what they are doing.”
“No, I don’t.” He challenged. “because they are just cuddling!”
Nate groaned and dropped his head into his hands. As Dillon continued with his rights to creative interpretation, I quietly told my rebellious youngster that he knew the pair was “copulating.”
Since Nate had quite an extensive vocabulary for a child of his age, he continued to mumble to himself in solemn despair. Dillon, however, looked up in confusion since the term had was foreign to him.
“What does that mean?” He demanded.
Standing up quickly from his chair, Nate shoved his friend into his seat and hollered, “I will tell you later!”
Looking at Nate, I asked, “Ya got this?”
“Y Y Yes, Ma’am.”
As I walked away, I tried not to laugh as I heard Dillon’s friend whisper into his ear. “It means getting busy.”
Finally, I had to turn to see Dillon’s reaction. His face turned to a bright red, his eyes were the size of saucers, and his mouth had formed a full Oh! Although he knew what the pandas were doing, he never expected that I would call him out on his naughty deeds. For once, my kid was speechless.
Shortly after our discussion, the bell rang, and the boys quickly exited the lab.
For the rest of the day, I chuckled about my kids. Once school was over, the two boys made their way to my classroom. With sufficient remorse, the two boys came up to my desk.
“May I help you?” I questioned.
The two stammered at once and apologized for what had taken place earlier in the day. Dillon asked, “Are you going to call my parents?”
“Should I?” I responded.
He hung his head. Since I knew Nate harbored the same fear, I told his friend, “Next time, you should listen to your friend when he is trying to keep you from getting into trouble.”
Nate sighed in relief, and Dillon replied, “Yes, Ma’am.”
“Well, I think you learned your lesson, and in the future, I believe you will keep your assignments ‘granny friendly.’”
The two happily shouted their thank-yous as they headed for the door. Stopping, Dillon, my stubborn boy that always had to have the last word, remarked, “I still can’t believe you said ‘copulating.’”
Nate froze, horror written across his face.
“And I can’t believe you tried to post a picture of two red pandas getting busy.”
Beet red, Dillon stood in the doorway, shocked as Nate shoved his friend out the door.
Before rushing from the classroom, Nate turned and smiled, “Thanks, Ms. B., I will see you tomorrow.”
Nodding in response, I smiled.
Teaching has been rewarding and never dull, especially with unruly boys that sometimes forget to keep things ‘granny friendly.”