Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Touch and Go
You’re not supposed to touch the kids. Everybody tells you this, over and over. It makes sense, I guess, what with our litigious society and the nature of the teacher/student relationship. Some crazy or vindictive kid is going to make something up sometime, eventually.

I'm not out there screaming for a return to corporal punishment, but I don’t worry about getting in trouble. I touch the kids all the time. You've got to. In some of the really tiny, crowded classrooms, you practically have to get freaky with someone just to walk down the rows, so it’s often unavoidable, besides it being an essential part of human communication, especially when there's a language barrier.

I try to make sure I’m never alone in a room with a kid, especially a young lady, but I touch the kids all the time. I place a hand on their shoulder as I lean over to check homework or answer a question. I shake hands, or, more often, participate in all kinds of no doubt gang-related hand-jive.

When the kids crowd me at my desk I’ll playfully shove them back. If somebody gets out of line I’ve been known to give a little smack to the back of the head. I’m often tempted to peg someone with a little chalk nub when they’re not paying attention, but usually refrain just because I’m trying to squelch the throwing meme altogether.

One move I haven’t used yet but look forward to trying is the “grab-the-brat-by-the-earlobe-and-pull-them-out-into-the-hall-for-a-lecture twist.” That shit is straight gangsta, but requires a real authoritarian air to pull off properly.

Maybe next year.

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