21 January 2009

Teacher Annalog: The Gas Man

This month, I'm teaching students from grades 3 to 8. I feel sort of like a schoolmarm from the prairie days. Because most of our students attend international schools, we're able to run our classes in a more western style. We're less grade or test score oriented, and more about helping students become thoughtful readers and articulate writers, as well as making learning fun. Lofty goals, I know, but we try our best.

I haven't blogged much about work. For one thing, my boss is my cousin, and my family reads this blog. Keke. Also, I don't know if I've become a better teacher or perhaps I'm just getting more cynical, but I don't have as many teaching horror stories to report this time around. This story, however, is one that I'm dying to share.

I just started teaching a class of 3rd grade boys a couple of weeks ago. Even though the class is draining, I enjoy the challenge, especially because kids will do or say the darndest things.

Last Friday, two of the boys began gagging and waving their hands in front of their noses. "Eww!" whined one boy. "Somebody farted." We all immediately turned to the one, silent boy.

"Sorry" he shrugged with a sheepish grin. "I farted. I couldn't help it."
My olfactory systems a bit off, but that's when the offensive smell seemed to pervade the classroom. I even had to stop one kid from seeking refuge in the storage closet. It was bit of a circus.

I have to give myself credit. Rather than gagging or giggling like a school girl, I managed to say in a firm, yet sympathetic voice, "Farting is a natural bodily function. I know that sometimes they can't be controlled. Next time, if you feel such an impulse and can't control it, please excuse yourself, and go in the hallway."

A hour later, we were in the midst of an activity when the Gas Man suddenly shot up from his seat and ran to the classroom door. Forgetting what I had said earlier, I said sharply, "Where are you going?"

With half of his body out the door, the Gas Man whispers loudly, "I have to fart."

"Oh, okay. Quickly! Go in the hallway."

Gas Man returns to the classroom with a gigantic, satisfied smile. I feel like I should pat him on the head or give him a liver snap. Instead, I just say. "Thank you."


Anonymous said...

i wonder if that 'technique' would work with adults? - the excusing of oneself to relieve oneself.

it IS a natural thing, and i guess with family or close friends, sometimes i feel THEY feel obligated to fart in your presence, or to announce it before doing the 'offending' gesture, or in some cases just let it 'rip'.

i should point them to this post, or better yet send them a link because they could learn a lesson and be more like 'gas man' and run to the nearest exit.

Anonymous said...

Reading that post made me think about that scene in the Korean film, Marathon. The mother teaches her autistic son to fart outside.

Links to those scenes:
Scene starts @ 5:45


And another @ 4:46