so, it’s funny to become a teacher. things that i never ever even considered are now huge major day to day concerns and worries. saying that pencils give me nightmares seems like an overreaction, but ask any title one teacher about pencils. they’ll shudder, i promise.
pencils are a scarce commodity. no one has them. when people do get them, they’re ground into stubs, broken in two, thrown out of windows, rolled around the ground, and used to write notes on desks (my favorite to far: “Ms. Rhodes + Jay-Z 4evr” in a heart). pencils need to be sharpened constantly. i can’t even count the number of times i have had to stop class out of sheer frustration to explain that pencils can’t be sharpened while i’m lecturing. kids will just stare at me, open mouthed, jamming the pencil into the electric sharpener. also, did i mention that i’m on my fourth electric sharpener of the year? and probably my 67th hand sharpener (like the pencils, those also get stolen quickly).
the worst (ask any teacher) is the kid who comes into class every day, sits down with a blank stare for twenty minutes, raises a hand in the middle of whatever i’m explaining, and calmly, like they haven’t said the same exact thing in every class since august 27, 2009, says, “Miss. I don’t have a pencil.” i have a few choice reactions, depending on my mood:
1) Patient Teacher: keep talking to the class, grab a pencil from the five in my pocket or ponytail, hand it to the delinquent without missing a beat. [you caught me on a rare day, and you’re lucky, kid]
2) Sarcastic/ Exasperated Teacher: just stare for four seconds with the “are you serious? are you… serious right now?” look, kid squirms, and i walk away without saying anything. [figure it out or flounder, kid]
3) Teaching Moment Teacher: who can tell [insert name of asshole kid] what we should do when we do not have a pencil? [insinuation so obvious even seventh graders get it: you should freaking know this by now, kid]
the may 2009 me would think i was being ridiculous for even wasting time talking about pencils (much more important things to think about then). now it’s a daily struggle. i’ve become a pencil klepto. pencils are tasty treats that i eye in the school supplies section. my dad sends me bundles of pencils in care packages and relief floods over me. my corporate friends steal pencils from work events and i take them in with open arms. my kids say, “Miss?! Why does this pencil tell me to call D’Angelo’s Auto Insurance for all my insurance needs in Stone Mountain, GA?” “Just appreciate your pencil, kid.”