What I Learned in School Today

At 51, I would think that I have one up on the kids. Not in the school that I work in.

In alternative education, you hear EVERYTHING. Sex, drugs, and rock n' roll, rap, blues, more sex and more drugs, it is a constant edu-ma-cation.

Today I had a young woman come in and say: "so and so (name deleted) totally freaks me out". "Why?" I query. She replies: "oh he sits in the back of the bus and asks questions like do my curtains match my carpet?".

I look at her, and ask "what is wrong with that?", as I figure that the person asking the question is anal retentive and try and imagine what their home looks like.

The kids AND the staff are staring at me in a quizzical kind of manner. In my naivety, I say "what is wrong with that?". A twitter goes around the room and they look at me like OH MY GOD, WHAT PLANET IS SHE ON?.

I sense the suppressed laughter and know that there is some deep hidden meaning to this question, but at the end of a long week, I cannot figure out what it might be.

Again I say, "what is wrong with that?".

A student takes pity on me and says, "aw Patti, you know, are you a true redhead?".

I instantly know what they mean. I don't blush, as after working there for 17 years I have heard it all.

"OH.........." I reply, thinking about the same question asked by a good friend some million years ago...and the answer I gave her, and the nickname I earned.

I thank them for the lesson for the week, and think back on all the other terms and words I have come to learn...chode, tea bagging, and probably many more that have now become a standard part of my vocabulary.

A teaching assistant reminds me that anytime I don't know what the kids are talking about, I should go to urbandictionary.com and research it.

I am still chuckling to myself, feeling priveledged that I have been let into their teenage world, and amazed at the scope of what I still have yet to learn, and grin knowing how much I love them and consider myself a lucky woman that I get to work with such amazing young people, in spite of the challenges and awkward moments!

Patti O Learner


annie kelleher said…
ummmmmmmmmmmm...so what WAS the answer you gave her and what's the nickname you earned???? enquiring minds want to know!!!! :)
Melissa Harris said…
Hee hee hee. I wouldn't have known either. It's great that you have the " in " to know what's REALLY GOING ON.
Anonymous said…
OMG - just give a call next time.

balloon knots and leather cheerios to all,

P.S. - never let the boys show you their "brains" (that's when a guy puts his junk outside of his pants and hides them under their smocks or an apron.)
I got the curtains and carpet thing (though I have heard cuffs and collar, not that makes as much sense in a visual sort of top-to-bottom way). I need to look up those other bits, though...just found your blog and enjoy it very much. I envy where you live! EC

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