So, this morning in my classroom I am talking to my students about summarizing stories, and I wad up a piece of trash from the floor and toss it into the wastebasket. They all do the collective, “Ohhhh!” thing, like I’ve performed a miracle from two whole feet away.
A bit later, during Math, I attempt to write on the board with one of last year’s markers. It makes squeeky noises but leaves no mark. I turn and toss the pen into the trash can – -this time about five feet away. No big deal — little pen, big can. Still, the kids all, “Ohhhh!” I tell them they are way too easy to impress, and that they don’t need to go thinking I’m all that.
Later, as Science comes to a close, my water bottle reaches empty. I am standing at my desk where one of the garbage cans should be — but it is not. I ask where it has gone. Tonio* says, “Oh! I moved it to empty the pencil sharpener and forgot to put it back.” He starts to get up and move it, but another kid says to me, “Throw it!” All of the kids yell, “Yeah!”
I tell them not to be silly; not only is the garbage can clear across the room, it is on the other side of the file cabinet. I can’t even see it. Still, they want me to throw the bottle. I figure, why not? I’ll miss and the novelty will be over. So I give it a toss.
I hear it strike the garbage can, but don’t know if it went in, or bounced off the rim. My students don’t react. There is no cheer — no boo — no change of expression at all. I can’t read them. “Well?” I demand.
Two kids answer. One says, as though it were no big deal, “You made it.” The other — wearing a big grin — says, “You missed by a mile.” The remaining 21 just sit there, looking at me. I still can’t read them. I look at Rico* and say, “Where’s the bottle?” He points at the floor and says, “Right here.”
I reply, “See, I told you I am not all that.” And the kids fell out laughing. Val* said, “You made it, Miss.”
And I did.
An empty plastic bottle, 25 feet, over the top of the file cabinet and into a waste basket I couldn’t even see. Where’s an NBA scout when you need one?