Just when I think I've heard it all...that I can not be shocked by anything my students throw at me (and by that I don't mean literally throw at me, because every time that happens, I am shocked)...one of them hauls off and shocks it to me.
"Cough in my mouth!"
Not exactly your standard student-teacher exchange. There are boundaries, you know. Even here in Missouri. So imagine my shock when I was addressed in such a manner.
There I was, standing in the hallway between classes, (I don't know why, because my students tell me I'm the only teacher who stands in the hall between classes, the same as I'm the only teacher to ask for the admit slip after an absence), when along came a lass on the way to my biology class. She stopped momentarily to chat, and I cautioned her to back off.
"I have a cold. Stand back."
I really do have a cold. It's not merely one of my clever ruses to get kids out of my personal space. I thought M'Lass would back off. That's what any sensible English-speaker would have done, don't you think? But not so when the English-speaker is a student. Students are not sensible. They do not enjoy school in the manner a teacher enjoys school, as in a paycheck twice a month, and a job with summers off. Students lay awake in class dreaming up ways of getting out of school.
"Cough in my mouth!"
How does one respond to such a request? Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is no trick pony. She does not deign to cough on cue. And most certainly not into a student's mouth. That would be OH SO UNHYGIENIC. And more than a little bit weird.
I motioned my head toward the classroom. Teacher sign language for get in there! M'Lass followed my head. Good thing, because I most certainly did not want to part my lips to say it with words, lest some projectile spittle erupt and fly into her oral cavity like an errant solar flare cooled enough by its trip through space to not burn tender human epithelial cells. Resulting in an absence-garnering case of the common cold.
I thought I had swept that unseemly incident under the proverbial rug. But then I saw Arch Nemesis striding down the rugless hall after her lunch shift. She locked me into her laser stare.
"I thought I heard 'cough in my mouth', but that can't be right."
"Oh, that be right. Notice that I didn't do it, even though she opened her mouth."
"Well, I would hope not."
Just another day in paradise for Mrs. Hillbilly Mom.