September 16, 2008

the parable of the whoopee cushion

every teacher in history has undoubtedly had times when they thought, "yes. this is a classic teaching moment. hip . hip . hooray . " [please note sarcasm] well, I had one today. my delightful a4 class was - once again - having a hard time focusing their energy. some students were talking too much, some weren't talking at all (but pretty close to snoring), and some were simply being hooligans.
now let's just get this straight: i didn't know whoopee cushions still existed! i thought that time was long passed. apparently not. i thought i'd heard a loud noise, but i couldn't pinpoint what it was and where it was coming from. well, one student ratted another out, bringing me the whoopee cushion - holding it like a trophy. "sister peterson! sister peterson! it's a whoopee cushion! it was damon's!" and of course it had to be perfect timing - we were right in the middle of discussing Jesus Christ's baptism by john the baptist. yeah, whoopee cushions definitely add a whole other realm to the spiritual environment ... not.
needless to say, we had a nice little chat - first with two trouble-makers out in the hall, then with the whole class - to clarify the expectations i have for them in seminary and what happens when students don't act appropriately. i made sure to remind them that it is not because i want the spotlight! it's because it's through the spirit we can all be edified and the spirit comes when we're behaving appropriately.
as i told the story to my fellow seminary teacher, he said, "oh good, you'll only have to remind them seven more times this term!" haha .... oh the truth in that statement. joyful, joyful day!