So Guy, who I had accidentally called Guy (the French way) the first day of school, and was now getting made fun of for it because I mentioned how embarrassing mispronouncing a name can be, went out into the hallway to do something. I didn’t even realize he had taken off, but he made the amateur mistake of closing the door to cover his tracks without first checking to see if the door was locked...

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Leaves of Paper: Poems and Stories About Teaching

Guy: Door Licking 101

So Guy, who I had accidentally called Guy (the French way) the first day of school, and was now getting made fun of for it because I mentioned how embarrassing mispronouncing a name can be, went out into the hallway to do something. I didn’t even realize he had taken off, but he made the amateur mistake of closing the door to cover his tracks without first checking to see if the door was locked, which it was. Guy was locked out, and decided to “knock” on the door by using his tongue against the glazed window. Not surprisingly, I hadn’t seen him do this, but someone let him in and said, “That’s disgusting! You licked the door again?”

 

Now, I was a bit surprised that Guy was being let in. I was more surprised that he had licked the door in order to enter. However, I was befuddled by the accusation that he had in fact performed this act more than once under my watch. Honestly, what do you say to a high school student who willingly licks a door to enter a room? I’m always on the lookout for a legitimate teachable moment, and I think the rest of the class anticipated some sort of moral guidance, but I was clueless as to what I should tell him or the class.

 

When a student finally asserted that licking the door was gross because Guy would be subject to licking all kinds of germs, I felt the class could all agree with this summary of the matter and move on to our scheduled silent reading time. However, Guy could not allow someone else to upstage him, and argued that his foray into germ swallowing was not, in fact, “gross.” He returned simply, “That was sexy.”

 

I was caught off-guard by this one, and could only muster a, “That was anything but sexy.” I then couldn’t help but laugh, like most of the students. Someone else added, “You don’t even know what sexy is,” which seemed like it might be true, considering Guy’s current effort to define it. Luckily, reading time was the last part of the class, because each time I looked at Guy, I couldn’t help but crack up.