The only good thing about starting the new school year is that my supply of funny teenage anecdotes will be replenished.
This is my fifteenth year of teaching, so those first few days of school have lost their novelty. I no longer spend days in the summer decorating the classroom (the posters from last year are just fine); I sleep soundly the night before; and I am not pulsing with excited, nervous energy as fresh new tanned faces come beaming into my room. It's kind of like birthdays after 30: whatever.
But I did learn a few things during this first week of school.
I learned that I am completely desensitized to teenage shenanigans. As an ice-breaker exercise, I have each student introduce themselves by paring an adjective that starts with the same letter as their first name with it and then explain how that word reflects an aspect of their personality. It introduces alliteration, helps them practice elaboration, and helps me learn their names more quickly.
Of course, I demonstrate: "I am Hilarious Holly because I love to make people laugh."
And to ward off trouble, I remind them that their adjective needs to be classroom appropriate.
But this year, first period of the day, first student to introduce himself says this: "I am Juicy Joshua because when you squeeze me you never know what's going to come out."
Day 1, people. Really?
My reaction: I yawned. Forty pairs of wide eyes stare at me. Silence blankets the classroom. Smacking my lips together, I say, "Thank you Josh for demonstrating what is not classroom appropriate and for making me throw up in my mouth before it's even 8:30."
I also learned that I have "swag." In case you don't know, "swag" is short for swagger, which means confidence and "game." So, I guess I'll add that to my dating profile and maybe I'll get matched with twenty-one year-olds. Groovy.
My colloquial lexicon continued to expand. When I asked "Beast Brandon" why he chose that word-- after I told him that it is not an adjective, so then he said, "I meant 'beasty'"--he looked at me and said simply, "Because I'm a beast."
"Well, you don't look very hairy to me," I said. "And your hands aren't claws, so I'm not sure what you mean."
I wasn't sure I wanted to know what he meant; the echoes of "Juicy Joshua" ringing in my head.
"It means I'm tough," Brandon tells me. Then he flexes his cannons, just in case I need a visual.
Upon asking for a more specific definition, I learned that a "beast" can take a lickin' and keep on tickin'. Stars of actions films are usually "beasts," like characters played by Chuck Norris and Jason Statham.
And finally, I can add "put her (or him) on the blast" to my harvest of knowledge for the week. In my junior college class, I have them introduce each other, and one student said about his partner, "She is very shy so she hates that I am putting the blast on her right now."
Being a trained professional and holding a master's degree in English, I was able to figure out what the student meant, but I inquired anyway. I want to throw down my slang accurately. What "putting the blast on someone" means is to draw attention to or put the spotlight on someone. I asked if I could shorten it to just "blasting him/her," but I was told that the "put her (or him) on" part was critical. "To blast" someone is totally different than "to put someone on the blast."
So, now that I've finished putting my first week of school on the blast, I'm going to use my swag to tame some beasts. But, I am not getting anywhere near anyone who is juicy.