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Valentine’s Day Massacre February 16, 2009

Posted by alwaysjan in Holidays, Teaching.
Tags: , , , , , ,



I often ask my third graders if smart people can do stupid things (and yes, I use the “S” word).  In September, when I first ask my students this question, they answer with a resounding “No!”  Obviously, they have yet to get to know me.  I set them straight.  Smart people do make stupid mistakes because we’re all human.  This is their first inkling that I (their teacher) am actually human.  I then proceed to explain that smart people (like myself) learn from their mistakes so we can get busy making new ones.  

This said, I did something really stupid last Thursday when my class celebrated Valentine’s Day.  No sooner had my students walked in the classroom than I was deluged with chocolates and cards.  One girl handed me a single red rose.  It was wrapped tightly in plastic with lipstick kisses printed on it and secured at the bottom with a tiny gold-colored cone that looked like the tip off of cupid’s arrow.  My first thought was, “I better get this rose in some water.”   Never mind that I don’t have bud vase.  I would commandeer some kid’s water bottle.

I tried to pull the rose out of its golden cone, but it was secured tightly.  So I got my big TEACHER scissors and proceeded to cut this annoying gold thing off so I could remove the plastic.  Once the rose was laid bare on my desk, I couldn’t help but wonder what that shiny silver circle was glued to a leaf. That tore off easily enough, but then there was that glue on the leaves. That’s when I noticed some pesky wires that I’d severed when I cut off the cone.  I took a closer look and realized the rose was fake.

Now, there were two explanations:  1) The rose was actually a high-tech explosive device and I’d successfully disarmed it, and in doing so saved the lives of my entire class (making me the hero), or 2)  The wires that I’d severed had another, less sinister purpose.  I traced the wires and found they led to a small bulb hidden in the center of the rose. Damn!  So the answer was 2 (making me the goat).  We hadn’t been in class ten minutes and I’d already trashed one of my gifts.  I decided to come clean.

I called the girl over to my desk and explained how when I saw how beautiful the rose was, I was compelled to cut off the plastic so I could put it in water, and it was only then I realized it was a “special” rose.  My face was a red as the rose, but here’s how I saved my very red face.  I told my student that now I could slip the rose through the button hole in my jacket and wear it as a corsage.  I demonstrated and she seemed pleased.  I bundled up all the wires inside my jacket so I didn’t look like a suicide bomber, but throughout the day I looked down to see them dangling.  Oops.   

I asked my student if she knew that the rose was “special” when she gave it to me.  She nodded.  Yeah, that figures.  It was unusually hot last Thursday, but I never took off my jacket.   I wanted my student to remember how much I loved my “special” rose corsage.


1. ummmmheyyyy - February 16, 2009

Look on the bright side. If you hadn’t cut it with your TEACHER scissors, you could have electrocuted yourself by sticking the “special” rose in water.

P.S. you’re funny! It’s not often I find a blogger who actually writes, if you know what I mean.


2. Catherine Sherman - February 16, 2009

You always could think fast! And make us all laugh afterward. A belated Happy Valentine’s Day and an early glorious President’s Day!


3. elissestuart - February 16, 2009

Oh dear. Look at it this way, when she’s in high school and has to do a timed writing, she will have great material for an easy “A.” Provided she remembers what you taught her about nouns, spelling, paragraphs…etc….


4. lilikaofthelake - February 16, 2009

You must be doing a fabulous job with your class if you think they are ready for CIA special ops wiring techniques. What kind of class are you teaching again? Third grade special forces … “Jan – Open your Anarchist Cookbook class to page 22”
I love your third grade adventures. HaPpy St, vAlentineS month. 🙂


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