Yesterday in after-school tutorials, one of my students, Danny, asked me where to find a certain passage in the play we've been reading. He was retaking a test and needed to refer to part of the play. Annoyed at his laziness, I told him to find it himself. He became frustrated and said he had to go soon, but I remained firm.
A few minutes later, I heard what sounded like a bird chirping outside my door. I knew it must be Mark, a student that makes the perfect imitation of a bird chirping. He does this so often he doesn't even know he's doing it. I looked up, saying, "Here comes Mark." To my surprise, it wasn't Mark that walked through the door; it was Brandon -- with a box of cheeping chicks. I jumped up in delight and began pulling them out of the box, kissing them and fawning all over them. I didn't even ask why he had them or anything -- I was just so excited to be cuddling baby chicks for the first time in my life.
Well, after a few minutes, my classrom phone rang. I asked a student named Greg to get it for me, since it was closer to him. He answered the phone and after a pause, said in a formal and apologetic tone, "She's holding a chicken right now."
I set the chicken down and hurried over to the phone. It was another teacher, whose first sentence was "He said you're holding a chicken?!"
"Yes, I was," I said, but she went into her reason for calling without asking any more about it.
Once off the phone, I went back to the chicks. After a few more minutes of croons and kisses, the chicks suddenly began pecking at my hands, then at each other. It looked like the box was about to become a cock-fighting ring. I asked what was wrong with them and Brandon said, "They're hungry!"
"Well, feed them!" I said, distressed.
"We have to go get the food!" He explained. "I'm waiting for Danny!" (Danny and Brandon are both FFA kids.)
I turned to Danny. "You need to feed those chickens!"
"That's why I needed to find that passage! Because I have to leave to get the food!"
"Put that test down and go get those chicks some food!" I exclaimed. "You don't need to be in here taking a test when those chicks are hungry! You can finish it another day!"
He quickly put the test away and he and Danny booked it before I could scold them any longer.
Good grief. I may be an English teacher but I'd shove Shakespeare in a ditch before I'd let a tiny, yellow, fluffy, cheeping bit of cuteness go hungry.