A Drawing of a Goatee: The Surprise Reason

In trying to keep things in perspective for myself here is another interesting moment that happened to me in class the other day:

I was doing my thing and teaching. Doing what I normally do, getting around the room, helping students, answering questions, asking questions, etc.  A student comes up to me to ask to go to the bathroom.  He had drawn a goatee on his face.

I looked at him confused.  I wasn’t sure what exactly he was doing and my brain struggled with how to react.  Part of me wanted to laugh my head off.  The other part of me felt like I should tell him to go wash it off because I can’t have him walking around with a distraction like that or if he left the room the other teachers would like, “Why did you let this kid draw all over himself?  Schwarten must be a horrible teacher!  He never pays attention to anything.  Even when the kids are drawing all over themselves!”

So we sat there looking at each other.  Me trying to still be the teacher I need to be, so I asked, “Um…  _____ , What is the goatee all about on your face?”

He looked at me and said, “I just want to have a goatee like yours and be like you.”

I looked at him, signed his agenda book to let him go to the bathroom, and just said, “One day it will come in.  Just be patient.”

Who knew that was what was going on in his mind?  I guess I could have gotten angry and told him to wash it off, but then I would have missed the reason he had it on his face.  I did still tell him to get the ink off his face when he left, because he was going to the bathroom after all, but man did that make me smile.  Sometimes teaching middle school is kind of fun and goofy. 

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