Even more balls

I have two brothers and I teach high school.  If I don’t hear about private parts, then I’m not listening.  While I have perfected the art of selective hearing, it’s not as effective as you think.  Two of my favorite funny stories have to do with a group of freshmen I worked with eleven years ago.  

There were ten of them and I would regularly take them another room for reteaching and tests. The school had limited space, so we’d often have to meet in one of the LifeSkills Rooms.  This meant it was full of medicine balls, light switch panels, bean bags, and a collection of tennis and golf balls.  Obviously, the ideal learning environment for a large group of less than motivated high-energy teenage boys.

Fall 2003:
There were enough chairs, but the beanbags and medicine balls were clearly better choices.  We were trying to read “Of Mice and Men” together, but everyone was too distracted by Rusty who was trying to bounce around the room on the medicine ball. After a few requests to sit still, I finally moved him to the other end of the room.  

He was quiet for a few minutes, suspiciously so.  I turned to check on him and found him tossing the tennis balls up in the air.  

Exasperated and with little forethought, I said, “Rusty, if you can’t play with the big balls, what makes you think you can play with the little balls?!”  There was dead silence from the others and Rusty cocked his head to the side and responded, “So I can’t play with any balls at all?”

Winter 2004:
We’re back in the same room, all others are in use.  The tennis balls aren’t there, but someone had bought several more medicine balls for the LifeSkills class (and consequently got rid of a few chairs), so now I had five boys trying to bounce around the room.  

I finally had to banish the medicine balls to the corner of the room and the boys had to sit on the floor, but every time I turned around to write on the board, someone got a ball out and chaos ensued.  It got so bad that I shortened my command to “No Balls” which got a few snickers, but I was beyond pissed at how long it was taking to get the material, so the laughter didn’t last.  

Near the end of the class, after what felt like a million years of taking the balls away, I shouted at them, “I said, ‘No balls!’ What do I have to do, make a t-shirt?!”  There was stunned silence and then I hung my head in surrender and tried to stifle my smile as they roared with laughter.