Friday, May 10, 2024

How to Walk Like a Middle-Schooler. Or a Monkey. Same Thing.

middle school kids walking crazy

It's testing season here in Florida which means students have to spend many days following a block schedule and staying in the same classroom for hours on end. After the students complete the test, they need to remain seated and silent so as not to disturb anyone else who may still be testing. The only respite from the suffocating boredom is going to the bathroom. I mean, they rarely actually need to use the facilities. I've written about that HERE. But they like to "go to the bathroom" as in leave the classroom on an adventure that has nothing to do with "Number 1 or Number 2."

Yesterday, while administering a test, a student asks to go to the bathroom. Much like seeing someone yawn, this sets off a domino effect wherein a never-ending line of students await their turn for the bathroom. 

I stand by the classroom door waiting for a student’s return before allowing another to “go to the bathroom.” As I watch, the kid comes down the hallway, his arms flailing wildly above his head while he does some sort of walk that makes him look like a marionette being controlled by a drunken monkey. As he gets closer, I see he has the clear plastic wrapper from a fruit roll-up plastered across his face. This inspired me to mentally record the interesting and creative ways middle school students ambulate.

Another student walks up and asks, "Can I get nature's perfect hydration?" Being fluent in middleschool-ese, I understand he wants to go get a drink of water. This kid skips to the water fountain and back.

The next student who returns from the bathroom is making a face that looks like a cross between Mr. Bean and a naked mole rat. Why, you ask? Because he's 12.

The following student to leave the classroom has pulled her arms inside her sweatshirt and is sort of swinging the empty arms of the shirt up and around her head like one of those inflatable noodle things you see outside car dealerships.

Then a student goes to the bathroom and upon her return, she's looking through her hands as if they're binoculars. Sometimes it's hard to find your way back to your classroom; maybe this helps her. 

The next student engages in the most common middle-school walk, slowly scuffing their feet along. I don’t know if it’s the popularity of slides and Crocs, or if earth’s gravity has changed in such a way that it simply takes too much effort to actually lift one’s foot, but kids today cannot seem to pick up their feet when they walk.

This is followed by the famous, Jump and Try to Smack the Exit Sign" maneuver wherein a 4 1/2 foot kid proves that not everyone can dunk like Jordan.

Speaking of Jordan, the next student leaves the bathroom, spins around and does a lay-up with a wad of toilet paper while shouting, "Kobe!"

A while later, a student returns from the bathroom with his eyeglasses on upside down. I shudder to think what kind of harrowing experience he had in the bathroom to return so disheveled.

Next, a kid who has been hitting himself in the ear for unknown reasons (I make a note to check in with him later to make sure he isn't hearing voices or anything) asks if he can go to the bathroom because he thinks his ear is swollen, and I have so many questions. Do you not know that repeatedly boxing your ear may make it swollen? How is draining fluid from your bladder going to make the swelling in your ear go down? I'm genuinely confused.

I let another boy go to the bathroom. On the way out the door, I thought I heard him say, "I need to put water on my head." That can't be what he said, right? He returned 2 minutes later with his head dripping wet. 

"Did you go swimming in the toilet?" I asked dumbfounded.

"No, I put water on my head."

"Why?" I ventured because apparently I like to ask stupid questions.

"Because my head was dry," came his matter-of-fact response.

Okay then.

Finally a girl is doing some sort of dance as she reenters the classroom. Maybe she thinks there's a hidden camera recording her Tik Tok moves.

Maybe next week someone will do parkour off the walls as they sojourn in the mystical bathroom. Or perhaps someone will channel The Bangles and walk like an Egyptian. The possibilities are endless with these kids.

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