The day I won the International Fair.
Teachers are supposed to be a lot of things: wise, loving, kind, but above all, humble.
Sorry, kids, but that ain’t Miss B. Not today—the day I won the International Fair.
To set up the story:
The International Fair is an annual event at my school. Students in the 8th grade geography class set up tables advertising a country of their choosing. They display research and artifacts, but also have a food or two from the country, and at least one game or other activity. (It’s brilliant, really … thinking of doing something similar with parts of speech or interesting vocab words in English class.)
This year’s students did an exceptional job. Aside from Winning Everything, I got to participate in a drum circle; taste a dozen unique foods; play a fortune-telling game (which foretold that I would be a teacher … creepy); learn all about New Zealand’s Maori* from some eager LotR fans; and observe kids wrestling.
Which is all fine and good, but did I mention that I won everything?
The first thing I rocked was a game involving horses and a bleeding goat carcass. Of course, the school version is stick horses and a goat stuffed animal, but R greatly enjoyed describing the actual gruesome game. In this game, two teams on horseback face off, trying to grab the carcass first and carry it into a goal area. Yeah, it’s like American football, but the dead animal still looks like an animal. As the 6th grade girls faced off the 6th grade boys, I knew this game would be all about teamwork, so when one of my little ones grabbed the goat, I was not concerned, but placed myself strategically close to the goal area. The boys closed in on her; she tossed the goat; and with the closest thing to athleticism I have ever displayed, I caught it and crossed the goal line.
Yes, I am an adult. Yes, I was unreasonably pleased with myself.
After this gem, there was an EVEN BETTER game, if you can believe it. This one involved betting chocolate. You wager up a chocolate bar and get a circle of three people together. Then, everyone rolls a pair of dice. The first person to roll doubles has to put on a hat, scarf, and gloves as quickly as possible … and then, he or she can begin devouring chocolate, stopped only when the next person rolls doubles. Needless to say, I rolled doubles faster and with more frequency than my middle schoolers, because clearly I am Good At Luck, so I got to eat the most chocolate. Which means I win. Even if my tummy is a little upset now.
My crowning achievement, however, is one which I almost forgot about. A student came running up to me and handed me a doughnut on a stick. “What is this for?” I asked. “You won the breath-holding contest!” he said. I had forgotten I had entered the contest earlier in the afternoon. Somehow, I managed to hold in all of my hot air longer than any of the kids. (I say kids, because I doubt any other faculty played this game.) I have been fascinated with breath-holding since I learned that breathing under bridges can kill you**, so I was exceptionally pleased with my showing.
Of course, the fact that I, an adult chaperone to this event, had so much fun means that the kids participating were certainly having EVEN MORE fun, which means that the 8th graders can be exceptionally proud of the time and thought they put into their displays. Even if it isn’t work for my class, I love to see our kids shine.
* This was extra cool as I am currently reading Cloud Atlas and was having trouble picturing the history/where the heck it was taking place.
** Not a true fact.