Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Half Baked

Coming up on the last few days of classes, and the last day for at least one class. Sadly the first class to have an official last day was also my favorite class. For those of you who are students, yes, your teachers have favorite classes. And yes, we do treat them differently. They are the bright-eyed students who want to work, who want to learn, and who make teaching a pleasure. We all have them. When I’m very lucky all of my classes are favorite classes, trust me it’s been known to happen. On, special rare occasions though, when I’m short on super-favorite classes, I might get lucky enough to have my favorite class of the week also coincide with being my last class of the week. The timing of this class has nothing to do with its status of favorite, as the students are actually a pleasure to work with. And they are my favorite.

So for this extra-special last class with the best group of students I’ve had this semester, and by far and away my favorite of the favorites, I figured I’d get them some popcorn. A few weeks ago I had a horrible craving for popcorn right in the middle of my favorite class, so I’d gone to the quickie mart, made a bag of microwave popcorn and spread the joy with the class. The favorite class. They were all happy, and I was happy that I could fix my popcorn urge without eating a whole bag.

Knowing that the class would like popcorn, and realizing it was the last time, it was really now or never. I was busy and a student in the class actually wanted to talk to me about something, so I handed one of the boys 2,000W and asked him to go and get some popcorn while the break was on. He smiled, said yes, and walked out with back up in the name of his two best friends.

A hung out in the room and kept helping students. A few minutes later I smell the familiar smell of popcorn coming down the hall and turn to the door excited for my own snack as well as to see the joy on the faces of the students before we start the second session.

And in walk the boys with a bag of microwave popcorn. They hand me the bag. The bag looks like a shriveled sort of raisin. It has not really expanded. It’s warm to the touch, but obviously still full of butter and popcorn kernels. They look at me. I look at them. I look at the bag. I look back at them.

“Yeah, teacher, it’s not working.”

I just kind of look at them.

“It’s microwave popcorn guys.”

“Yeah, he’s stupid he doesn’t know.”

“He’s not stupid, but seriously, boys, what gives?”

The boy who was the money handler just kind of sits down in despair so I run down the hall, to the mart, pop the bag in the microwave for three minutes and contemplate the fact that three 20 year old college boys don’t know how to make microwave popcorn.

I get back to the room a little incredulous. They guys look at me impressed that I was able to fix the broken bag of popcorn. I hand it out and try to quietly ask the money handler what happened.

“First time, I don’t know.”

And I realized, that it might just be possible, that some 20 year old Korean boys, and probably a lot more than I suspected, had never before made microwave popcorn. I smiled, passed it out, and felt a twinge of oddness, homesickness, and oldness, that could not be cured by crunchy butter and salt.

1 comment:

linda said...

Love this.