I love answering kids’ questions when they relate to something we just studied. It makes me feel like I’ve piqued some interest in their little heads and now they are off on a quest for more knowledge! That kind of stuff gets teachers HIGH. For serious, if kids knew how excited their teachers get when they show a real interest in learning more…they’d probably not care too much, actually. But teachers? WE GET HIGHER THAN KITES.
But sometimes, it backfires. We get a kid that literally cannot control their verbal diarrhea and since it's related to class, you must answer so as not to extinguish that precious fire of curiosity in their soul but OMFG YOU WANT THEM TO STFU ALREADY PLEASE.
During “free time” in 3rd grade (which incidentally is not so free, because you can either finish your work, read a book of your choice, or finish more work, but calling it free time gives the students the impression that they are in charge, which they are most certainly not, kind of like how the least democratic countries call themselves Democratic Republics, lol) a bespectacled little boy with spiky hair began reading a book about volcanoes and came up to me to ask a question. We had just studied the earth and its features. His word vomit began:
“Could the volcano erupt, on the first day of the new year, with lava and cover everything, like on the first day, with a volcano and it’s erupting?”
I tried to understand his question, but he was lost in a mental corn maze, clearly terrified about volcanoes and the images of lava spewing everywhere in his book. His cute little face was so anxious and serious. I reassured him that here in Los Angeles, we do not worry about volcanoes. We can worry about earthquakes and mudslides and having to share the freeway with Lindsay Lohan, but not volcanoes. He nodded and went back to his seat, only to return no less than 5 minutes later with another anxiety-ridden query.
“If the lava exploded here, could I run faster than the lava?”
Me: Yes, you could. (idk, really, you're probably screwed, kid.) But it won’t be exploding here.
Kid: Could a baby crawl faster than lava?
Me: Yes. But there will be no eruptions. So the stray babies are safe.
He looked very worried. I reassured him again, WE DO NOT HAVE VOLCANOES IN LOS ANGELES. WE ARE SAFE. I SWEAR ON MY CAT’S HEAD, LOS ANGELES IS SAFE FROM LAVA.
He sat down, read some more, furrowed his little brow and looked up at me.
I sighed. “Yes,
pain in my ass,, sweetheart, what is it?”
He showed me a map in the book that listed all the active volcanoes in the world. I was about ready to just take it from him and give him “The Cat in the Hat” before he needed a Xanax, but I showed him how we were still very far from any of them. WHAT MORE DO YOU NEED TO KNOW, KID?!? DO YOU WANT ME TO CALL BILL NYE (we’re facebook friends btw)?! DO YOU WANT ME TO BLEED?!? (idk what that would do but I always like to dramatically add that in my head).
He sat down quietly, staring at his book. He looked up at me again and said "If it erupts, I'm probably faster than the lava."
I promise you are.