Full Moon Frenzy Friday: The Day Karma Lived
It was year four in this twisted ideology of a profession called teaching. The idea of taking 20 to 30 strange children and putting them in a room together, and placing an unfamiliar adult in the room to influence them is still the norm around the country. Usually, I just talk to my family about the crazy days in the classroom. But this Friday, the Friday of September 17, 2016, I had to document for my own memories. This day will forever be known in my records as Full Moon Frenzy Friday: The Day Karma Lived.
I’m sure you’ve heard the term “lunatic.” You may have even heard the folktale of the “full moon making people crazy.” This…is actually…true. I will give an account of how the full moon can affect the thoughts, decisions, actions, and sanity of people…nay, children.
I haven’t mentioned yet that I teach high school tenth grade English Language Arts. Tenth graders, or overgrown eighth graders I like to say, can be either fun to work with or a nightmare. This wonderful Friday turned out to be the latter. This, however, only proved to be true in one class: fourth period. The dreaded lunch class. Oh yes, lunch is dreadful. Only other teachers will understand the connection between bizarre behavior during the class in which lunch is held.
Perhaps this is where karma began to take notice of my humble existence or the butterfly of chaos flapped its delicate wings somewhere in the universe of my selfish actions.
Before we delve into pure madness, I must give a bit of context. This maddening Friday did not begin with any sign or implication that buffoonery of any kind would take place. First, second, and third period went smoothly without a hitch. Students entered, they did their work, they asked their questions, the bell rang, and they departed.
It was in third period that I realized that I did not have lunch. I begin to ponder on what I could eat that would deliver to my school. I worked in an urban area and many a restaurant feared delivery to this neighborhood. Eureka, Jason’s Deli! They deliver ANYWHERE! But, the price…you must have a minimum of $25 worth of food to deliver.
My thoughts began to race. I could add other people to my order, but by the time they peruse the website, decide, figure out how they were going to pay and deliver the money, my delivery would be late! I made a brash decision. I ordered $25 worth of sandwiches for not only myself but also my husband. He’d love a sandwich for dinner. I put my order in. Perhaps this is where karma began to take notice of my humble existence or the butterfly of chaos flapped its delicate wings somewhere in the universe of my selfish actions.
My co-teacher learned of my order and wanted to stop my order to add hers to it. You read correctly. Stop my order to add hers to it! I declined and advised her to contact another teacher to partner with her order. Needless to say, she miserably failed and my order was secure and on the way.
Did I feel a teeny bit guilty? Absolutely not. She brings a home-cooked lunch every day and this day was no exception. She had a full homecooked meal of beef tips, rice, green beans, cornbread, and a Pepsi. So why let her interfere with my delivery? Now, back to the madness.
Fourth period began with a student stating she couldn’t hear herself think and that her mind was clouded with negative thoughts. No big deal. I wrote her a pass to the counselor. Boom. Done. Problem solved.
Little did I know that this was barely the tip of the iceberg that resided in the last 10 minutes of my day. My class had second lunch, meaning they would enter the class for 25 minutes, then leave to eat lunch for 25 minutes, and return. The students left for lunch and I sat with my co-teacher while she ate her meal in the teacher’s lounge.
My Jason’s Deli lunch would be arriving soon and I couldn’t wait to taste my lunch: broccoli cheddar soup, turkey, bacon, Swiss cheese on a fresh croissant, and kettle chips. I also ordered two other sandwiches but they were merely added to run the bill up to the delivery price.
The bell rang and the students began to return to the class. I went to open the door. The student with negative thoughts awaited. I greeted her and she went into the room with a smile. Counseling must have done her well. The class enters and I get them settled and working on their assignments. Wow, usually this class is blasting and playing but today, look at them go! I must design more assignments like this one. That’s what I thought…until things began to unravel.
The class had 30 minutes left. The Negative Thoughts kid rushes to my desk, “The thoughts are returning. I can’t hear myself think.” By this time the co-teacher had returned from her lunch. “Come with me,” she says and escorts the student out of the room. Still quiet…
I get a phone call, “Hi, your Jason’s Deli is here…why didn’t you tell the office you were ordering out? We all like Jason’s Deli.” I cringe at the disdain in her voice and say, “Well it was a spur of the moment decision!” I hang up the phone, feeling a tad bit guilty for the first time. I shake it off.
But, in actuality, it was just enough time for all hell to break loose.
I begin to look for my co-teacher. Time passes. Three minutes, then five minutes, then 7 minutes, where could she be? I sent a student to another teacher to request if she would watch over my class while I go sign my receipt. I wait patiently in the hallway for the return of either the student or my co-teacher. Finally! The student returns with another teacher to watch my class, and my co-teacher returns at the same time.
I run to the office to sign the receipt. I pass another teacher, a good friend of mine, who says, “Man someone ordered Jason’s Deli. I didn’t know they delivered here,” to which I reply, “They deliver everywhere. It's mine.” She stops. She stares at me and says, “And you didn’t tell me?” I drop my head in shame, “It was a quick decision.” She fans me off and walks away. “I love you!” I yell out to attempt to ease her disgust. Another pang of guilt courses through me.
I enter, quickly sign for the receipt, grab the bag and then get caught in a lengthy conversation with the delivery man and another teacher discussing the options of Jason’s Deli delivery. I look at my watch, only about 11 minutes left in class. In my mind, just enough time to eat…so I thought. But, in actuality, it was just enough time for all hell to break loose.
I enter the class with my bag. I sit down. Things are still running smoothly. Great. Maybe I can eat. I sit down and lift the bowl of broccoli cheddar soup from the bag. I open it. It's steaming, oh so warm and oh so creamy. I lift my sandwich from the bag. The extra bacon is hanging from the sandwich. I slurp some warm soup. Mmmmmm, delicious. I bite the sandwich. Wow! So tasty.
I go in for another scoop of soup and my co-teacher approaches, “I hate to disturb you. But the young man in the back refuses to give up his phone. I have asked for it politely and I will not be disrespected.” I look up to see the kid sitting there with an “eat shit and die” stare all over his face. I call the kid over. He’s good for listening to reason. I coax him into putting his phone on my desk and retrieving it after the dismissal bell in 7 minutes. I sit back down and attempt to resume eating.
Out of the soothing stillness, profanity explodes from two young ladies in the room. “We’ll beat your black ass,” they scream nearly in unison.
“What is happening?” I say rising and tearing myself away from my soup like a new mother being forced away from her child.
“These two girls crazy,” a young man yells back.
“Young man, step out of the room for me for a moment,” I calmly ask. He opens the door and the negative thoughts girl is back and standing there with a bewildered look on her face. She walks in looks at me and throws up into the trashcan at my desk. She looks at me and smiles with vomit pieces spotted on her face.
“Oh God, sweetie go to the restroom and clean up,” I say trying not to show my disgust outward on my face. The children sitting nearest to my trashcan erupt from their chairs disheveling their desks in an attempt to run away from her. “Calm down boys,” I urge as the two girls fire up their insults again at the young man standing in the door. “Girls that’s enough. Your parents will hear from me.”
“We’re gonna beat his ass,” they yell with near choric rhythm once again.
Next, I see the young man in the hall gesturing inappropriate and unholy hand signals to the girls as their insults continued to shatter the once calm atmosphere in the room. As I open my mouth to reprimand him a desk flipped. The young man whose phone is on my desk explodes demanding his phone back, “I need my phone!”
Negative thoughts girl is still standing in the room smiling and covered in vomit, and the girls are calling the boy in the hallway a “black fuck” whatever that is. What the hell is a black fuck? And where the hell is my co-teacher. She’d slipped away in the madness. She returns at this thought with napkins for the sullied negative thoughts girl who turned back to the trash can to vomit again. Three boys flee the room who sit closest to the trashcan filled with half-digested leavings. I desperately want to run out as well but alas, this is my job.
The bell rings and all of the children leave the room like a torrential landslide. I’m left with vomit in my trashcan, a flipped desk, five parents to call, a new term to investigate on the Internet, and no appetite for my now cold lunch.
I have never felt so powerless in my classroom.
Karma rose from its sleeping depths and bitch slapped me in the face, open-palmed. This is my reaping a greedily sewn day. I’d never seen such a display of lunatics in my entire existence. Thank God fifth period was my planning. I could sit, think, and process what happened in the last chaotic minutes of my zoo-room — I mean classroom.
Perhaps, I should have given my co-teacher a sandwich or told the office and other teachers I was ordering out, or maybe it really was the scientific gravitational pull of the full moon to blame. I have never felt so powerless in my classroom. I literally had to put my room back together. The “lunatic lunch class” I dubbed them in my mind. I had no other explanation for the madness that unfolded, like many catastrophic things that occur, in mere minutes.
And this day, that many do not believe existed, will forever be hailed as Full Moon Frenzy Friday: The Day Karma Lived.