A Strange Fall Breeze

I swear students notice everything. If I apply one modicum more or less of hair product some mornings, my students will pronounce their judgement to the entire class:

"Your hair looks nice today Mr. Castillejos."

"Your hair looks mad-whack today Mr. C."

These are actual quotes from students who thought their assessment of my coif would benefit me in some way. There have been days when a more progressive styling has been vetoed simply because I didn’t want to deal with my 2nd period’s reaction.

They are very keen to smell as well. I have received compliments on my cologne and one comment about how I smelled like ranch dressing. I don’t really eat ranch dressing, so that was a bit odd to hear. Mostly, they comment on how my room smells after lunch. My students pride themselves on being able to guess what I ate based only on the aroma still in the room. Many hate the smell of my Trader Joe’s frozen Thai chicken, one of my noon-time favorites.

"Chicken again Mr. C?"

"Your wife must be a good cook, cuz that smell is poppin’ "

"It smells like mad $%# in here Mista!"

Again, these are all real quotes in the Brooklyn dialect of the New York tongue.


Today, my overly perceptive students noticed what I could’ve only hoped they would not notice. During my 7th period math lesson, I heard a few girls in the front giggling delightfully. “Should we tell him,” I heard one say. In my teacher’s gut I knew they were talking about me and that it couldn’t be good. I casually faced their direction and asked them what was the matter. Their faces reddened as they were overcome with laughter.

"Mr., you have a hole on the butt of your pants. We were wondering if you were feeling a strange breeze?"

I lost my class.

My face surely blushed while I tried to think about how to recover from a complete loss of face. They, on the other hand, all wanted to see the teacher’s underwear. I ran through the options in my head: fight or flight. I decided to fight.

Calmly to the class:
"I’m over here trying to teach my class and Ashley can’t take her eyes off my behind. I’m going to continue teaching my lesson, and if any of you has a problem with the hole on my backside you should close your eyes. I don’t really care about it and neither should you."

A pack of lies all of it, but I challenge you to come up with anything better when staring down a class full of 30 9th graders who know you have a hole in your pants. It worked; I got through it, but I never want to do it again.

Needless to say, I taught the rest of the lesson from a stool.