Around the corner, I heard voices, pleading: “But, you’re our favorite teacher.” The kids couldn’t see me. I should’ve realized the potential ambush. Why hadn’t I walked in the opposite direction? Maybe I was curious to see the favorite teacher.
So, I rounded said corner where said kids had congregated around another teacher, who stood there shaking her head and saying, “No way!” Emphatically. That was final. She walked away as I arrived.
The kids spun on me. “Mrs. Byers!” Their little voices jingled like bells. A leader for the group, one of my favorite seniors, said, “We were just talking about you.”
Right, I thought. I eyed her suspicious, smiling face, along with four or five others, all great kids. I knew this meant trouble.
“We need a favor,” she said, eyebrows raised. She paused for dramatic effect. The girl has moxie. “Would you be in the pie eating contest? It would be so great!”
“Pie eating contest?” I said. Their little faces shone with hope.
Favorite student continued, “You can choose your own entrance song.” Her energy was contagious.
“I can choose my own entrance song?” I said. I’m quite sure my eyes blazed at the thought of a grand entrance!
Another voice piped in. “That sounds like a yes.”
“What kind of pie?”
I busted out laughing and shook my head. I rolled my eyes and fake-pondered for a few more seconds. “Okay,” I said, giving in moments-too-soon.
A tiny voice in my head echoed, “Sucker!”
And that’s how I came to be in this year’s Teacher Pie Eating Contest. The absurdity slayed me, and I snickered all the way home while considering entrance songs.
Fast forward to the day, and I’ll leave the details to your imagination. With grand steps and a gesture or two, I made my entrance, and the kids went concert wild. Their energy overtook my body, and I danced like no one was watching. Except the whole school was there, and then I competed in pie eating. The pies were chocolate and vanilla pudding. It wasn’t the first rodeo for some of my opponents who came prepared with goggles. We couldn’t use our hands. Thank the Lord someone else stepped up for the win. Still, I won street cred with the kids, and that was enough for me.
Sometimes that’s what teachers do.
Twenty-five years ago or so, during my first few years of teaching, I volunteered to throw a backflip on a trampoline during a middle school assembly. In front of about 500 kids and school staff. And you know what? I fell on my face (click link for story). So—I stood up and did it again. This time I landed it. I don’t know if the kids took anything away from that experience, but I did. Sometimes, you don’t have any choice but to try again and save face.
Another time, I participated in the teacher spelling bee. My ego hurt when I went out before my time, but maybe there’s a lesson to be learned here. Maybe it isn’t all about me. Unless, of course, I have my own entrance song.