School Supplies

Back in my tight-rolled jeans and GI Joe Lunchbox days, few things put a gleam in my eye like back to school supply shopping.  There was something magical about getting a new Trapper Keeper with hand-picked folders that featured everything from Lamborghinis and Pac-Man to Alf and Garfield.  The Trapper Keeper was a student’s survival pack, so it had to have all essential items for any situation. Letter stencil page with protractor extension? Check.  Plastic pencil pouch?  Check.  Metric measures cheat sheet? Check. Sweet Knight Rider-themed spiral notebook? Check.   Even if I was naked and afraid, I could be dropped in the middle of any school wilderness and emerge victorious over the elements. I still remember my favorite Trapper Keeper: it brandished a hot purple cover with the words Video Rock written in bold, purple neon colors.  The epitome of cool.

Fast forward 20 years and times have changed.  The real Trapper Keeper has been retired to the School Supplies Hall of Fame and i’m constantly updated by my students on what the new Trapper Keeper is.  This year’s supply of choice is an item that is reflecting the changing demographics of our country.  I truly believe that by 2025, when Hispanics are no longer a minority in the U.S, this school supply will be on the list of every elementary teacher’s supply list.

What is the Trapper Keeper of the future?

Behold el futuro… the Burrito Pencil Pouch:

No Spanish required… but good taste is.  It’s time to Learn Mas.  Buen provecho.

The Smell of Tamales

It was a quiet and contemplative time in my chamber of after school tutoring… a time that was ripe for off-the-wall student musings.
Five studious students filled the seats in the over sized computer room designed for 40. One was working on an online class, two were doing math work, one was reading for   English and the last, US government. I was sitting next to US Government Guillermo, who I could tell was thinking about anything but the difference between legislative and executive branches.
“Hey Mister… what can I do to treat acne?”

“Well, diet is a big part of it,” I said, glancing up from my screen.

“Like what?”

“Well, food with a lot of grease in it… and food cooked with lard.”

“Oh… like tamales?… I can’t eat tamales?!” He reasoned, with a quiver of fear in his voice.

“Well, it’s ok to eat tamales, but in moderation,” I assured him, then motioned for him to continue his work.

“The other day I ate a bunch of tamales and then I went for a run.”

US Government was slowly getting smaller and smaller in the rear view mirror.

“After about 15 minutes I started to sweat really heavy. When I wiped my face…my sweat smelled like tamales! Is that normal?”

“I suppose whatever you eat works its way into your sweat” I said, looking back at my screen, hoping he would get back to his classwork.

Then, in the distance, the student working quietly on his English class chimes in with a monotone, stoic voice (a-la Stanley from the Office)

“Good thing you didn’t  eat s*%t,” without lifting his head from his book.

I would normally scold that type of language, but since this was “after hours”… and it was well placed, I responded the best way I knew how:

“Now that’s good advice. Class — dismissed!” as I  pounded an imaginary gavel.