“Would you like a refreshing beverage, or tasty snack?”
I looked up waiting for the joke. Instead I saw Leroy, our 64 year old Science teacher, holding a basket of Halloween candy bars and small pretzel snacks. He was dead serious.
“Uh . . . I guess I’ll take something to drink.
He gestured towards a small refrigerator behind him. “I have Pepsi, Dr. Pepper, or Diet Coke. Which would you like?”
My mouth was hanging open a little bit. I kept glancing around at the other teachers sitting at the table. No one seemed the least bit fazed at Leroy’s behavior. I said slowly, “Diet Coke would be good.”
Leroy set the basket down and walked over to the fridge. He returned with a Coke Zero.
“I hope you find it refreshing,” he said setting the can in from of me.
Everyone around me was busy opening up their laptops and searching through their planners getting ready for the grade level meeting. Leroy continued around the table offering “tasty” snacks and “refreshing” beverages to everyone.
We were having our monthly grade level meeting in Leroy’s Science classroom. We rotated rooms each month, and it was Leroy’s turn. I didn’t have any students in Leroy’s classes, so this was my first time in his classroom.
While Leroy played flight attendant to the teachers seated at the table, I looked around at his classroom. Science posters covered almost all the walls, but an announcement on his whiteboard caught my attention. “Authorized items for today: textbook, spiral, pencil.” As I logged in to my laptop, Leroy sat down in the chair next to me.
“Authorized items?” I asked smiling at him and tilting my head towards his board.
“Yes,” he replied solemnly. “Students are always trying to play with unauthorized items during class. They get a ticket if they have any unauthorized items out during classtime.”
“Oh.” Clever idea. “What does a ticket get them?”
Leroy looked at me, surprised. “A ticket is very bad. You don’t want to get a ticket in my class.”
I’m a slow learner, so I continued, “Yeah, but what happens when kids get a bunch of tickets?”
Leroy was looking at me now like I was an odd bug that had crawled on to his desk.
“No one has ever gotten more than one ticket in my classroom,” he said firmly. He looked around at the other teachers and primly announced, “Let’s begin our meeting.”
I popped open my Coke Zero and took a swig.