Pin It Updated at the end...
My class of fifth graders and I were in the middle of a lesson on literature responses when the oddity waltzed in through the classroom door; her brightly lit clothes seemed to match her eccentric behavior as she drew in an exaggerated breath, stood for a moment in muted silence, and gazed out at the tables of students.
A hush fell over the class as they stared at this girl who immediately began to babble on like a cretin. She asked whose birthday it was today in the room – it would just so happen that today was the day *Joey had selected to celebrate his unbirthday because his usually takes place during the summer. I figured that this girl was one of those paid performers who deliver singing telegrams and such, so I took a seat and let her go on – making a mental note to call Joey’s parents and let them know that they really do need to make a teacher aware of things like this beforehand so instruction time isn’t disrupted.
This girl immediately breezed over to Joey - which really unnerved him to be honest, as he is usually shy and reserved. She at once raised her ukulele and began to caterwaul something about it being his unbirthday. Of course she did it with gusto, and I guess that that was the most important part. The part that started to bother me is that she didn’t leave after she was done like most singing telegram deliverers do.
Joey cringed as she reached into her small handbag and pulled out a bag of chocolate chip cookies; he has a fear of people who make sudden movements close to him and I could only wonder why his parents would torture him like this; maybe it was therapeutic? She began waving this bag around and I could only hope that she’d bought them from a reputable bakery.
Joey just slouched in his chair a little and looked ready to bolt.
Still I waited for her to leave as she did this tiptoe floating thing around the room, every breath she took seemed like she were gasping for life because of her excitement; I could tell that the students were wary of that bag of cookies she practically thrust into each of their faces. I just know that the training each of their parents had given them about strangers with candy and motorists with puppies was now kicking into play and a few of them looked around apprehensively. I made a decision to chat with Joey’s parents about this type of unbirthday well wishing in the future.
I still waited for her to leave, but she didn’t. She began talking about secret places they could go to at any moment they wished and I began to wonder if this woman were really sent by one of the parents. I grabbed my camera and took a few shots to send to the police just in the event that she were a raving lunatic and they’d need to find her in the future.
As I rose to call the office on the classroom phone, the girl suddenly whipped out her ukulele again and played a departing song. She babbed on, saying something about living with rats (probably from living in a substandard housing development) and vanished out the door without a trace.
The class sat in stunned silence for nearly ten seconds, and then breathed a collective sigh of relief.
I had them start the next lesson of the day and made a quick phone call to Joey’s parents. They in turn let me know that they hadn’t sent his unbirthday treats yet, and would be in later that afternoon. I thanked them and made a call to the office, letting them know the whole situation.
My principal asked for copies of the photos I’d taken and quickly had some posters made for the neighborhood. He also set up a quick assembly with the school to talk about ‘stranger danger’ and what to do in the future in a lockdown situation.
I still wonder who that girl really was…
Update: BTW, if you haven't clicked here, you just might want to do so…it will explain some things. It is not too dissimilar to what happened last year and another time the year before...
*Not his real name.