Are Those Teeth?

dentist-158225_1280There’s a character in my book that needs to get put in his place. He’s handsome, popular and good at sports…feels entitled. You know the type. Something needs to be done to put him in his place. I’ll have to talk to the author.

I have my fair share of “getting put in your place” stories but I think you’ll enjoy the one I’m about to share, especially with “Back to School” right around the corner. It happened in my second grade classroom.

Being a young teacher, I was full of ideas. I liked to think I had the best lessons planned for the day and the children would always be captivated. It’s exciting when you see many hands in the air, asking questions and participating.

After one great lesson, in my opinion, a few hands shot in the air. I called on some of the children but noticed one in particular. The dark-haired little girl’s hand wiggled wildly and her eyes sparkled with excitement. I told myself that she really got something out of the lesson and couldn’t wait to hear her question.

When I called on her imagine my surprise when she asked, “Are those teeth?” She pointed to the long necklace dangling from my neck. In my defense, wearing a long string of beads was popular back then. They were a pale yellow of smooth, unusual shapes.

I looked down at the necklace and back up at her. Was she fixated on those the entire time? Did she hear any of the great lesson I just taught?

Oh. My. Gosh. I was just put in my place. And I had to laugh. We all began to laugh that day because it was funny. Did she get anything out of the lesson? Probably not.  Maybe getting put in your place once in awhile causes one to do a maintenance check. It was a great reminder. Sometimes we need to be put in our place.

I never wore those beads to school again. Every time I opened the drawer where I placed them, they seemed to be smiling up at me, winking as a reminder.

So what did I learn that day at school?

The first was a life lesson. Don’t ever get too full of yourself.

The second was a school lesson. Don’t ever think a lesson was absorbed into children’s minds in just one great lesson. It might take a lot of smaller, review sessions to  break through or finally sink in.

And last but not least the third and final lesson. Don’t take life too seriously because you may just miss the humor of it.

I learned a lot that day. Sometimes it’s okay to be put in your place. Plus it’s never too late to learn a valuable lesson, no matter how old you are.

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