Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Day 30+1 (What? I'm obsessive compulsive, as if I'm going to be able to just stop now.)

I was working in the school library this morning. It was extra busy because the library was closed Thursday and yesterday, so it was a steady stream of classes. There were also classes I don't usually see, so I didn't automatically know everybody's name to check out their books.
photo credit
creative commons license

The library technician I work with is great, but she lacks a certain freewheeling wackiness, and I kind of see it as my job to generate a supplement. The problem, I've realized, is that if kids aren't used to humour being present in a certain location, they lose the knack for it. A good number of the teachers do joke around with their classes sometimes, but the library has clearly been a solemn, formal place. 
There's nothing more embarrassing than making a play on words with some kid's name, or saying something witty about their book choice, and having it go over like a lead balloon. And this school has kids named Scout, Flip and (I kid you not) Indiana Jones, so sometimes it's really hard to resist. I did have some fun with a girl whose last name was Freake -- clearly she'd had to learn some defensive humour walking around with a handle like that.
When I started going in, if a boy was a good friend of Angus's, sometimes I'd pretend to forget his name. Did they laugh? Did they call me a wise-ass? They did not. They stared at me earnestly and said "It's me, Noah, Mrs. Adams. I was just at your house for supper last night."

After two and a half years of this, the fog is starting to lift for some of them. When the library tech explains a rule and I chime in saying "because if you don't do that we tattoo the rest of the book on your arm" or "we've seen this go horribly wrong before", they smile (some of them even chuckle). When they forget to tell me they're renewing a book and not checking it out for the first time and the computer makes that horrible clunking sound and I glare at them theatrically (because they know how I hate it when the computer clunks at me), they laugh instead of bursting into tears or slinking away to hide behind the teacher.
And then today? While I was frantically trying to check everybody's books out as quickly as possible to make room for the other seventeen classes? A couple of them when I asked their names said "Guess!" Which I did, no matter how much longer it took. It was clearly my own damned fault.

7 comments:

Mary Lynn said...

Ohmygosh, I'd so be like that. I can't help cracking jokes, even with people who clearly have no sense of humour--like doctors and lawyers. Do you know how hard it is to get a chuckle out of a real estate lawyer? Damned hard, I tell you.

Amber said...

Glad you aren't going to drop off and stop blogging now that it is December. Goodness, I'd love someone like that at our library. So cold and quiet there I feel like I can't sneeze & makes it hard to teach the wee ones how great a library is.

NoisyBluebird said...

I was worried you'd stop. I'm so relieved! Indiana Jones? I should have named my son that.

Anonymous said...

My son has a girl in his class named, I kid you not, Abcdee.

When I asked if there was someone named A-B-C-D, he said, very patiently, "no, mummmy her name is Absidee".

Zarah

Amber said...

Indiana Jones? I think I need to go and cry now. That's just not fair to the poor kid!

The Absence of Alternatives said...

A great sense of humor is a sign of intelligence. I fully subscribe to this belief. Thank you for doing this for our future generation. I can't stand people with no sense of humor. But of course, they may be saying, "I can't stand people who like to make inappropriate jokes in serious occasions". Or maybe they just don't like me so now the belief in the need for great sense of humor just robbed these people the ability to dislike others who think they are funny...

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