Once more this year, I am blessed with terrific student aides. As last year, my helpers are Chelsey and Hanna, now seniors. They keep me organized and from going crazy. We don't always see eye-to-eye but it is simply a gender issue. It was the same with Ashley as you will see in this piece from 9-21-06.
With the start of a new school year, I am always assigned a student aide. Once again, I have been blessed with a great one. Ashley agreed to the role, spending fourth period in my room each day. She is incredible. She was in both my eighth and tenth grade Bible classes and the main reason I requested her was that she is bilingual, a factor that becomes very important in our Honduras charity work. Little did I know that she is tremendously organized- some characteristics aren't that apparent when a young person occupies the student desk. Ashley has a long-term goal of becoming an attorney and I think she possesses the necessary qualifications. I am old fashioned as a teacher, still preferring to have all grades written down in a paper grade book before entering them electronically. Ashley records all the grades- I give a grade per day per student in all my five classes- then calls them out to me as I type them into the computer. She is as wonderfully efficient as any teenager I have met, and efficient and teenager are usually not synonymous terms.
But Ashley is also, and how do I put this ......a girl. She tickles me no end. I am messy and Ashley in every spare moment is straightening my classroom. She has vowed to tackle my desk, akin to cleaning up the destruction of a hurricane. Oftentimes, she runs errands that free my time to concentrate on academic chores out of her domain. Once, I needed her to take my coaching clothes (Nikes, socks, khaki shorts, T-shirt) to my car. Ashley asked if I wanted her to fold them. I said, "Ashley, they're dirty." Her response? "Well, do you want me to fold them?" I was in awe. Most days, I eat lunch in my room while Ashley is helping me. I can eat while we work so I end up, in effect, with an extra planning period. Lately, Ashley has been going to our cafeteria to pick up iced tea and a spoon for my yogurt while I go off in another direction to see a teacher or check phone messages. When I return to the room, the tea invariably sits on a desk accompanied by two neatly stacked packets of sweetener and a plastic spoon, leaning up against the side of the styrofoam cup. I inquired as to the positioning of the spoon. Ashley replied it was to prevent the spoon from touching the desk. I wondered why that mattered and I was told you shouldn't eat anything with a spoon that has touched a desk top. That floored me because when we eat in a normal setting, our silverware touches the table. However, when I mentioned this in my sophomore class immediately afterwards, the young ladies unanimously agreed with Ashley. They protested, "Coach Hawley, you could get sick!" (I asked them to name the last time any of them saw me sick and the correct answer is never but that didn't phase the fairer gender.) I think the girls felt sorry for me because when the bell rang, Riley presented me with a bottle of hand sanitizer from Bath And Body Works, mango-mandarin scent no less! I don't feel any safer but my hands smell great!
Could male and female logic be any more diametrically opposed? I believe it was in God's plan to make some of our outlooks so dissimilar as to almost be comical. Ashley is such a blessing to me because we are so different. She makes my life easier by being aware of what needs to be done and jumping into it. Ashley is also tutoring one of our first grade girls in reading and doing an incredible job. Someday, she will be a famous lawyer and I can say I knew her when. But if I am ever charged with public perpetual sloppiness, Ashley won't be able to defend me. I'm afraid her conscience will require her to testify for the prosecution. I won't have a prayer.
Applicable quote of the day:
"Men play the game: women know the score."
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org