Teachers in rural schools are special. Unlike the great city amalgamated and homogenized institutes of lower learning, the rural schools tend not to have teachers who are putting in time until their heart stops.
And it’s a mixed blessing, because rural schools sometimes have to hire someone whose only qualification is a pulse.
But there are those rural teachers who go down in legend for their creativity, like John Lewis.
After his first semester teaching at the high school, John discovered that some of the boys in class — usually the misbehavers — would raise their hands and ask to go to the john in the middle of a class session.
He suspected, when they returned smelling like tobacco, that bodily functions weren’t the prime incentive for the trip.
So he got a stick and made a big cardboard sign and stuck it in the closet behind his desk.
Then, the very next time someone indicated a peristaltic urgency, he stood and smiled and addressed the class.
“Everybody up!” he said, smiling. The class stood, looking dumbfounded at each other.
“Since going to the restroom in the middle of class is a God-given American right, I believe it’s only fair that we all share a small part of it.
“So Pete, since you have asked to go, you get to lead the parade to the restroom. OK now, Cheryl, here’s the Potty Patrol sign. You get to carry it. Let’s go!”
And with John singing his new Potty Patrol song, they all marched over to the restroom and waited outside, chanting, until Pete had finished (in an amazingly short time).
Then they all marched back to class with Pete once again leading the way.
Strangely enough, the restroom trips dropped dramatically in all of John’s classes.
SLIM RANDLES is a journalist and author of numerous books, available from www.riograndebooks.com. “Home Country” is also his radio program in 17 states.