Shark of the Year

Too many youngsters skip school too often. I don’t get it. They’re cheating themselves out of a quality education and they’re OK with that reality. I guess some people really have to lose something in order to realize what a great opportunity they let go by…

I, on the other hand, loved going to school. That’s where I could find all the action! Unless a student is mentally challenged or born with a disability, I honestly don’t understand how they can struggle in middle school. It really isn’t that big of a leap from elementary school. I’m not saying I was brilliant, but my academic success was probably attributed more from teachers’ low-expectations of their students rather than my big head. Given that sad reality, it took more effort to fail than to succeed.

I remember when our 8th grade teacher decided to motivate us and get us to turn in our homework. Whoever turned in their assignments on time and scored the highest grades would be the “Shark of the Week.” Why a shark? That was our section mascot (there were like three other sections  in the school with weak sauce mascots compared to our shark). Perks of “shark of the week” included one free homework pass, a certificate to get kudo points from your parents, a pat on the back from teachers, and mass disapproval from your classmates. Who was the first shark of the week? Moi. The shark of the week the following week? Yours truly. Was I trying hard? Hell no. Because I was also the class clown, I defied all student-classroom theories our teacher was trying to implement.

After the 4th shark of the week under my belt, my teacher finally decided to give me the honor of “Shark of the Year.” Perks: VIP status and access to the restroom and library whenever I wanted as long as it wasn’t during classroom lecture. My teacher was actually trying to eliminate and get me out of the classroom! Unfortunately for him, there is no such thing as bathroom or library clowns. The pass was legit with his signature and everything but I think I only used it a couple of times the whole year. I hated being alone and the social scene in the classroom definitely beat alone time with toilets, peeing stalls, and the bad-breath librarian. My classmates hated me and coveted my VIP pass but that’s what they get for being lazy asses.

In retrospect, I think my teacher gave me that pass so that he could limit Payazaro’s class clown time. It wouldn’t look right to kick your best student out of the class and keep him from getting an education. The second best thing is to entice your student to leave and let the librarian handle him.

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