Wednesday, February 7, 2007

5 jag dollars and a gingerbread house

I had to be gone from work today. But don't think I didn't work. A teacher is never off the clock, although my sister did try to convince me of that today while we were enjoying a relaxing afternoon at Mojo Pie (where Kristen is the creme-de-la-creme of hair stylists.)

So away from work, all I could think about was work. What are the kids doing now? Are they working? Did I leave enough for the sub? Who's getting out of class and wandering the halls? Are they telling lies? Telling secrets? Are they putting frogs in my desks and snakes in my cabinets? My mind goes in a thousand directions.

There's one class I'm particularly worried about...and that's my film literacy class. Simply put, they are a bunch of goofballs. They love movies, politics, religion, music, and food. More importantly, they love talking about movies, politics, religion, music, and food. The last class period I was there they talked about Viva Tortilla, a new Mexican place, (..."with sonic-like qualities" Joe adds), waking up early, snow days, Hillary Clinton, tattoos, and fortunately, the film Rocky (which we just happened to be viewing for a theme study on the value of taking a chance.)

And then an odd thing happens. Throughout all of this conversation, Billy pulls a box from his duffel bag. With its child-like bubble letters and brightly colored exterior, I thought it was the game Candyland, like i used to play at the babysitters house. But no, it was a gingerbread house cake kit, complete with gum drops, peppermints, candy buttons, gingerbread cake walls, floor, and roof, and a rather large 'bag o' frosting.'

Colin, eyeing the gum drops, opens the bag and offers them around the room. Soon, the entire class has their own slice of the something from the gingerbread house kit, and finally, curiosity getting the best of me, I ask Billy, "Where did you get this?"

"I bought it," he responds matter-of-factly, "for five JAG dollars."

The class erupts.

JAG (Jobs for America's Graduates) is a national non-profit program within our school to offer alternative education. Our JAG instructor does all sorts of neat things with her students, and offering them opportunities throughout the semester to earn "JAG dollars" and spend them in the JAG store is one of them.

I had no idea one could buy a Gingerbread House Kit in the JAG store. In fact, I'm not sure I even know where to buy a Gingerbread House Kit in any store. But Billy, saving his JAG money, decided this would be the best investment for him on Tuesday, and I think my Film Literacy class certainly agreed.

Who knows what they brought today. I just hope the sub could handle it.

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