Black Eye - Bloody Nose - Belly Ache
The girls hear me say this all the time, (you can even purchase a t-shirt of your own now!) you, (and sometimes, they) may wonder exactly what I mean. It all started more than 10 years ago when I began subbing.
Each time something happened in the classroom that didn’t exactly follow protocol, one of the kids would let me know that, “You aren’t allowed to go to the bathroom during math”, or “There’s only one person allowed in the library at a time”, or “You can’t sharpen your pencil during reading”……
When each of these “horrors” occurred, I would ask the kids if what has just happened has given them a black eye (are they bruised somewhere), a bloody nose (are they bleeding from somewhere) or a belly ache (do they think they are going to throw up)? Of course, their answer was “No” each time. So, it just became habit, when a student approached with “the tattle face”, I would simply repeat my mantra, they would shake their head, do an about face, and quickly return to their seat.
But throughout years, it has become more than that. As the girls get older, and more and more drama enters their lives, this mantra has taken on an even more important role. It’s not just about sharpening pencils, or bathroom breaks, or library time, it’s about getting along with each other, and not being jealous of each other’s gifts and talents. I try to remind the girls that when a troupemate perfects a Twirl move, or gets an A on a test, or is elected to Student Council, or asked to go to another girl’s house. NOTHING has been taken from them. They haven’t suddenly lost the ability to twirl, no grade of theirs has been lowered, they haven’t lost a spot on a committee, nor have they been uninvited to a get together.
So, as the girls mature, the mantra of Black Eye, Bloody Nose, Belly Ache takes on several different meanings. What begins as tattling about pencil sharpening, can grow into allowing them to develop their own talents while appreciating the gifts of those around them.