“Sister Mary Elephant is a comedy skit by Cheech & Chong. The recording appeared on the duo’s second album, Big Bambu, released in 1972. It was re-released as a single in 1973 and climbed to #24 on the Billboard Hot 100 in early 1974.” (Wikipedia)
Okay, so I wasn’t born when this released in 1972 but in 8th grade the group of friends that I hung around with played Cheech & Chong’s record (yes we still used records) ALL THE TIME. It was absolutely hilarious but I distinctly remember the Sister Mary Elephant skit as being a favorite.
Well since my mid-life awakening post, I was offered a full-time job doing what I love. Funny how you put thoughts “out there” and then things happen. Hmmm. Anyway, I accepted a job as an Interventionist at an Elementary School, which means I work with students who are struggling and need academic support. Once the principal and staff found out that I have extensive experience with Cross-Cat (students with behavior/social/emotional disorders) guess who is now the favorite in the building? Moi. Well maybe not the favorite but I have been spending a lot of time in classrooms with some heavy hitters, as I like to call them. Not literally hitting but have major behavioral presence and power because they take over the class with their disruptions and poor choices.
I spend the majority of my time volleying between two 5th grade classes with 34 students in each room!! I know, way too many but that is another conversation. These two overpopulated classes also have very challenging students – must be something in the water. The teachers are absolute saints. I already love them and they have welcomed me with open arms. I wonder why?
**( In all seriousness I believe that everyone, EVERYONE should spend one week with a classroom like this and see why teachers complain they are underpaid, exhausted, fed-up and pissed at the government. This school is 90% free & reduced lunches, below poverty level, have minimal resources and test scores are alarming. But the government only gives more money to schools that “perform well”. Those schools don’t need the extra money because their PTO can and often raise thousands for Apple TVs and IPADS, ELMOS, Laptops, resources, supplies, books…okay, okay I’ll stop. Again, another topic to blab about later.)
The 5th grade room that I spend the last two hours of my day with are exactly like the class on this Cheech & Chong skit. EXACTLY. No exaggerations whatsoever. I feel like that person in Edvard Munch’s The Scream
and try to channel my inner Yogi.
The students will see me doing the Om gesture and deep breathing, which they sadly find amusing. And like the professional that I am, the words “Shut Up!” have never left my lips but it goes through my head the entire two hours. The taking is incessant, non-stop, chronic and unbelievably unbelievable. “Diarrhea of the Mouth” is my professional diagnosis. It’s like 70% of the class has ADHD on steroids. Never seen (or heard) anything like it. They. Never. Stop. Do motivators work? Nope. Does passing out tickets to shop at their Friday school store work? Not so much. Praise? It only perpetuates it. Cheerleading? Only makes them more boisterous. Shaming? They don’t really care. Pleading and begging? You guessed it – no. It’s actually remarkable. I think 60 Minutes should show up and document this phenomenon but then it would be a privacy issue. They really are nice kids. I can find the positive in almost anything and anyone. I’ll let you know when I figure out this tough crowd. I am up for the challenge, “throw me in coach, I’m ready to play!”
Here is it friends. The recording of the original Cheech & Chong skit. I laughed all those years ago and find it ironic that I am now in Sister Mary Elephant’s shoes.