NOTE: This is a comedic article. Thousands of teachers are in need of basic supplies for their classrooms. Please view the list the Teacher Misery followers have contributed to and help if you can.
I’ll Tell You What I Want
Most teacher wish lists include chart paper, decorative paper for bulletin boards, sticky notes, book bins, erase markers, self inking stamps and maybe an electric pencil sharpener. I need all of those things for sure. But I’m not a first year teacher and my needs now go beyond liquid chalk markers and a paper slicer.
What I Really, Really Want
I know that we’re lucky even to receive a small amount of money to spend on classroom supplies. I’ve thought very hard about what I need for my classroom this coming school year, and I’m not sure the amount allotted to me will be enough. Some of these are big-ticket items but essential, nonetheless.
Classroom Supplies that are Essential
First, I’d like a microwave for my room. I know we’re trying to be a “green school.” I also know there’s one in the staff lounge, but having one constantly at my disposal would allow me to reheat my coffee the 500 times a day I have to reheat it to keep it at the optimal temperature after putting it down, getting distracted, and forgetting where I put it. And since I’ve had to share classrooms, other teachers will benefit from this too.
Just as caffeine is necessary for getting stimulated in the morning and staying awake in meetings, alcohol calms me whenever I feel stressed out by a nasty email, a sizable stack of papers to grade, or a patently ridiculous answer on a quiz, such as when someone classifies the word “noun” as a verb.
This state of calm could best be achieved by a permanent vodka drip, but as I’m loath to go about my teaching duties dragging an IV pole, the vodka fountain is a better choice. I don’t know where to order one of these. I’m sure those guys who install the regular water fountains could handle it.
Classroom Management Aid
How about a year’s supply of tranquilizer darts? I’m not picky about where this comes from or what’s in the darts. Xanax, Valium, Ketamine, or whatever works. I just need to be able to calm kids quickly and with accuracy.
Please disregard last year’s request for twelve dozen Valium lollipops. The guidelines on giving students food have gotten so strict that I will have to forgo subtlety. I understand if we can’t afford it. When necessary, I’ll just have students drink from the “special fountain.”
Next, I’ll need an electric classroom management grid. Don’t tell me no one has invented this. It’s a thing; it’s just not available to the general public yet. Do some digging.
Behavior Management Aid
Connected to each student’s seat, the system would allow me to administer brief electric shocks to students as needed. I used to envision it being sold with a trainable assistant of some sort, perhaps a circus monkey, who would heed my commands (“Monkey! Seat A-4!”) and administer the shocks from a master control panel in the back of the room.
I’m fairly sure I could operate this system by remote control or through an app on my tablet or smartphone. It’s rumored Apple has created one called the iShock. I’m sure the rival ones are cheaper, but I bet the iShock is prettier and shinier and makes me feel superior to others while I’m using it.
I Might Spend My Own Money on This
And before you start getting worried about the level of electricity and any permanent brain damage, we would use no more than a puppy’s shock color. This is also for training purposes. If you order during the Back to School promotion, I’ve heard that you can get a free invisible fence system and a class set of those puppy shock collars to prevent students from stepping outside the classroom before the dismissal bell. I’m especially interested in the ones that include a complimentary cattle prod for the hallways.
Structure and Predictability
If the grid system proves too expensive or too many parents would find it ethically questionable, I will settle for a human-sized Whack-a-Mole mallet, which will achieve the objective of keeping things orderly with a fun, retro arcade flair.
Worth the Money
While I’m being candid, I have always wished for a soundproof booth, the kind you’d see in a recording studio or on a game show. According to Google, they run anywhere from eight hundred to five thousand dollars, but in my opinion, that’s a small price to pay for a reliable place to banish the most annoying student in the class. Put a kid in there once and leave him indefinitely while we continue with our lesson, oblivious to his soundless screams, and he’ll quickly learn self-control. Isn’t that life lesson worth it?
A Teacher’s True Wish
Last but not least, my final wish: I dream of this every Teacher Appreciation Week when the school presents its staff with a bunch of junk emblazoned with the school logo. I’m not ungrateful—they’re all lovely gifts—but I really want a free pass to say and do whatever I want for 8 hours with no repercussions.
That’s right. I get to scream, cry, curse, do jazz hands, smack people in the face, and be as sarcastic as I want for an entire school day, and I can’t be fired. I’m allowed to utter things like “Moron,” “Well, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,” and “It stinks in here! I’m sick of you people coming in here every day after lunch and busting farts!” I don’t know what free passes are running these days, but to me, they’re priceless.
Oh, and if you can’t get approval for any of these requests, that container of super strong pushpin magnets you got me last year? The one with the reminder “Do Not Eat” on the side? They’re amazing. I could always use more. And a personal laminator, too.
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Abby Byrd is a writer, a grammarian, and the poster child for existential despair. She mothers, frets, writes, and teaches in an undisclosed location on the East coast of the United States of America. Her work has appeared on Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, and other sites, and in four anthologies.