Everyone likes food prizes

Everyone likes food prizes. I’ve used donuts, cupcakes, cheese puffs, goldfish and circus animal crackers, popcorn, candy, and chewy bars to bribe my students in the past. Today, it was time to hand out juice boxes for the most improved square roots timed test. Healthy? Perhaps not. But it’s not as if they get to stuff themselves silly.

After I handed out the last juice box and gave everyone a round of applause, my BTSA coach appeared with a posse consisting of one of the APs, the district superintendent, another BTSA coach I’ve meet before, and a couple other random people I couldn’t place but were probably from the district office. J, my BTSA coach, presented my certification of completion in the TVTIP program as well as a bag of goodies.

My students rose up to the occasion and gave me a round of applause on their own accord.

“Nice, Ms. Ng!” “You’re awesome, Ms. Ng!”

The superintendent shook hands with me. My AP gave me a card. Then one of the random district people lost her head. She was probably not used to being among easily excitable 13 and 14-year-olds.

“Would you like to give a speech?”

“Yeah! Speech Ms. Ng! Speech!”

I looked at J, who smiled encouragingly. “If you want to.” She, and maybe my AP, were probably the only ones who read and understood my deer-in-headlights expression. How can it be possible that I, so practiced at spinning stories from nothing in front of classrooms full of people, found myself dumbstruck?

“Alright, I’ll give a speech.”

I took a deep breath. The room went silent in an instant. The only words that came to my head were I’m so glad these big-wigs caught my class on a well-behaved day, and my kids didn’t embarrass me, or themselves.

What I actually said? “Chocolate is awesome.”

I pumped the bag of goodies in the air to resounding applause and laughter. Yes. Chocolate is awesome.

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