Friday, April 17, 2015

How I Whipped the Nay Nay

"If you can't beat 'em, join 'em."

Soldiers say it. Parents relent to it. And every teacher at some point in their career refers to this phrase. Now before anyone goes judgin', I am not referring to this phrase in the literal sense. I have not attempted nor do I wish to beat anyone. Those who have any experience with trying to be yourself in a situation or get your way, and then finally succumbing to  "The heck with it" will be able to relate to the use of aforementioned phrase.

And so it goes that we had a pep rally today in preparation for the big state standardized test that occurs next week. (My own opinions of this test will be released in another blog, lest I digress). Two of our fantastic assistants put together an agenda that included cheerleaders, chants and signs all in an effort to get these kids PUMPED about sitting in a classroom for 4 hours in which they can't move, sneeze, sleep, slump, speak or breathe loudly.

"Who wants to join the teacher dance-off?" My assistant friend announced at the staff meeting. My alter ego who thinks I'm an amazing hip-hop dancer made me raise my hand and before I knew it, I had signed up.

The next thing I know I'm on stage with four elementary students and five other teachers for a practice session. So there's the African-American population.
And there's me.
Doin' the Whip and the Nay Nay.

What's that, you say? Here's an entertaining activity for those who are truly wondering. Google "Whip and Nay Nay" and watch it. Then insert my face into one of the girls dancing (the one who isn't very good). How 'bout it?

Yep. I even practiced at home to the embarrassment of my daughters who begged me not to do it. "Mom, stop doing that! You can't do that on a stage!" they pleaded.

But my mind was made up. I thought, if I can teach in these trenches and survive, last another year without a  sabbatical (read: visit to the funny farm), then by golly, I can do the Whip and the Nay Nay.

Thankfully, I had a 6th-grader in front of me who could "hit it" (read: showed advanced skills at these dances) and I mirrored her moves, pretending in my head that I looked just like her. It also helped that I put on sunglasses, which added to the logical theory that if they can't see my eyes, then I can't see them and they're not there and it didn't happen. Makes sense, huh?

Oh I forgot to mention that after the Whip and the Nay  Nay, there was the Stanky Leg, Break-Yo-Leg, the Superman and.... wait for it ... The Drop.
Yeah, I didn't drop. It hurt my knees to watch, so I decided to listen to my body that was screaming "HEY --ELL NO!" I modified to the partial bend and called it good.

I was sweating like an oldie, but man, I began to feel a part of this staff after two years. And the best part was, after we took our bow -- "We out!" -- and I rejoined my students, their eyes were beaming like I was some kind of celebrity they'd never met. They saw a new side of me and we connected on an entirely different level. Their level.

One student made me so happy I almost cried. She told me I wasn't just good up on stage, I was really great. And I don't think she said it to try for an A in class.

Whip, Nay Nay, sporting a do-rag, rapping, whatever it takes. This is so cliche' but if you told me five years ago I'd be doing what I did today, I'd have admitted you to the funny farm.

We out.