So what is to be done when a student farts in class?
Hey, don’t laugh, this is a serious academic issue.
The way I see it, there are a coupla options.
1) Try to pretend it didn’t happen. Of course, if it’s stinky one, the boys sitting in and around the — let’s pretend I teach in a church — the boys sitting in and around the “pew” are gonna keep disrupting whatever progress you want to make in your lesson with commentary and insights about the aroma.
Of course, when you try to actually teach an ELA lesson on the need to use precise, descriptive, vibrant vocabulary in English class, you get papers back that lay flat and are filled with bland vanilla. But let a kid break wind and all of a sudden, the vocabulary being bandied about the room would make a lovelorn poet from the Romantic era proud of its richness and poignancy.
2) Scold the perpetrator. Now for me, this one would never work. First of all, I am still immature enough to find farts kinda funny so to actually try and castigate a kid would probably result in me cracking a smile in the middle of trying to keep a stern face. (Note: I think there is a fart joke in almost every book of young adult fiction I’ve yet written. And the new books that’ll be out next year, well… let’s just say it doesn’t look like the streak is in any danger of being broken right now.)
3) Pretend nothing actually happened and keep pressing on with the lesson. Probably the best route, when all is said and done, but meta-cognitively, an educator must know that for up to 180 seconds after student cheese-cutting, a teacher shouldn’t relay any truly valuable academic information — or else you will need to make a plan to re-teach it. After all, one good blasting of some backdoor breeze from a kid in class is enough to render even the most diligent of AP kids out of sorts for a while.
I guess the question I, as the teacher, have to really ask myself before I go down the road of condemnation for public flatulence is, to what end am I going to reprimand a student for this stuff? Am I going to send a kid to the Dean? Am I going to give the kid detention? Come on, let’s be honest, the more I keep the main subject of the classroom on student gas, the more tickled the kids are that we are 1) talking about this and 2) not talking about things like appositive phrases. I mean I have boys that would gladly engage in a 20 minute analysis on the type of wind currents able to be generated through the human digestive tract — the tone, the pitch, the pungency, the types of foods best suited to achieve optimum results — and if I were to give fart homework, I have a feeling my some of my most reluctant students would suddenly turn into verifiable scholars.
You want student engagement in the classroom? Try a Socratic Seminar on bottom blasts from the big brown horn. Guaranteed participation from all kinds of kids.
You want to teach vocabulary? Use farts. They’ll never forget the definition of turgidity again.
And not to be sexist, but how come I’ve never once had a freshman interrupt class with the declaration, “Ew, Kimberly farted!”
I get, “Ew, Michael farted!”
I get, “Ew, Joesph farted!”
I get, “Ew, both Michael and Joseph farted!”
But never the girls. Hmmm… worth more investigation.
The Conundrum of Student Farts… in my opinion, it’s an issue that needs more high level discussion.