Today I was giving every kid a drive-by, checking vocabulary homework. I am all about the vocabulary, baby. As (I think) Ray Bradbury said, “You can’t think the thoughts if you don’t know the words.” The big-haired consultant lady we were subjected to for over a year even finally admitted, after months of jabbering about other shtuff, that the number one predictor of college success is vocabulary.

Which is what have been saying for 25 years. Where’s my fee?

Anyway, as I approach one girl for her “Show-Me-You-Know” sentences, she starts giving me the booboo lip right away. The auto-tears are forming in the corners of the eyes.

“I…I’m sorry.”

“For what?”

“I for… forgot to do my vocab…sniff…”

This is what they call a teachable moment, so I have to go public.

“You don’t have to apologize to me! All you’re doing is making my job easier, actually. I get paid the same whether you get an A or an F. If none of you did your homework, I could get a lot more napping in.”

Now she really doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry, but I’m still talking to the room.

“The homework isn’t about me. It’s about you. You’re the one who has to pass to get to 8th grade. You’re the one who has to do the work, and you’re the one who will get the credit. I don’t assign homework and essays and such because I like reading them. So don’t apologize to me. Just kick yourself in the butt, and get back to work.”

I accompanied the butt line with a demo of how that might look.

The word butt gets them every time.

She’s going to bring that vocab tomorrow.