1991-1992, Sometime during the school year
“Ma, this kid came to my class today and he brought all these snakes. It was great. He owns the snakes and goes around to schools and teaches about them. He was just a kid mom, just a kid. And he knew so much!” Daniel had come home from school rather excited.
“Well, why did he come to your class, why wasn’t he in school?” I asked.
“Because my teacher is married to a guy who works in your school mom! The kid and his mom live in Green Brook. It’s true! They said they knew you too!”
So I investigated. And yup, Daniel had his story straight, sort of! As most stories out of the mouths of babes usually are, mostly accurate. As it turned out, this young man (the kid) lived in the town where I worked. His Grandma was a PE teacher in our high school for years (before my time) and his grandpa drove a school bus in the town where I lived (part time at this point in his career). Daniel’s second grade teacher was married to a teacher in my district and that was the connection that brought this amazing kid with the snakes to my son’s classroom. Daniel was so impressed that a “kid” could know so much about snakes. I was impressed that he got the day off from school and was allowed to bring snakes in to a second grade classroom!
So come on a little time trip with me now…
2020-2021, September of this school year
I get my class list and discover that I have a special young man coming to my third grade class. A young man with a history, a special history. This young man (some might call him a kid since he is a third grader) is the great grandson of a former PE teacher in my district and a former beloved bus driver in my town. His grandma has worked with me in my school for years and his mom spent many years working in our after care program. Yup, the snake kid grew up, got married, and now his son is in my class. I immediately texted my son, I was so excited!
Later that same school year, all the way to March!
And yesterday, that “kid” sent his son in to teach his classmates about snakes. He didn’t bring any snakes, he brought the snake “sheds”! Yup, he had the skins of 4 of their family snakes. He taught the class all about each snake, rolled out the different sheds, including the 12 foot boa, and held them all in thrall for about 20 minutes before we had to move on. I was so proud of Tyler. Proud of how he spoke, his calm demeanor, his knowledge. And I was proud of being a part of this family tradition. It was an extraordinary moment!