A few weeks into my time here, I dropped my third graders off at lunch. I must have had some sort of congestion problem…or just an itch on the outside of my throat, because I scratched it and rubbed at it a little. I hadn’t thought anything of it. I never do.
My ignorance of that action turned into an interesting five-minute post lunch discussion.
Upon returning to my classroom, one of my students gasped in shock.
“Is that a hickey?”
I had just reacted and was torn between disbelief and nervous laughter. Kids do say the darnedest things. I wasn’t looking for a definition of what a hickey was…but that is what I got.
Students heads were instantly on me as the rest of the class burst out into conversation and questions. Some rushing towards me to get a better look.
After a few moments of the tiny people around me trying to kidsplain hickeys to me…I regained my composure. They argued with me a little as I tried to explain that it wasn’t what they thought. That’s what they all say. And it didn’t cross my mind until later that they had assumed that somewhere in the 25ish minutes we were apart this had happened…with the extreme possibility of it being at school.
It was one of those moments where now I put a hand over my face and shake my head. Was it even real?
But to shut it down at that moment, I pulled out my cellphone camera, using it as a mirror…to check out the strange red mark on the front of my neck. I had no idea what they were talking about or why it involved hickeys.
Then I turned to them.
“Oh, this little thing. I scratched myself.”
“Really? Are you sure?”
“Yes. I’m sure.” Deadpan. “You see, I am white, very white, and this is what happens when I scratch myself. I turn red…very red.”
They thought about it for a while, were appeased, and then we started math class. Mystery solved.
I no longer scratch at my neck during the school day.