Milken Assembly copyGUEST BLOGGER: JASON ZIMMERMAN

Jason attended his elementary years at a two-room schoolhouse nestled deep in the Huckleberry Mountains of Washington State. Amazingly, he emerged with the ability to read and write—as well as tie his shoes. With this newfound ability he migrated to the desert, surviving on discarded scones and library drinking water so as to teach fifth grade. He is an avid photographer and trekker of the wilderness landscapes of southern Utah. He also enjoys piña coladas & getting caught in the rain…

SCENE 1, INTERIOR. MORNING, FIFTH GRADE CLASSROOM. The teacher is currently giving a series of 5 different spelling tests simultaneously to his class. He has made it a point to use each students’ name at least once in a sentence. He has now reached the end—having successfully used each students’ name. There are only a few words left on each list. The teacher looks down at the current word: kitten. He pauses momentarily, remembering a shirt he saw online a few days before about grammar, and uses a similar sentence].

TEACHER: Kitten. Every time you spell one of your words incorrectly on this test, somewhere, a kitten dies. Kitten.

[A ripple passes through the classroom, some students are surprised, others are amused at the sentence which was used.]

SCENE 2. A FEW MINUTES LATER. The teacher is now checking over students’ spelling tests. Students hand their teacher their tests one at a time. With each misspelled word, the teacher circles the word and then hands the test back to the awaiting student and comments:

TEACHER: Two wrong, Morgan? Bummer, it looks like you just killed two helpless little kittens. Better luck next time.

TEACHER: Tanner, you only missed three this time! Great job! Not too many kittens were sacrificed for your test today!

[A boy, standing at the end of the line slowly makes his way to the front. He is clutching his test to his chest like it is a letter from a dear friend. As it becomes his turn to get his test checked, he hands it over to his teacher. The teacher’s eyes widen in surprise, Joey usually does far better than this].

TEACHER: [In a hushed voice]. Joey, what happened? You usually do much better than this on your tests each week.

JOEY: [Leaning in to whisper his response]. I don’t like kittens. [Joey pauses, as if in deep thought, after a moment he whispers] How many kittens did we kill today?

TEACHER: [Still caught off-guard]. Uh…about 26 altogether, I think.

[Joey nods solemnly as he takes his test back and whispers].

JOEY: Don’t worry; I’ll be able to get a lot more of them next week.

Fade to black.

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