"Ain't that great!" is a quote I hear all the time in my classroom. And often, I wonder if this is just a Southern expression, or do people all over America say it?
Early, before class this morning, Stevie ran into the classroom, excited. He rushed over to my desk, eager to tell me something. “I hope my daddy cusses some more –WHEN I GET HOME!”
“What?” I said. “I KNOW I didn’t hear you say what I think you just said.”
“Huh?” He glanced at me briefly, but didn’t have a clue as to what I had said. Shoving his hand deep into one of his pockets, he retrieved something, and then tossed what it was over on my desk.
“Several shiny coins flipped in the air, then twirled and danced on the top of my desk. One bounced, hit the floor, and rolled away. Chasing after it, Stevie ran, dropped to his side and slide across the freshly waxed floor, as if he were headed for second base.
“Got it!” He grabbed the coin, grinned, and returned to me. ”Yes Ma’am, ever time he says a cuss word, I have to tell him ... And I get a quarter!”
Setting the coin down with the other ones, he admired them. “SEVEN QUARTERS … Ain’t that GREAT?!”I sat there, stunned. Maybe his dad WAS hoping to improve his own behavior, but I wonder if he was aware of what his son was thinking.
So there were a lot of things I could have said, but I decided it was best that I didn’t go there. Instead, I said, “I’m curious … how long did it take you to get those seven quarters?”
“Jus morning…” he proudly revealed. “I got ‘em ALL jus morning!”
Whoa! I thought. It was time to change the subject, so I helped him gather up his quarters ...
And although I wanted to say waaay more, I merely muttered something about them having a very busy morning at his house.
Amy squealed, “Guess what! I know how to spell America’s team!”
“Uh huh … They on TV EVER night.”
“Every night? Are you referring to the Olympics?”
She clapped her hands. “That’s it!”
I had no idea where this was headed, but I was impressed with her enthusiasm. “Go ahead … Spell America’s team.”
“Easy,” she said and ran to the front of the classroom. Everyone in class watched and listened.
She chose a spot near the American flag. Then, looking down at her feet, she made sure she placed them “just so.” Next, she stretched to stand as tall as she possibly could (like a gold medal winner?) and waited. And waited.
Was that my cue? “READY?” I asked.
She took a deep breath and nodded.
Suddenly, a normally VERY soft-spoken little Amy yelled like a cheerleader, "U-S-A!"
Automatically, I smiled. Ahhh, I get it! That’s cute!
She clapped her hands again, pleased with herself. “Aint that great?!”
I nodded and clapped, too. Looking around the classroom, I’m pretty sure her classmates understood because I felt a team spirit present as everyone in the classroom applauded, too.
Amy took a little bow and then sat down.
Today I learned that this was Michael’s last day of school with us. I told the children he was moving away to Florida. “I’d like for us to do something special for him.”
Stevie cut in. “One time I moved away to South Carolina in a ‘PARTment. And guess what my class gave me when I left!"
A wistful expression flitted across his face. “A WHOLE SHEETFUL of names!”
I’m not sure if his classmates understood because they just sat there, but when I realized what he meant, I couldn’t help but smile and nod.
No doubt, Stevie wanted more of a response from his peers because when he saw the blank expressions on their faces, he said, "Ain't that great?"
They sat motionless. So he shouted at them, “Now, LISTEN! ... Aint that GREAT?!”