Dear Department Chair,
I’ve received your email about the deadline for spending our yearly allotment, and I want you to know I’ve thought very, very hard about what I need for my classroom next year. It’s a good thing we have a sizable amount left, because—I’ll warn you—some of these are big-ticket items.
First, I’d like a microwave for my room, “green school” be damned. I know there’s one across the hallway in the staff lounge, but having one constantly at my disposal would allow me to reheat my coffee the 500 times a day I have to reheat it to keep it at the optimal temperature after putting it down, getting distracted, and forgetting where I put it.
Just as caffeine is necessary for getting stimulated in the morning and staying awake in meetings, alcohol calms me whenever I feel stressed out by a nasty email, a sizable stack of papers, or a patently ridiculous answer on a quiz, like when someone classifies the word “on” as a verb. This state of calm could best be achieved by a permanent vodka drip, but as I’m loath to go about my teaching duties dragging an IV pole, the vodka fountain is a better choice. I don’t know where to order one of these. I’m sure those guys who install the regular water fountains could handle it.
Tranquilizer gun and year’s supply of darts. Again, not picky about where this comes from or what’s in the darts. Xanax, Valium, Ketamine…whatever works. I just need to be able to shoot quickly and with accuracy. Please disregard last year’s request for twelve dozen Valium lollipops. The guidelines on giving students food have gotten so strict that I’m going to have to forgo subtlety and get the gun. I understand if we can’t afford it. When necessary, I’ll just have students drink from the “special fountain.”
Electric shock grid system. Don’t tell me no one has invented this. It’s a thing; it’s just not available to the general public yet. Do some digging. Connected to each student’s seat, the system would deliver brief, corrective electric shocks as needed. I used to envision its being sold with a trainable assistant of some sort, perhaps a monkey, who would heed my commands (“Monkey! Seat A-4!”) and administer the shocks from a master control panel in the back of the room. Nowadays, I’m fairly sure I could operate this system myself by remote control, or through an app on my tablet or smartphone. It’s rumored Apple has created one called the iShock. I’m sure the rival ones are cheaper, but I bet the iShock is prettier and shinier and makes me feel superior to others while I’m using it.
I’ve heard that if you order during a promotion, you can get a free invisible fence system and a class set of shock collars to prevent students from stepping outside the classroom before the dismissal bell. I’m also interested in the ones that have a free cattle prod included. You know, for the hallways.
If the grid system proves too expensive or ethically questionable, I’d settle for a human-sized Whack-a-Mole mallet, which will achieve the objective of keeping things nice and orderly with a fun and retro arcade flair.
Last but not least, my final wish: I dream of this every Teacher Appreciation Week, when the school presents its staff with umbrellas, travel mugs, pads, pens, and hats emblazoned with the school logo. I’m not ungrateful—they’re all lovely gifts—but what I really want is a free pass to say and do whatever I want for 8 hours with no repercussions. That’s right. I get to scream, cry, curse, do jazz hands, smack people in the face, and be as sarcastic as I want for an entire school day, and I can’t be fired. I’m allowed to utter things like “moron,” “jackass,” “Well, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,” and “It stinks in here! I’m sick of you people coming in here every day after lunch and ripping ass!” I don’t know what free passes are running these days. I’m gonna go with “priceless.”
Thanks for your consideration.