Sometimes even adults are selfish

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 17, 2006

Sept. 28, 2005

The door to Mrs. Tuccio&8217;s class sticks a little, and it takes some force to push through if it&8217;s completely shut.

The force that exploded through Monday after music class was more than was needed, though. The matching scowl on the fourth-grade face further evidenced that point.

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A Nintendo Gameboy &8212; clearly against school rules &8212; had been rightly confiscated, and the owner wasn&8217;t happy.

This wasn&8217;t going to be a friendly, picture perfect class time, and it probably wasn&8217;t a time the teacher wanted to share with a newspaper reporter.

Surely the whole class&8217;s behavior can&8217;t be attributed to one unhappy Gameboy owner, but it seemed his attitude sort of set the mood for his classmates.

Mrs. Tuccio fought through fidgety outbursts from students in every corner of her classroom. Feet didn&8217;t stay on the floor, mouths didn&8217;t stay shut and pencils weren&8217;t particularly getting a workout &8212; yet they still managed to need sharpening every five minutes.

The first 10 to 15 minutes back from music were used to wrap up math class and complete an assignment from the book.

Mrs. Tuccio circled the room 100 times over answering questions, passing out calculators and reminding the students to stay on task. It was enough to drive most non-teaching adults to their breaking point.

The good students did what they were supposed to do. The others didn&8217;t.

And 15 minutes wasn&8217;t long enough for Mr. Gameboy to get his emotions in check. Once math ended and social studies started, he reverted to putting his head on top of his closed textbook.

Yet, 15 minutes was long enough for Mrs. Tuccio to regain control and get back to the job at hand &8212; preparing her students for their social studies 9 weeks test next week.

She never even broke a sweat, and she never let the one upset student garner any extra attention.

I decided to follow a fourth-grade class this year to chronicle their growth, and maybe review my sub-par math skills on the side.

Instead these kids are teaching me life lessons and helping me grow. (I gave up on the math during the second week of school.)

Mr. Gameboy wanted what he wanted, when he wanted it.

His classmates wanted the same, only in a more manageable form.

Nearly every time a hand went up, the words &8220;Mrs. Tuccio,&8221; erupted from the attached mouth. Raising the hand and waiting patiently wasn&8217;t an option. And none of those kids seemed to grasp the fact that Mrs. Tuccio had almost 25 other students in the room that needed her just as much.

I&8217;d like to say selfishness fades with age and maturity, but faced with the way I&8217;ve seen myself behave when something doesn&8217;t go my way, I&8217;m not so sure. I think adults merely learn to mask their most selfish outbursts.

But sometimes when your Gameboy gets taken away, the mask comes off and the childishness ensues.

Yet, class still goes around you, whether you like it or not.

Julie Finley is the education reporter for The Natchez Democrat. She writes a weekly column based on experiences with Marty Tuccio&8217;s homeroom class at McLaurin Elementary. She can be reached at 601-445-3551 or