My Students Are Going About Making Fun Of That Tyler Kid All WrongCommentary • Opinion • ISSUE 46•12 • Mar 23, 2010 By Linda McKibben The students in my fourth-grade class are the most amazing group of kids you'll ever meet. Every day is an adventure with them. They're like these little sponges, ready to soak up as much knowledge as they possibly can, and as their teacher, I take pride in the fact that I let them grow at their own pace. As I always say, a child will never learn something unless they do it for themselves.That's why it hurts so much to have to stand by and watch as they make fun of that Tyler kid, because, let me tell you, they are going about it all wrong.This kid is a total gold mine. One look at his round little face and his open-toed sandals and it's painfully obvious. So why do my students continue to fall back on the same old, tired "Tyler is a piggy boy" routine that they've been trotting out since September?They're capable of so much more.For instance, everyone knows Tyler is a little sissy crybaby who wets his pants because he misses his mommy. And my students have hit him pretty hard on that. But have any of them ever noticed how stupid his hair looks? Or how when he runs he looks like a jiggly little fat girl chasing after an ice cream truck? There is so much raw potential here that they're just not tapping into.Honestly, it breaks my heart to see so many of my students throw away a genuine opportunity to ruin this kid's life.Just yesterday during recess I heard a couple of the other children poke fun at Tyler's pathetic little hand-me-down sweater and then just leave it at that. I couldn't believe it. Didn't they even stop to think that maybe Tyler's parents are poor and can't afford new clothes? And that they should also exploit that? These children are in fourth grade, for Pete's sake. They should know better.In my opinion, Tyler is the sort of child who needs to be very gently nurtured and encouraged until he slowly settles into a false sense of security, and then—BAM!—that's when you pull the rug out from under him by pantsing him in the middle of the playground. Sure, this approach demands a lot of patience and hard work from my students, especially from all the girls who will need to trick Tyler into thinking that they like him, but the payoff is so much more rewarding.Obviously, the best way to really hit Tyler where it hurts is to target his acute separation anxiety, and his paralyzing abandonment issues stemming from his parents' recent divorce. And trust me, I've got ammunition from parent-teacher conferences that could last a lifetime. But the reality is that most of my students are not ready for those concepts yet. They'll eventually cover all of that in middle school, but for now, all I can hope is that they learn the basics: Tyler is a fucking retard, he smells like dog shit, no one likes him, no one ever will, and he should just go away and die.So the next time I'm teaching a math lesson and see one of my students dope-slap Tyler on the back of his gigantic mutant-dork head, I hope they don't stop there—I hope they rise to the occasion by whispering taunts and threats in his ear all through the math lesson until he's so petrified with fear that he'll softly cry himself to sleep that evening, praying to God that somehow, someway, he'll never, ever have to go to school again, the pasty little shit-stain.Nothing in the world would make me more proud.