The plastic in classroom wastebaskets cling with chewed up gum of every color of the rainbow. Better there, as a trash can decorum, rather than a surprise on the underside of a table.
The gum war between teachers and students is a daily battle. Some students choose to chew gum despite the ban in classrooms, gambling on their ability to chew discreetly. Others enter the classroom and promptly spit into the trash can as an unwritten instruction of the agenda.
“You have any gum?” comes the dreaded whisper from the student next to you. Taking out your gum pack becomes a game of hiding it away from plain sight. If one person spots it, you have lost the game: suddenly, the word “gum” is overheard and it creates a domino-effect of several people clamoring for their piece.
What is this obsession with chewing gum? Does the taboo of gum in classroom make it that more desirable and fun to chew?
“It gives me an adrenaline rush to chew gum knowing I might be caught,” said one student who would like to remain anonymous. “It keeps me excited.”
Perhaps gum keeps some students alert throughout a dull task. “It keeps me from falling asleep,” said Ashley Wang ‘16. People on the fidgety side tend to multi-task as as a way to spool their energy, and chewing gum quietly as something to do helps them concentrate. “It’s better than tapping fingers or clicking pens, which may distract others,” said Brianna Carty ‘16. “When does chewing gum ever do harm?”
Although there hasn’t been a report of death by gum at BSGE yet, some find it respectable to leave gum out of the classroom. Not everyone chews with their mouth closed, and some people “chew like a cow” to the point where the smacking noise is annoying. Also, it’s not only the students who are doing it. “Teachers chew gum too and it’s torture when they don’t let us chew gum,” said Mahaut Brooks ‘16. “It’s like a power trip.”
As much as gum can make blood boil, it has a soothing effect for some. “If students are anxious, gum can release anxiety,” remarked Ms. Matani.
It’s a good thing that gum hasn’t been found on test folders yet.