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Eric Baylin's
Songs to Brighten
A Teacher's Day


It must come up in every school in one way or another -- the chewing gum dilemma. We make the rule. They break the rule. We clamp down. They continue to chew, furtively --or not.

About the Lyricist

Eric Baylin has been a teacher for 37 years, working with a variety of age levels in both public and private schools in New York and North Carolina. He currently works at Packer Collegiate Institute in Brooklyn, New York, a K-12 independent school established in 1854. In addition to teaching art and photography to middle- and high-school students, Eric coordinates a program of collaborative faculty study groups in Packer's professional development program.

Chewing Gum in School

In my very first education course many decades ago, the professor poked fun at the enormous amount of serious attention that chewing gum receives at schools. But the bottom line is, it's a sticky issue any way you chew it. What to do? Let them chew? Exact penalties, punishments, fines? And then along come the brain researchers who tell us that chewing gum might, in fact, be a good thing. Tell that to the cleaning staff. What to do? It's time to sing.

They slip it in discreetly; then they chew, they chew.
They think that I won't see them, but I do, I do.
I say, if you've got gum in there,
Goes in the trash, not on the chair.
Please don't bring your chewing gum to school.

They say it's only paper, but then why the hint
Of something that smells very much like peppermint?
"It's only paper wait and see,"
But then they gulp it gingerly,
Chewing gum is not digestible.

The brain researchers say that maybe gum is good;
The chewing action helps the brain. You think it could?
I wonder whether Juicy Fruit
Will make you mentally astute?
Maybe we should all chew gum in school?

Then we should ask the cleaning staff just what they think
About the gum they scrape from underneath the sink,
The floors, the desks, the walls, the stairs,
And from the bottom of most chairs.
Chewing gum is nasty stuff to clean.

The faculty debated over what to do --
Enforce the rule, or drop it and just let them chew?
The argument was awfully hot.
Some said "Chew on" and some said "Not!"
Chewing gum can tear apart a school.

We said we 'd try a year or so, and let them chew,
If they could be responsible when they were through,
And toss it in a garbage can --
Or else we'd re-instate the ban.
Chewing gum can be a teaching tool.

Well, after just a year or so, guess what we did.
The gum was sticking everywhere, and we forbid.
We didn't care about their brains;
We stuck it to them once again.
Please don't bring your chewing gum to school.

Song lyrics Copyright© 2006 Eric Baylin