Story Time with The Honey Badger

By Megan Epley


Whenever I catch up with family members and friends that I bump into at a coffee shop or special event, they always seem to say something about the stories or quotes I post about my students and how much they love listening!

I had one cousin tell me, it’s because they could picture the whole scene playing out felt like he shared in the moment with us.

I’ve got too many quotes to pick from to just choose one as my favorite. I mean, how to pick?

From a parent sending me a thoughtful card because their son said I got married (nope lol.) to the kindergartener that told me that eating crayons makes babies.  

I’ve taught every grade - preschool through 12th grade. Hilarious moments are kids are bound to happen. With the older students, I can’t always share what they say since it’s kind of PG-13 content due to profanity and puberty (yep, awkward).

For instance, yesterday I was sitting and the student across from me randomly said “Awwww f*$! I love this song!”

My response: “Really? I’m right here.”

I gave them a warning because, if I’m being honest, I don’t want to be a hypocrite and would probably exclaim something like that in class if I hear a really great sound track. HA!

I don’t allow my older students to be wild banshees, but I occasionally let things slide if it’s just a form of excitement or expression.

Speaking of not being a hypocrite…last year at one of stARTem’s partner schools, Tyrann Mathieu “Honey Badger” visited the school to inspire and talk to students straight.

To this day I struggle knowing his real name since I’m familiar with him as “Honey Badger” the ruthless star from LSU. Impressed? Same. Like even a couple of weeks ago another teacher was wearing his Cardinals jersey and this is how our conversation went down:

Me: “Oh what position does that player play?”

Teacher: “Safety.”

Me: “That’s cool. You know I met Honey Badger once?”

Teacher: “Yeah, that’s Tyrann Mathieu.”



The day Mathieu visited, students freaked out and kept saying “Ms. Epley! Tyrann Mathieu is coming today!” And I just said “That’s cool is he famous or something?” The moment he walked in, I slipped and said “Oh sh*t is that Honey Badger?!” Whoops! Obviously not a diehard Cardinals fan. I do enjoy football and love my Saints, which surprisingly my current junior football players have “mad respect” for.  I must say that’s how I bond with my male students - through sports and music. They’re always impressed by my knowledge.

Student: “Man, Ms. E knows her sports!”

Student 2: “Yea she does, but I also think she just thinks OBJ (Odell Beckam Jr.) is pretty.”

Yep. I want to believe that’s why we trust each other. Whenever they act up, I just give them a look and say “Huh?” or “That’s interesting.” They immediately apologize.

Funny how caring about a kid and getting to know them changes it all.

Back to Honey Badger...

What I loved about his talk with the students is that he said, “I’m not a hypocrite, I’m going to be honest.”

If I’m being honest, when I saw Mathieu was, “How is he going to talk about his time in the news with drugs? I hope he doesn’t act like it didn’t happen?”

And he didn’t!

He addressed it and discussed how much he learned and grew from that. I loved that.

We can tell kids to do this and don’t do this but sometimes we have to be transparent. We have to be real. I mean have boundaries, please but sometimes real talk helps.

I mean they are so real with us, let’s reciprocate if it helps them see the bigger picture to the gems of the world and life’s journey.

Megan EpleyComment