An Alarming Lack Of Preparation

, , , , , | Learning | October 5, 2019

I teach third grade. On the third day of school, a fire alarm was pulled during lunchtime as a prank by a student! 

Because it was so early in the year, we had only practiced leaving the classroom for a fire drill; we hadn’t yet practiced what to do when you were somewhere else, like the cafeteria, so the kids didn’t know what to do or where to go. 

One of my students that year had epilepsy; she couldn’t look at the flashing fire alarm without setting off a seizure, so she just covered her eyes and put her head down and cried. 

I was waiting to use the restroom when I heard the alarm go off. I didn’t know whether there was a real fire or not, so I sprinted from the restroom to my scared kiddos in the cafeteria. I found my student who was crying and picked her up, and got her and got the rest of my class out of there, along with another teacher’s class.

Once outside, I put her down and realized that sometime during the trip she had stopped crying and started laughing; she thought it was hysterical that I was carrying her “like a baby”!

Most kids barely got to eat their food, and they were all either thrilled with the excitement, or pretty upset at missing out on a big chunk of their lunchtime. That afternoon, we had “second lunch” during what was supposed to be math class. We all went outside to have a picnic and practice a geometry dance on the blacktop. 

The school quickly drafted a letter to send home to the families so they would know what had happened, and also that there hadn’t been any real danger.

It was a crazy day… but also a sign that we needed to have a better plan in place for managing unpredictable situations! 

My favorite part was that several of my kiddos wrote about it in their first writing assignment of the year, “The Best Day At School Ever!” I’m glad they (mostly) enjoyed it in the end… and that it never happened again!

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School Is Not The Happiest Place On Earth

, , , , , | Learning | October 1, 2019

(When I’m in the fourth grade, my parents decide to take my sister and me to Disney World. They elect to do so in the fall to avoid the crowds and the blistering heat. I inform my teacher of this, and he hands me a huge packet of all of the work — not just homework, but classwork, too — that I will be missing while I am gone. However, being a naive nine-year-old, I don’t think much of it, as I’m going to be busy on vacation. My parents know about the packet, but even they assume it’s a “go over this as you’re able” sort of affair. My mom is a meticulous planner and has every day at the parks planned down to the minute, so I don’t really have time to do anything other than sleep when we get back to the hotel. I do get a couple of bits and bobs done, and when I return to school I hand these in to my teacher.)

Teacher: “Where’s the rest of it?”

Me: “Um… I was on vacation. I didn’t have time to do all of it, but I will get it finished now that I’m home. It should only take–”

Teacher: “No, you were supposed to have this done for me when you came back!”

Me: “What?! You never said that! I was on vacation!”

Teacher: “It’s your responsibility to get your work done on time! I am very disappointed in you!”

(I’m the kind of kid who is never in trouble, so I’m already near tears as this is the first time a teacher has ever reprimanded me.)

Me: “I– I’m sorry! I thought–”

Teacher: “I don’t care what you thought! You are staying in for recess for one week, and you will work on this packet then!”

(And that’s how I got punished for going on vacation at nine years old. For the record, I finished the packet after three days of no recess, but he still made me stay inside for the full week. I do realize that the fact he gave me a packet should have been a hint, but I’d love to see his reaction if someone told him he’d better be writing lesson plans while he’s at Disney World!)

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Oh, My Sweet Summer Child

, , , , , | Healthy | September 23, 2019

(At the school where I teach, the cafeteria staff has gotten a grant to provide fresh fruit and vegetables to all students two afternoons per week; on this day, the snack is Honeycrisp apples.)

Student: “Are these sweet?”

Me: “Yes; Honeycrisp are really sweet, especially compared to other apples.”

Student: “Well, I’m on a diet and my mom says I’m not supposed to have sugar or sweets.”

Me: “Well, apples are sweet because they’re naturally sweet, not because there’s any sugar added.”

Student: “Yeah, but I’m not supposed to have any sweets. I’ll have something healthier, like chips.”

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The Principal Does Not Respect Books

, , , | Learning | August 27, 2019

(I’m waiting to pick up my cousin from elementary school. I’m passing the teacher’s lounge when I see the new principal. She’s known for being very whiny, like the kids in the school. A pair of student leaders go by, carrying tall stacks of books for their teacher.)

Principal: “Good morning, children.”

(Likely the two students didn’t see her, as the stacks of books they’re carrying obscure their lines of sight. They don’t answer.)

Principal: *in a whiny, high-pitched voice* “Hello! Children! I said, ‘Good morning,’ to you!” *STAMPS HER FOOT like a kid*

Students: *looking nervous* “Good morning, Mrs. [Principal].”

Principal: “That’s better. You should greet your teachers when you see them! That’s so rude of you to walk by without even saying anything!”

(The students were having trouble with the stacks of books and looked like they would like to put them down, but the principal was whining on. I stepped up and helped. Turns out that there was supposed to be a third child, but he ran off to the bathroom, leaving the two struggling with the stacks that were more than they could handle. I wondered at the principal — who was supposed to be taking care of the students in her charge — who was more concerned about getting the respect she thought she was due than the welfare of the kids in front of her!)

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All The Happy Ladies, Now Put Your Hands Up!

, , , , , , , | Hopeless | August 22, 2019

This story takes place at my mum’s school where she is an office worker. Usually, the parents and children are nothing but grumpy and rude to all the staff, especially the office workers. 

However, there was one family who had a lovely little girl with MS. The girl was moving up a year and so had to have a “safe place” where she could go and where she would be accompanied by a buddy. This little girl, upon being told this, started crying with happiness. And when asked, she said, “I can spend time with the happy ladies in the office.” All “the happy ladies” were indeed happy and immediately agreed to make time in their busy schedules to do this. 

At the end of the year, as a thank-you, the family gave each of the ladies a £30 bouquet. This happened a few years ago, but my mum still talks about it, and the girl came back to see them and thank them once again this year.

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