Another Moment From Room 46

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A Little Help Here… August 29, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — psuintx @ 8:09 PM
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I made it…the first week of school has come and gone! I recovered from my first day jitters and it’s going to be a great year. It’s funny because college can only teach you about child psychology and theory. You can observe 100 teachers and practice during student teaching but until you are there with 20 pairs of eyes staring back, you are a teacher.  Over the years, I’ve learned that just when you’ve seen everything…something new happens.

This week was filled with rules, procedures, and practice. We had just come inside from recess and the students were using the restroom area. My teaching partner and I were waiting in the hallway when we heard noise from the girls’ restroom.

“Help!” a soft voice called out. Another voice responded and then the soft voice got louder, “Kim, help!” The other teacher and I exchanged a look and went in to investigate.

At this point, Kim was in a panic, “Jenna is stuck in the stall.”

As the other teacher worked on the door, I tried to corral the onlookers out of the restroom. It wasn’t until I saw the door wasn’t going to open, I began to laugh. You know, the nervous kind that is inappropriate. You just needed to see this little girl’s face while the other teacher is pulling at the stall door. Neither I nor the other teacher wanted her to crawl under because honestly, I wouldn’t want my dog crawling on the floor of a public restroom.

So, I began to help pull at the door {still laughing). Meanwhile, the girl was worried that we would break the door. Seriously? I decided to matter-of-factly point out, “Do you want us to break the door so you could get out or do you want to stay in there?”

“True,” She answered with a smile. At least she was being a good sport about this situation (and the fact that I was still laughing).

Again the other teacher and I pulled. The door came forward just enough for Jenna to squeeze through. I apathetically apologized over and over again because I couldn’t stop laughing. She was in good spirits because she had escaped the restroom stall.

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This story also makes me think of 3 years ago when a 2nd grader was calling for help at recess. It was a rare event that 3rd grade and 2nd grade’s recesses overlapped. I’m thinking it must have been an early dismissal day. Anyway, I digress. My teaching partner and I were watching the playground area when we heard, “Help! A little help here!”

We turned around to find that he had tied himself to the pole with his sweatshirt and he couldn’t get free. His class was going in and he couldn’t untie his sweatshirt. Luckily, he was able to slide the sweatshirt down, step over it, and then we untied him.

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If only parents knew the times where teachers go above and beyond to not only educate their children but to keep them safe as well.

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NOTE: All names have been changed to protect the innocent and the not so innocent.

 

First Day Jitters… July 7, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — psuintx @ 8:35 PM
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I know it’s crazy for a teacher to think about the first day of school at the beginning of Jluy…but I am. The “end of the year” nightmares hopefully have subsided a few nights ago and I longingly look forward to the reoccurring “beginning of the year” dream.

I’m ready to start year 10 (am I old enough to have taught that long?).  And I know THEE dream will start any night now. For 10 consecutive years the dream starts the same way. CUE WAVY SPECIALS EFFECTS AND CHIMES…

It is always the first day of school and I’m standing in a classroom full of unrecognizable faces. The students are talking…LOUDLY. I don’t have control and I can’t get them to quiet down. Do you want to know why? I’ve lost my voice. I yell and nothing comes out. ARGH!

I’m always frustrated by this dream. That’s never happened…in fact most of the time, the students are so shocked to be back at school, they don’t utter a word o the first day. If anything, I should have nightmares about losing kids. Unfortunately, I have had bad luck with misplacing students during the first few days of school.

The most memorable time happened my second year of teaching. It was the second day of school and my teaching partner and I switched classes for the first time. I barely knew my own students, so it was difficult to remember 20 more names.

It was simple though…I read a story, went over expectations, and gave a short assignment. Around three o’clock, we switched classes and I was happy to reunite with familiar faces. Only a few minutes later, my teaching partner was at my door looking for Andy. Hmmm…Andy. “Where is Andy?” I thought to myself.  “Class, have you seen Andy?”

I probably do not need to remind you that this story is about a lost student and as you can infer, we looked everywhere. Lastly, you could probably guess that we found him. He was in the restroom. You know, he had asked me a half hour ago to go to the restroom. I has hysterical and glad we found him.  Andy began crying because he didn’t know he was lost.

So, you’ve read all of this so far and you’re wondering why this story is SO memorable? I guess the memorable part came later at the parent conference when Andy’s mother explained that Andy needs reading material to go to the restroom. She suggested next time to allow him to take a book with him. Seriously?

Maybe we should have put ads on the back of the stall doors like they do in stadiums or other public restrooms. Hey, it would make money for our school and PTA. Would that qualify as reading minutes on their reading logs?I wonder how he’s coping with this problem now in high school? Poor guy.

So to sum up this long rant, when will the dreams begin and why aren’t they always about losing my voice and not about losing students?

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Note: All the names have been changed to protect the innocent and the not so innocent.

 

Tatty Tales June 6, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — psuintx @ 10:41 PM
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So, I’m getting ready for church this morning and I put my hand in the pocket of my freshly dry cleaned pants. There it was…a reminder of my profession…a tattle tale. The not so carefully ripped corner of notebook paper with a note in pencil.

In my classroom, there is a shoe box covered with  Snoopy contact paper and a slot cut in the lid. This has been a wonderful invention and has saved me from a barrage of tattles over the years. Here are some memorable tattles and stories from my 3rd year of teaching.

1. My favorite tattle of all times!

Jenny came into the classroom one morning, unpacked and began writing the famous tattle. It was a very formal letter including Dear Mrs. ****. While her mother was driving her to school that morning, her mother had some difficulty with George’s mother. George was also in my class, so I guess that’s why Jenny felt I needed to know this information. The tattle tale went on to tell me that George’s mother was not obeying the traffic laws and apparently George’s mother almost side swiped Jenny’s car. I had to explain to Jenny that I could not punish George’s mother even though she wasn’t following the law.

2. The “brawl”

If you haven’t guessed that George was quite a character. He was very impulsive and said what came to his mind. At the end of one school day, I checked a stuffed tattle box and they all said the same thing…George said “brawl”. Okay? And? I had to inquire further because I was intrigued. Well, I guess George decided to talk to the other kids at lunch about his mother’s “brawl” and how the straps were showing.

3. The crayfish business

That school year, the students observed crayfish in Science class. George was very interested in the crayfish. So, one day when he went to check the crayfish, he yelled to my teaching partner, “Hey, the crayfish are mating over here!”

4. Tatty Tale

So, you may be wondering where the term “tatty” tale came from. Well, actually this story is not about George but his friend, Ricky. Ricky was from Malaysia and was still trying to master the difficult art of English. Unable to say the word tattle, he coined the term “tatty tale”.  I’ve called it that ever since then!

Note: All the names have been changed to protect the innocent and the not so innocent.

 

Not a Super Bowl Sized Malfunction May 26, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — psuintx @ 8:45 PM
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Due to resent events, I thought I’d reminisce about a few crazy wardrobe malfunctions. Okay, get your mind out of the gutter! This is not the Super Bowl nor is Janet Jackson going to pop out of this blog. Do I have to remind you that these stories are about kids in an Elementary School? Seriously.

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The first malfunction occurred my first year teaching (you know 22 and fresh out of college ready to take the world).  It was a regular day and while I was teaching, Jackie raised her hand to go to the restroom. I gave her permission and out the door she fled. After a while,  I looked at the clock. I thought, “Hmmm…she’s been gone for quit some time.”  So I stood outside my room and peered down the hallway. That’s where I saw Jackie…crying. “My pants are stuck and I really have to go” She hysterically told me.

ENTER THE COLLEGE PROFESSOR’S VOICE: “Do not touch the children.”

ENTER COLLEGE PROFESSOR NUMBER TWO: “Do not be in a place with a student alone.”

What do I do? UGH!

Meanwhile, Jackie is crying more and I’m panicking. So, I go to my mentor teacher and asked, “Now what?” Honestly, I was glad that she was equally perplexed about the situation. Since there was no other option, we had to get the button out of the teeny tiny slot in her jeans. I believe we told her to suck it in and we worked together to get her unbuttoned. Luckily, she made it into the bathroom and everything was fine until she came back out asking, “Can you help me button them again?”

SIGH. While we maneuvered the button back through the teeny tiny slot, I told her to never wear those jeans again!

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This leads me to today’s wardrobe malfunction. Sweet, sweet Jason came into the room and I noticed his zipper was down. I knew he would be very embarrassed if the other kids saw, so I asked him to come over. Jason’s very shy and he was standing quit a distance from me so I had to coax him closer. Finally, I whispered, “Honey, your zipper is down. Go ahead back to the restroom.” He nodded at me. At that moment, I was pleased that I alleviated a scene until he walked away. That’s when he abruptly stopped, looked down, loudly gasped, and walked quickly out of the room. So much for subtlety.

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Note: All the names have been changed to protect the innocent and the not so innocent.

 

Not Looking for a Bloggy…or am I? March 31, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — psuintx @ 7:14 PM
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On a recent “Ugly Betty”, Betty begins a Blog and wins an award called a Bloggy.  I don’t think I’m looking for a Bloggy, although it would be an interesting award show. It’s just that I always have ideas rolling around in my head and I very rarely have time to write it down.

In lieu of my facebook notes section, I thought I’d try this blog thing. Eventually I will move my facebook stories to my blog…but I thought I’d start out with a few classic stories first.

As a third grade teacher I must say, my life is never boring. I definitely think life is a whole lot more than a box of chocolates. Speaking of boxes, this classic story is all about boxes.

It’s after lunch and I am reading to the class. It was then that I noticed that one of the students had his hoodie on and it was zipped to his neck. He was acting suspicious and I knew I had to research this further. As the students return to their seats, I notice an odd shape to that hoodie.

The class is quietly working at their desks and I quietly crouch by Steven* and whispered, “So what do you have in your jacket?”

Steven looked shocked and quickly responded, “Nothing.”

“Oh, come on. I know there is something in there. What is it?” I coaxed.

Then I got…the stare. He’s trying to wait it out. I know he wants me to go away and pretend I didn’t see a thing. “Steven, there is something in there. For goodness sakes, you look like Sponge Bob.”

And he did! Once I surveyed the situation closer, I realized that his entire stomach was shaped like a box. The mere mention of Sponge Bob cause the rest of the students to lean a little closer toward our conversation. That’s when I suggested that we talk outside in the hall. Unfortunately, any hope I had of quickly solving this mystery depleted when we went into the hallway because the interrogation started all over again.

Finally, we got somewhere when he began to point the finger at another student named Jeffrey*. I stepped back into the room and called Jeffrey into the hallway. Jeffrey looked at me, then Steven, and let’s not forget…Steven’s square stomach. Sigh.

You could tell at that moment that the truth was their only choice because Steven unzipped his jacket to reveal 2 pizza boxes from lunch. With pure curiosity I asked, “Um…why did you take those?”

“Jeffrey wanted them,” Steven tells me as he points to his friend.

“Well?” I asked.

“I wanted them because of the games on the back,” he responded. For a moment this sounded logical until I examined one of the empty pizza boxes. I even examined the inside which was still filled with leftover sauce and cheese. After they watched me examine the box, Jeffrey points to the box and states that it said the word “fun” on the back.

He was right about that but it said, “It’s fun to be nutritious” and had a big picture of the food pyramid. Sigh.

I gently explained what the back said, talked about taking things without permission, and asked them to throw it away in the cafeteria (remember there was still food inside). As they turned the corner I laughed to myself and reentered the classroom.

*NOTE: All stories are true BUT all names are fake to protect the innocent.