I had a day off today. I should say a day out of the class working elsewhere. I was instead working with other K teachers at my school to run a kindergarten roundup. We had 8-10 soon to be students coming in every half hour running through basic testing in a hopeful attempt to have equality in the classrooms this fall.
I had a sub I never had before. Turned out she had just finished her student teaching and THIS was her very first attempt at subbing. I apologized to her for what she was about to experience. We all know it as, "checking out for summer." The kids, as proven from the previous days this week, had reverted back to pre-cave behavior.
Since I was in the gym I was able to check in periodically on my class and was hopeful when I saw engaged, happy learners. The joy began to seep away when I got a message that X needed to go to the office. I didn't know why, it surely wasn't out of the norm, but really? Couldn't the day continue on the high it was? X, what are you doing out there???
With kids continually filling my chair I had no time to worry so I sat back and enjoyed the ride.
A few hours passed...
All of a sudden a thunderous rumble was heard. When I looked up, the music teacher was in front of me, center of the gym, basically holding back 24 kinders who now more closely resembled a group of rioters rather than my class. Her arms outstretched, her feet staggered, she looked like she was about to be ran over. She mouthed, "it was like this the WHOLE class."
Peeved beyond belief I apologized to the soon to be constituent I left at my station and requested my class join me outside. The majority, sans the few who never do anything, got an earful about respectful behavior and how it equates to the amount of recess one receives. I sounded upset and I meant it.
Respect doesn't end because the weather is warm. It doesn't end because school is almost out. It doesn't end when your teacher is not there. Respect should be ever present.
At the end of the day I went back to the "cave" hesitantly. Was it still standing? Was the note from the sub prefaced by, "I'll never come back?"
On my desk was the note from the substitute, but more importantly, several notes from my friends. Hearts, note cards, great art abound. Two immediately caught my eye.
One was thankful for the eye operation I performed on her Winnie the Pooh on one of my breaks. And the other could be called nothing other than a sign of love for his teacher. His initials and mine were the only written words. Both kids struggled all year with coloring and drawing for various reasons and yet these two samples stood out like original Monet's in my mind.
All of a sudden the mob mentality memories slipped away and in came happiness.
It truly is the little things that matter most. They ground us on the days we ponder our sanity. They remind us what is important. Even in the most utter chaotic time: We love one another.