Express Yourself

Be who you are and say how you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.
--Dr. Seuss

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Sick Day

I had to take a sick day today so that I could get more tests done for my doctor. I really hated leaving my students this early in the year. I spent two hours prepping for today's sick day. All through the day, I kept wondering how things were going. I left very detailed plans and tried to leave no stone left unturned on my first day away from my kids.

I texted my colleague to see how things were going during the day. I was done quite early with my scheduled test. The techs told me that my doctor would get the results in 4 to 6 hours. I am glad I decided to take the whole day because I knew that there could be some snafus in my schedule today. I went back to meet with my doctor in the pm. I was hoping that he would confirm his initial diagnosis from Tuesday.  I wanted to get the treatment plan and be on my way to healing. The truth be told, I didn't want to have to miss another day. I hate missing days. If I can be teaching, albeit under the weather and without being contagious, it is better than having a substitute. I know substitutes do great work, but it is better for my students and I if I am there.

I felt that I was on a roll lately and things were going great. Getting back tomorrow, after being out a day, will slow me down some. I have faith in my students and I know that they would do well. The mother hen in me, however, can't stop thinking about all the possible problems that could have occurred. I have been in this business for quite some time and there are plenty of things that could happen. That is why I spent two hours prepping my plans and the room. I took a lot of possible problematic things out of the way. Permanent markers were put away. My iPevo document camera was placed in a closet. My recent box of Scholatic books remained unopened and were placed in a corner. Plans were placed on my desk, along with all the materials needed to complete the lessons. Additionally, I wrote the plans and subjects on my board with a time stamp. I wanted all the students to see what I had planned for them. I didn't want anything to go wrong.

That reminds me of an incident a decade ago when...I taught 5th graders. I had to be out due to a staff development at the Science Center. I taught two classes of students Language Arts and Science. One class I taught in the  morning and the other in the afternoon. My morning class was quite mischievous. I prepped the room with this class in mind. My afternoon class was quite innocent, or so I thought.  I placed a  terrarium  on a shelf that I had to stand on a chair to reach. In the terrarium was a lizard, some small snails, isopods and a few plants. One of my students brought me this lizard that he captured near his apartment. I planned on housing it in the terrarium for a few days and then would release it into the wild. The previous day, in Science class, we fed it little crickets that I bought from Petco. The students loved seeing the lizard consume the little critters.

I let the students know that I would be attending a staff development the next day and to be on their best behavior for the substitute. My teaching partner next door promised to keep an eye out for me as well.. We shared a wall between our two classrooms This wall could be retracted if we needed to do so.  When I returned from my absence, I heard horror stories from the students and the front office. Two of my boys from my afternoon class were in some hot water. I never ever would have thought that they would be the ones that I would have to talk to about their behavior. Never.

I don't know how they reached the terrarium, without the substitute knowing or if the substitute allowed it, but they were able to get their hands on the terrarium and the poor lizard. (I explicitly, in my plans, asked the substitute teacher to not take the terrarium down.) These rather calm boys got a hold of that lizard and tried to staple its head to the wall!  I kid you not! I never ever would have thought that these two never-in-trouble-tranquilo boys would have done something so cruel. I was in state of complete shock. Needless to say, I calmly had a come-to-Jesus talk with these two boys. The previous day, the office had done their due diligence. Wow!  That was a the worst incident of my long educational career. I felt disappointed and embarrassed at the same time. I was embarrassed because these were my kids. My kids rarely got into any trouble at all. Again, I never would have thought that this class would have done something like that. They were never problematic.

With those memories fresh in my mind, I am sure that my class would not have done something so crazy and extreme. I don't have any lizards and my terrarium hasn't been set up yet. What could they do with tons of books, pencils, notebooks, and anchor charts? I hope that they read and wrote wildly, shared ideas and work, collaborated and have lots of great things to tell me tomorrow. The lizards are safe!

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