Saturday, September 16, 2017

Mistaken Identity

I had recess duty Friday, which just so happened to be a beautiful day out, weather wise. So even though I was completely exhausted from this second week of school, which
included one late night for Curriculum Night, it felt good to get outside and enjoy the sunshine. As an added bonus, recess duty would also allow me to get some extra steps in and therefore, cut out some later exercise.  #fridaywinning

As I scanned the monkey bars, soccer field, basketball court, and swings, which were all swarming with kids at this point, a little boy approached me.  

"Hi, Mrs. Jeppson," he casually said as he squinted up at me through his glasses.   "Mrs. Alt told me that I should tell you if Freddy* is bothering me.  He's always bothering me." 

"OK.  Is he bothering you now?" I asked. 

"I don't know where he is.  Do you know where he is?" he said looking around.  

"Nope."   I waved my arms out dramatically from left to right.  "He could be anywhere."

"Well, if you see him," he directed, "make sure and tell him that he can't bother me."

"Will do!" I assured him.  After all, I am the symbol of authority on the playground. 

Happy that his problem was resolved, he ran off to play.  Meanwhile, I looked around to pinpoint my students, and any others, to make sure they were not alone.  I saw a group of students digging (or as they call it mining) in the dirt with some sticks, students racing around playing "Infection" (or as we call it tag), and some girls practicing cartwheels in the grass. Several were shouting at me from the monkey bars.  "Watch me!" they exclaimed.    So I did. 

The boy arrived again.  "Have you seen Freddy yet?" he asked. 

"Nope," I replied.  "Have you?"

"Nope," he answered.  "But don't forget to talk to him."  

"Maybe he's on the field," I suggested.  And off he ran.  I couldn't quite figure out why he was looking for this kid in the first place.  My guess is he wanted to let him know that I was going to be talking to him. 

As I walked around checking in with students and watching them play, I noticed Freddy.  I strolled over to him as he sat with a couple of his friends.  

"Hey guys," I said casually.  They were arguing about what to do next.  I maneuvered Freddy a bit away from the others and their conversation.  "[insert student name] told me you have been bothering him on the playground.  Please make sure you're not bothering him, ok?" 

"I'm not bothering him.  I don't even play with him," he countered, looking truthful and a bit bewildered.

"Well, if you are, stop," I said.  "I'm watching you."  I smiled and gestured with the fingers to my eyes and then his eyes and he smiled too as he went back to his friends.

With only a few minutes left, I took some deep breaths and walked around to soak up some final rays of sunshine before returning to the classroom.  Suddenly, the student approached again, completely out of breath.  He grabbed my arm.  "Freddy isn't at school today!" he told me, laughing.  "He's not even here."

"But I just talked to him," I said. "He's right over there!"  I pointed. 

"No!  That's Freddy B.  I was talking about Freddy M.!"   We exchanged looks, eyes wide and both laughed at my error. 

"Oh well," I said just as the bell rang and the student walked beside me, "it probably didn't hurt to remind the wrong Freddy not to bother people."  

*Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Waiting To Exhale

It always sneaks up on me fast.  One minute I'm enjoying mornings reading the paper on my deck, afternoons riding my bike along nature trails, and evenings with no specific bed time. No alarm. No schedule. Days that begin without a plan and end with new adventures, or some days, nothing.  Lost in a book or simply the beauty of days on end to relax and rejuvenate.  Summer always makes me feel like a kid again. 

Speaking of kids, I'm back to school and have officially survived the first week back. If you are a teacher, you know what I'm talking about here.  You know if you can make it that first week and are still standing (and able to talk) by the end of that first week, you're good to go.  I tell non-teacher friends that starting each new school year is like starting a new job every year. (Side note:  I also say school is a bit like a prison sentence with my schedule controlled by ringing bells, but that's another story and another blog).  This year I have twenty-four little adorable "employees".  

And so it began last Tuesday. I had looked at their school photos to try and match the face to their name for our first day together. I always figure they know my name, so I should do my best to try and get to know their names so I can greet them on day 1.  Inevitably, there always seems to be at least one or two that I mess up, but hey, kids are the most forgiving beings on the planet. When I mess up, they laugh along when I laugh at myself. Everybody makes mistakes.  There is a wonderful feeling of excitement mixed with nervousness throughout the school the first day. 

As with any new employee, the first order of business is to provide orientation. The students need to know our schedule, rules, and procedures of our company classroom.  As their new boss teacher, I have to establish myself as their leader and gain their trust and confidence.  This isn't an easy task.  Prior to that first minute of the first day, I've been preparing.   I've spent hours in professional development.  I've laminated and copied.  I've organized and planned with my team. I am r-e-a-d-y. Send me in coach!

By the end of the day Tuesday, I knew all the names of my new little cuties.

By Wednesday, I was remembering what it feels like to stand on your feet for seven hours a day and the importance of planning bathroom breaks.

By Thursday, I was checking my calendar because it sure felt like it should already be a Friday.  

By Friday, I had adjusted to early morning wake-ups again (snooze button).  I had found clothes in my closet that have not seen the light of day for a few months (goodbye yoga pants and flip-flops). I had stuck to my promise to make and bring a healthy lunch every day (no more going out to lunch with friends for a while).   

And by Friday, at the end of the day, I felt excited and optimistic for a great year ahead. My new group of employees look very promising! You can bet that I (like every other teacher on the planet) am enjoying this weekend.

After all, summer will return again.  June is in sight.  You just need binoculars right now to see it.

To all teachers everywhere:  Have a great year!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Grand Opening Soon

Tomorrow is the first day of school.

Here's how I'm feeling tonight..... (if you're a teacher, I'm sure you can relate)


I wonder if there is a word for that.


 Have a great year teacher friends!