Today I had recess duty, which means I had to borrow a heavy winter coat and hat (I don't own a heavy, winter coat and I forgot my hat) before heading outside today in the 29 degree weather, that the weather channel informed me really felt like 14 degrees. Good thing I work with lots of helpful, generous teachers who are always willing to lend anything, including above mentioned clothing.
As I grabbed the hat from a teacher friend after lunch, I yelled out to her, "Don't worry, I don't have lice!"
To which she responded, "Don't worry - neither do I!"
If you work in an elementary school, you definitely are on the alert at all times for the potential of getting lice. Good thing all of us women use lots of mousse and hair spray, which I'm told kills off practically anything.
The morning went well today, probably in part because we had not one, but two birthday treats being served up throughout the day and it was Friday.
[fast forward to recess]
I bundled up in my (borrowed) coat and gloves and scarf and hat, grabbed the walkie-talkie and herded the kids out the door. Once out the door, I headed to my part of the playground for monitoring. A scan of the playground revealed a lot of squealing, happy kids in a multitude of puffy snow pant colors playing in the snow. I paced around my perimeter, looking for any potential trouble or breach of recess law. In elementary school, being "on the wall" is the equivalent of time out. No kid wants that. Especially when there is a playground full of snow.
Before too long two students shouted my name across the playground.
"Mrs. Jeppson! Mrs. Jeppson! Come over and look at out sldkfjeotwohe......" they shouted as their voices trailed off into something I couldn't quite make out. They jumped up and down and waved their hands just in case I had missed their yelling. OK, I'll play along.
I crunched through the snow, a few of my students in tow, to see what the hub-bub was about. I arrived to find several students bent down inspecting underneath a picnic table.
"Look at all these icicles!" they exclaimed. "There are millions of them," they said as they pulled them down and they crashed into a pile of sparkling crystals under the table
"They look like diamonds!" one little girl added.
"Well, maybe they ARE diamonds," one boy said as he gathered a pile in his mittens.
Of course, they had simply called me over because (1) they knew I would come and (2) they wanted to show someone how very cool their discovery was and who better to show than your teacher. I did the obligatory ahh-ing and ohh-ing and then ambled back over to the other side of my territory.
Soon, a few students bounced up to me and one grabbed my hand.
"Isn't recess fun?" she asked, grinning ear to ear.
"Well, when you are 8 or 9, yes, recess is fun," I answered, as we walked together.
She frowned. If she was having this much fun, she couldn't understand how it was possible that I could not be having fun.
Just then, one of my boys shouted out my name. I looked and he was standing on the remnants of a snowman, poised, holding a chunk of ice in one hand like a book, and a chunk of ice in his other hand over his head.
"I'm the Statue of Liberty!" he belted out. And he did, interestingly enough, look a bit like her.
"Now, I'm the Statue of Liberty who has been hit by a boat!" he said as he dropped his ice blocks to the ground and jumped off the snow.
Over the next ten minutes, I was entertained by students standing on this ball of snow and declaring themselves movie stars, entertainers, sports people, and a multitude of others as they posed, froze and then jumped from the snowball. Probably should have been a "safety issue" but, heck, I was standing right there and it was all in good fun.
The bell rang and I couldn't believe how quickly the time had passed. Usually recess drags on and on and I find myself looking at my watch countless times. Today, I never even looked at my watch, or minded the cold.
As we walked back inside, one of the little boys walking in with me told me he wished he had black snow pants. He had dark blue ones, that honestly looked like black ones to me.
"But look," I told him as I pointed to the coat racks and the kids pulling off snow pants. "Everybody has black snow pants. You can find yours because they are blue. It's good to be different. You don't want to always be like everybody else."
He pursed his lips and patted his blue snow pants, and I could tell he suddenly didn't feel like they were so bad.
And, today, for once I didn't think recess duty was so bad. Because I had the warm, borrowed coat and hat. And because I had kids to keep me company and make me smile.
Even if it was 14 degrees.