It's amazing how quickly a week goes by when you're on break, like I was from school last week. Today, Monday, the students and staff returned, a great majority of them tanned and renewed by their trips to sunny destinations, family time, and some much needed R & R. My break didn't consist of any sunny vacation, but it was full of catching up with friends and family.
After commiserating with my hallway teacher friends about the fun we had over break and how we knew in fifteen minutes we'd feel like we never left at all, the students began to stream in. My students arrived with their usual happy dispositions and many hugged me as they passed by me and into the classroom. You could tell they were happy to be back; they missed their friends and routines. We quickly settled in to begin the day.
I had noticed when I arrived this morning that the clocks in the building were all off by an hour. They were an hour ahead which was very frustrating because I am such a clock-watcher. I'm sure I could guess at any point during any day what the time is and get it correct within one or two minutes. I mentioned to the kids as they were getting out their planners this morning that the clocks were off and nothing much was said. They glanced at the clock, shrugged, and went back to their planners.
At 11:35, with the clock display reading 12:35, one of my little darlings began waving her hand urgently while we were working on some fractions in a small math group. Thrilled that she was finally understanding fractions on a number line, I looked her way.
"Oh my gosh!" she squealed with her hand still waving madly in the air. Naturally everyone stopped what they were doing and looked at her to see what all the fuss was about.
"Oh my gosh!" she repeated, in case we hadn't heard the first time. "We have been so busy we forgot all about lunch!"
This started a whole wave of excitement amongst the little boys and girls. Everyone had apparently forgotten about the clock having the wrong time, including me for just a brief moment. My stomach sank and for a split second I actually thought maybe we were so busy we really did forget about lunch today. Was I losing it? A glance down at my watch confirmed to me that we had certainly not missed lunch. Therefore I was not losing it.
I quickly recovered and quieted the masses who were now standing and milling about the room wondering what I was going to do about their missed lunch.
"Boys and girls," I began in my calmest teacher voice. "Remember when I pointed out this morning that the clock was incorrect and was showing an hour ahead of time?" I explained, pointing to the clock a la Vanna White.
Several nodded their heads and smiled remembering from the morning and immediately placated. A few others looked as if they didn't care what I had told them, the clock showed 12:35 and we eat lunch at 12:00. The truth of the matter is, that if, in fact, it truly was 12:35 that would mean they also had missed five minutes of precious recess time and that hadn't occurred to them yet.
"Here," I offered, quickly walking to my desk and retrieving my cell phone. "If you don't believe me, look at the time on my iPhone."
Fifteen eager heads pushed together and zeroed in on my phone and looked for the time. "What time is it?" I prompted.
"11:37 a.m.!" four or five voices hollered with relief so everyone could hear.
"It's a good thing phones don't get messed up with the time, like our clock does," said one little girl, with a happy sigh.
I smiled at them. I put my phone back on my desk. And we went back to math for another twenty-five minutes until it was time for lunch.
Because that's what we do.
We carry on.
[Note: The song "Carry On" by Fueled by Ramen is a favorite song of mine. I listen to it to remember to keep going, even when things are tough. To all my teacher friends, as we approach the end of the school year and an extremely hectic time, don't forget to just carry on.]
Play Carry On