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.

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