Since summer vacation is quickly winding down, I've been doing a lot of preparing for the coming year. That means I've been reflecting on some of the things that have happened in the past. This reflection has brought up some things that I'd rather not remember, but that have ultimately made me a better teacher. For instance:
The Time I Lost a Kid
It was my first year of teaching, and I was still trying to get the hang of it. (Heck, I'm entering my THIRD year of teaching and I'm still trying to get the hang of it.) Anyway, I got my very first new student after about 4 weeks. Things were going well, and she was learning how we do things. Back then, we had recess before lunch. After the kids got their energy out, it was time for lunch. We went back inside to wash hands and get lunch boxes. I passed out all the lunch cards...and I had one extra. Guess who's? Yep...the new girl's. Because she wasn't with us. Instant terror. I lost a kid. Most likely outside. I teach on MAIN STREET. Obviously a very busy street. I grabbed another teacher to watch my class while I SPRINTED back downstairs and out to the playground. No kids in sight. More terror. Kidnapped? Hit by a car? Captured by aliens? I raced back inside, nearly in tears and dreading going to administration about it. When I got back upstairs, a first grade teacher caught me and said, "Hey, is this your new girl? She wandered in from recess with my class." Instant relief, even though the little girl was hysterically crying. I scooped her up and gave her a loving, but stern lecture about how we can't just walk with whatever grown-up we want to. I am her grown-up, and she needs to stick with me. Then I gave her one last HUGE hug and sent her off to lunch. I haven't lost a kid since then. I now make sure I constantly monitor the number of kids I have at all times. I count them constantly. The kids all know the "Magic Number" each day, which is the number of students present. And they cooperate when I count to see if we reach that magic number. And we do. Every time.
The Time I Scarred My Students' View of Ice Cream
During a unit on healthy living (also during my first year of teaching), I had shown the kids a YouTube video about eating healthy foods. After the video was over, we had about 5 extra minutes until it was time to pack up and go home. The kids asked if we could watch another video. I'm pretty flexible, so I said, "Sure...look, here's a video with dancing fruit! Let's watch that one!" I pressed play, and while the fruit began dancing, and singing about vitamins and calcium and stuff, I used the extra time to pass papers into their mailboxes. Next thing I know, the sweet song is being overshadowed by gunfire, and the kids started screaming. I whipped around, and lo and behold, a bunch of Evil Ice Cream Cones came out of the woodwork with machine guns and were shooting all the fruit! Clearly, this was incredibly inappropriate to be showing 4 and 5 year olds in school, so I raced back to my laptop and slammed it shut. Then I had 25 sets of eyes on me...and lots of silence. "Well...I guess that's just another reason why we shouldn't choose to eat ice cream. Um...why don't we read a story?" Moral of the story: PREVIEW every video before you show it to your students.
The Time There Weren't Even Words To Describe It
Also known as, The Time I Caught My Student Making Dirt Angels. This was actually about 8 weeks ago. And I'm still shaking my head.
Those are just THREE of the many many mishaps I've had in my first two years of teaching. I can think of tons more. Maybe this will have to become a series. I think back to my first class and I kinda feel bad for them. They were the guinea pigs. But I think they'll probably always be my favorites. And God bless them for turning out okay at the end of the year with a spaz of a teacher like me!