A typical Friday…..


It was a totally typical Friday, which is why I am completely exhausted.

I was asked by my principal to get a sub for the morning, so that I could give the mandated individually administered reading assessments.  I put in for a sub, wrote up a morning’s worth of lesson plans (with no new math, no new writing assignment, no small group reading….because, honestly, could you even ask a sub to manage all this? How would she even understand what I meant when I wrote it down?), copied a bunch of worksheets and arranged them for her to easily find and set up my test kit in the hallway.

The morning began an hour before the kids arrived with a parent conference. And it all went downhill/uphill from there.  Let me try to give you an inkling of what it was like to be the teacher in Room 303 today.

“Mr. and Mrs. K!  Thank you so much for coming in! Please tell me all about B’s medication, and his history of attentional and learning difficulties.”

“Well, we….”

“BZZZZZZ!  Karen?! It’s the office! We have a huge problem!”

“I’m  in a conference right now…can I check with you in a few minutes?”

I finish the conference with the K’s, who were absolutely lovely; warm, open, engaging, devoted to their wonderful child.  I walked them out and went into the office.

“We know that you are supposed to have the morning off, and you wrote all those great sub plans and copied countless pages of notes, but one of your colleagues is sick today, and we don’t have a sub, so we have to use yours. So sorry!”

Back to the classroom; I have to get the damn assessments completed anyway, so I take kids out of the room and leave the other 23 children to fend for themselves. I alter the sub plans, change the lessons, make adaptations. My usual four hours a week assistant is absent today, so I haven’t put aside any work for her.

I walk the kids to music class, assess the reading skills of three of them, then walk back to the classroom where I am confronted by an unexpected visitor.

“Hi!! I’m Beth! I’m here to be your assistant today, since Lesley is out!”

“Oh! No one told me that you’d be here!” I scramble around to find something that she can do for us, something that won’t take much of an explanation. “Um, I….Um….great!  So….kids wait just minute….um, Beth, great, yes.  Can you copy these pages?”

“Where is the copier?”

“Karen!”
“Yes, honey?”
“Can you read my story?”
“Well, I….”
“Karen!”
“Yes?”
“Are we going to get our math tests back?”
“Yes! In just one minute. I want to….”
“BZZZZZZ!”
“Yeah?”
“Karen, please tell Derek that at the end of the day he needs to meet his mother in the lobby.”
“Yep, OK”
“HI!”

The Science Curriculum specialist has arrived in my room, unexpectedly.  “Hi.” I cautiously offer.

“I have your single celled organisms!”, she trills in delight.   Twenty five kids immediately crowd around, crowing loudly .

“All you have to do is feed them some dissolved yeast every two days!”
“OK, great, thanks, I just…”
“Karen!”
“Can you please sit down and raise your hand?”
“I have a question!”
“Can you please sit down and raise your hand?”
He sits down on the floor.

“So, I caught some tadpoles in my swamp…”
“Karen! I have a question.”
“Karen, I don’t understand the math.””
“Karen, where do I hand this in?”
“Karen, should I recycle this?”
“Karen, where do you want me to put this?”
“Karen, can you read my story and tell me what you think?”
“BZZZZZZ: Karen. Please tell Thomas to take the bus home today.”
“OK, I will. ”

“Hi!” Its the math specialist. “Can I just talk to you for a minute about your remedial needs group?”
“Well, sure, but I…”
“Karen, I think my tooth is loose.”
“OK, honey, go on down to the nurse and…”
“I think they need more math support, at least once a week.  When can I take them out of the class?”
“Let me just look at my….”
“Karen, one of the fish looks dead.”

Huge grouping of kids around the fish tanks.

“EWWWWWW!”
“He’s DEAD!”
“He’s floating!”
“He’s wicked DEAD!”
“He’s, like, DECOMPOSING!”
“So, I could see that math group on Wednesday at ten.”
“OK, OK.  Yes!”
“He’s DEAD!”
“If you can hear my voice, clap once….”

Just a typical, flexible, humorous day in the fifth grade.

Thank goodness tomorrow is Saturday!

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Par for the course! Thanks!

    Reply

  2. YIKES! I’m anxious just reading it… and I don’t really get anxious! Kudos to you for surviving and thriving.

    Reply

  3. Posted by Louisa van der Schyff on October 1, 2012 at 7:55 am

    You’ve done a great job in describing a typical hectic school day! I got tired from just reading it.

    Reply

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