How to tell if you’re having a bad day.

There’s nothing like the lift that I get when one of my colleagues is having a worse day than mine.  I mean, it isn’t that I want my friends to be miserable. Its just that I like it when they show me that my problems aren’t quite as huge as I thought they were.

Take today, for example.

My class is a really great group.  They are! They’re just very, very energetic. As in, they have enough kinetic energy to power Hong Kong for a week.  Being in a room with them for an hour is like being buried alive in a giant pit of Mexican jumping beans.

This has been a particularly challenging week, because one of my most hyperactive little guys (who was taken off of all medications last June), is heading for Disney World tomorrow morning.  You can only imagine what it looked like when I tried to teach him anything.  During our writing block, he bounced out of his seat at least fourteen times in ten minutes. To get a drink, to pick up a dropped pen, to ask me a question, to grab a snack, to throw away the wrapper, to get a drink, to sharpen his pencil, to get a drink, to get another snack, to put the snack back when I barked at him, to get a bandaid for his sore finger, to get a drink, to sign out for the bathroom after having had so many drinks………

In math, he filled a big red cup with water and proceeded to hide from me by sticking his entire face into the cup, at one point blowing bubbles into the cup and giggling maniacally as I tried to refocus him on adding decimals.

Don’t even ask me about science, when the fish had to be netted and added to the tank along with a pipette filled with algae. Suffice it to say, I did some pretty quick googling to find out how dangerous it can be to get algae in your eye.

So I was feeling pretty worn out and beaten down by the time I got to lunch time today.  I walked the kids to the cafeteria, got them settled, then slowly headed back to my classroom, my shoulders rounded with fatigue.

On my way back to my room, I ran into my young colleague, a first year teacher who is the same age as my sons. Her big blue eyes were wide with wonder, and her dimples were showing as she grinned. “Wait till I tell you about my morning!”, she called.  I thought back on the three hours of “Whack-a-mole” I had played all morning, thinking that she couldn’t possibly be having a rough a day as I was.

Then she raised her arm, showing me a curled fist.  “Take a look at this!”, she said, opening her hand.  On her opened palm, I saw an inch of curled, golden hair, clearly cut off by a sharp pair of scissors.  “It’s hair”, I said, dumbly.  That’s about how tired I was feeling; all I could do was to identify the substance in her hand. “Yep”, she said. “Its MY hair.”

I blinked.  “Why is your hair falling out?”  My exhausted brain was trying to make sense of what she was telling me.  “Well”, she said, “It didn’t fall out.  It was cut.”  She went on to tell me her story.

She had been working with one student on the math lesson for the day.  Suddenly she saw that several hands were raised, the kids were whispering. “What is it?”, she asked the kids. “There is hair on the floor!”  My colleague, frowned at them.  “Just leave it”, she said, turning back to her student. “No, no!”, the kids called.  “You have to see this!”  So my young friend looked down and saw the golden lock of hair on the floor. She quickly scooped it up.  It looked mighty familiar, in color and texture.

This young woman is a natural teacher, smart and organized, with great instincts.  “OK!”, she barked, holding the curl of hair in her fingers. “Every blond kid, stand up!”  She went from head to head, looking for the match, but none were quite right.

At that moment, one of the girls in the class nodded her head wisely.  “Yup”, she said firmly, “That is definitely your hair.”

She had no idea which of her impulsive little munchkins suddenly decided to lop off a piece of her long hair.  She decided to just let that question go, and got everyone back into the math lesson.

When she told me the story later, I immediately felt better about my own day.

Now that’s how you know you are having a bad day in the classroom; when you look down and see a big ol’ chunk of your hair lying dead on the floor, you know its time for the weekend.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Oh no! I’ve had them cut their own hair, and I have narrowly escaped having them cut off each other’s hair. I can’t even imagine them cutting mine!! My week is looking better and better!


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