Why Teachers Look Bewildered


Ah, the day before a holiday!  So much fun! So much chaos! So much confusion!

Yesterday we were at school for a half day before being dismissed early for the Thanksgiving break.  The kids were very very excited.

It was also snowing. The first major snowfall of the season.  The kids were very very very very excited.  The noise level in the classroom was hovering around 90 decibels, and that was after I got them settled.

I walked my class down to the art room, where I happily dropped them off with the art teacher for 45 minutes. Phew!  I planned to rush back to my classroom to organize two huge boxes of craft supplies. We were going to be decorating wooden spoons to bring home to our Thanksgiving feasts.  This annual project is designed to raise money for Project Bread, to raise money for hungry children and families in our area. The kids love doing it, it is a wonderful teaching and learning moment for us, but it does involve a further ramping up of the day’s excitement and giddiness. I mean, bowls of sequins, piles of colored feathers and hot glue guns? What could be more fabulous for a room full of fifth graders on a snowy pre-Thanksgiving half day?

Before I went back to sort through the fabric scraps and ribbons, though, I dashed off to my daughter’s classroom, to see if we could coordinate our end of the day routines. It was snowing hard and we have a very long commute.  I chatted with her for a minute, then headed back to my room. On the way, I spotted a tiny little blonde boy, standing at the top of the stairs with a finger in his mouth and tears on his cheeks.

“Are you OK, honey?”, I asked.

“No!”  he said, with a sniffle and a shaking voice. “I can’t find my class!”  I smiled.  Getting lost in our huge school building isn’t uncommon for the little ones, and I assured him that I’d help him find his classroom.  He told me his teacher’s name, then followed me down the hall to his room.  I got to the door and looked inside. The room was dark and empty.  “Oh.”, I said.  I looked at him.

“See?”, he wailed. “They’re gone!  I looked in the gym, but they’re not there!”

“OK, don’t worry”, I said in my best soothing teacher voice. “Let’s walk to the office. They’ll know where your class is.” On the way to the office, I tried to cheer him up a bit. Noticing that he was dressed in bright red flannel pajamas, I asked him, “Is it pajama day today?”

“No.”

OKaaaay. I decided not to ask why he was at school in pajamas in that case.   We walked to the office, where I explained his dilemma to the secretary.  She pulled out the big school schedule and said, “David, your class is in music!”   I smiled, and began to lead him down the stairs to the music room.  All the way there, he was sniffling and moaning and saying, “No, no, they’re not in music!  They’re lost! I’ll never find them!”  I wasn’t able to calm him down.  When we got to the music room door, I pulled it open with a flourish. “Are those your friends?”, I asked with a smile, looking at all the little faces in the music room.

“No!!!!”  He looked up at me, his big blue eyes huge with tears. “I told you!  They’re gone!”  The music teacher came out and agreed with David, concurring that these were not, in fact, his friends.

Now I was really confused.  I put my arm around the trembling little boy in his red pajamas and told him that I would take him back to the office, where I was sure the nice ladies could find his teacher and his classmates. By now he was sobbing. “I think they all went home!  I think they left!  Its because I’m wearing pajamas!”  I looked at him for a second, then asked, “Are the other kids wearing pajamas today, too?”  “Yes!” he sobbed, as if that would clear everything up for me. “That’s why!”

Why what, I wondered, but didn’t ask.  At this point I was running out of time to sort the sequins from the buttons, the snow was piling up outside, and I was faced with a sobbing little boy in pajamas even though it wasn’t pajama day, assuming that his class was lost because he was in those pajamas, even though they were in pajamas, too.

With some relief, I handed him off to the school secretary, giving him one last big hug after he tried to cling to me. I could imagine his thinking, “I’ve only known you for ten minutes, but you’re the last familiar face I have left in this place! Don’t you disappear, too!”  I assured him that he’d be fine, then slunk with some guilt back to my classroom to hastily throw together piles of craft supplies before the kids came back from art class.

The rest of the day went as expected, and I got home with glue burns on my hands, a purple feather in my hair and gold glitter inexplicably on my eyebrow.

I never did find out where that first grade class had gone!

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One response to this post.

  1. You need to find out on Monday and let us know!

    Reply

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