Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Valentine's Day from a Teacher's Perspective

This month's etsy bloggers carnival is hosted by foxygknits from Foxy G's Den of i-KNIT-quity. I have been visiting her blog and this Atlanta gal is very funny, as well as having an awesome giveaway right now! The theme is a Valentine's Day memory. I have one that's a story I have told often. Let me set the stage...
It's 1991 in Spring, Texas. I'm teaching 4th grade at a very large elementary school, over 800 students. My classroom is a "portable" building, the one farthest from the main building; so far that a trip to the bathroom is a full 3 minute walk!  This was before we got a portable bathroom building that was nothing but a girls' and a boys' side. But I digress...
So, someone had foolishly scheduled Picture Day for Valentine's Day. All the kids can think about all day is that we are going to have make-your-own-sundaes after lunch. I've planned a little craft that doesn't involve paint that could mess up someone's Picture Day outfit, checked in with the mother organizing the party and everything appears to be a "go". But no.
The photography company sent fewer photographers than usual and for one of them it was her first day of work. So pictures that usually were done well before lunch were still going on. Possibly things could have been re-organized, but for the first and only day in my time at that school, both assistants and the principal were all out of the building! It's the perfect storm for upset kids, party day, picture day, and no big bosses to oversee the big picture.
BUT, I was so proud of my class and the room moms. We were asked to delay our party until after pictures, which was bringing us closer to dismissal. I asked the students if they'd like to delay their party until the next day so they could have plenty of time to enjoy it, and one of the students suggested that we just stay and have our party if it ran into after school time.
Upon checking I found out that that 1/2 the class walked home, and the room moms could take the others (back in the day when we didn't worry about people driving kids without permission). One student asked to call home and tell her mom, and the plan was set. I called down to the office and told the secretary we volunteered to be the last class for pictures, which gave relief to a couple of other classes. The pictures went smoothly, we had a fun little party, and the class learned to be flexible and worked out their own plan. It's what they call a teachable moment, and we only get so many of those each year. The icing on the cake was that the next day at the Friday morning staff meeting my class was awarded the Spirit Stick (yes, like cheerleaders or sororities) to carry wherever we went until another class did something worthy of this huge honor. The principal came out to our building to talk to them, and they thought they were pretty hot stuff. Until I told them it was time for Math!
Do you have any funny Valentine memories?


Anything Fits a Naked Man said...

What a great story, Elizabeth! And I love the old timey Valentines you chose to decorate with!!

My sister is an elementary school teacher, she would LOVE this story, I'm sending her to you immediately! I honestly can't think of a good valentine's day story, but you've got my wheels turning!

I think my favorites may have been when I worked in an office and my husband would send roses to my place of business! There's something about seeing that delivery man arrive with a vase covered in that green paper!

Thanks for the smile!

KeLLy aNN said...

My favorites are from elementary school. The arts and crafts, especially one year when we made rolled up tubes of small strips of construction paper, and then used those to decorate a heart. Kids aren't given that kind of time anymore,unfortunately. I love your story.

Ginny said...

That is a really great story! This the biggest downfall to all of the rules/regulations/laws that we seem to have today. Nobody knows how to deal with problems when they arise, etc. You had a great teachable moment that would never fly in this day & age. I am curious to how the generation growing up right now will handle life in 20 years.

Mae Rae said...

that is awesome! I love stories like that especially when it involves kids.

Becky said...

Wow! That IS flexible to the max. What great kids, Moms and especially you the Teacher!

Maureen said...

What a bunch of troopers! And a great lesson too. As always, hats off to great teachers.

foxygknits said...

Dear Evil Overlord: I heard you talking about me, so I thought I'd stop by! Thanks for participating in the blog carnival.

I love your story and love those teachable moments. They are more impactful than any lesson plan could provide.

On a lighter note, I, too, am an ENTJ. When I took a battery of career tests in high school, I was told to avoid both math and becoming a nun. So, I listened, and where did that get me - a knitting grandma with the street name of Foxy G.!

Have a marvelous today. XXX