Of all the ways I might have guessed today would go, I never could have anticipated what went down today in our classroom. It was one of those things that I will never in my life forget. A reminder that no matter how much you plan and try to prepare for any situation you might encounter; some student is going to find a way to really throw you for a loop.
I began the day by noticing that my teacher seemed a little off. I cannot quite put my finger on what was off about her but something seemed unusual. When she asked me to do the morning message of course I agreed (I would have anyway even if I had not sensed that something was off) and after I finished she had me do the reading workshop. Not a big deal really. I like to have a little more warning than that but I have learned through this whole experience that sometimes you have to roll with the punches and you are not going to be prefect all the time. It’s okay to mess up occasionally especiall if it something you did not anticipate. So morning message, reading workshop, and writing workshop (because I had already done everything else I might as well just keep things flowing) went pretty well. A little trouble by not too much.
My teacher reminded me at lunch that she would be gone during math because she had a conference with a parent. I had forgotten this but wasn’t too worried because it was basically the same thing we had done the day before his departure with differet materials.
Here is where I went from the frying pan into the fire.
As I am finishing the math lesson, my clasroom teacher comes into the room. She was going to do the next activity because it was a grade-wide test that I did not know the procedures/ directions for. Not a big deal right? Wrong. The last sentence of my lesson wrap up is in the process of coming out of my mouth when, from the back of the room my teacher shouts for one of the students to go to the hall.
All of my students turn to see what is going on. I cannot figure out what is going on either. I see that the students is not hurt or sick or has any other visible ailment. She continues to yell for this student to go out in the hall. I am left standing at the front of the room with the remained of the class who are all much more interested in whatever is going on out in the hall than what I am trying to say. Not only that I finished with my activity and cannot administer the test because I have no idea what to do. Here I am in the fire and I thought teaxhig lessons short notice was bad. Now I have no plans, no help, and no idea what to do to get the attention of these remaining students.
We had done a math activity with shells and so I just started rambling about everything I know abou seashells. We talked about hermit crabs and then about th difference between hermit crabs and other crabs and the difference between hermit crabs and lobsters. The students were pretty interested in that so I was able to get thier attention back to me fairly quickly.
My knowledge of seashells was quickly exhausted, however, and I was left again with no plans. I grabbed the end-of-the-day/ if-we-have-extra-time book and just started reading. The book took up a decent chuck of time but my teacher still was not back. Again, out of plans and still in the fire!
As I continued to scramble for anything to do to keep the students learning and out of trouble, my teacher walked in like saving grace! Like fresh air on the breeze! Never have I been more relieved in my life.
I asked my teacher later on what had happened and it was a doozy. I do not think it is appropriate to discuss so I will jus a say this: kids are weird. Every kid is different and therefore brings a different set of challenges to the classroom so it seems it is impossible to truly be ready to react in every situation. Because I am a planner, I like to be prepared for every situation. I like knowing in advance what potential problems I might have. I know my students pretty well by now. Until this afternoon, I felt like I had reason to believe I could, in fact, anticipate certain behaviors and hopefully head those off. Nope. You can anticipate some things but not what happened in our classroom today. Some actions will still catch you completely off guard. I imagine that even after teaching for one hundred years a student could still do something ridiculous you never would have guessed that they might do. I just have to thank God that someone with more experience was there to notice and handle this situation. What would I do without my classroom teacher and her general amazing- ness! Shoot, what am going to do without her when she goes on vacation? Or when I have to do this alone next year! Oh, help!