Friday, January 29, 2010

Please Back Away From the Emergency Alarm

One thing I have learned about teaching is that you have to keep the waters calm. Any new addition to the classroom, or change in the routine, can throw the balance completely off in the Kingdom of First Grade.

This can happen with small things, like when I change a sentence strip chart to include a new poem. (Mayhem and foolishness ensue.) It also happens when I display big new things like a 3-foot snowman Loyal Sister snagged me at a Hobby Lobby after-Christmas /90% off sale years ago. (Most children seem to have a small series of strokes due to the EXCITEMENT! of CHANGE! A few  go positively catatonic.) (And, PS: Whose fault is it for putting out that snowman every year-- and actually plugging it in so it can wave at the students as they enter the classroom? I raise my hand and say, "Guilty.")

Yesterday, I accidentally veered off the path of Strict Routine. I usually drink my necessary-to-teaching-six-year-olds coffee out of a blue insulated mug. It is very much a part of our morning meeting time, as I admire all manner of show and tell items. And consume mass quantities of caffeine with a smile on my face.

 That day, I left home with a pink coffee tumbler given to me by a special friend. As I was sipping from it in the classroom, I kept seeing all these unusually wide-eyed students staring at me. There was also a lot of whispering buzzing through the room. Most days, they are not shy about blurting out anything that crosses their consciousness. This day they seemed bug-eyed with a shared dilemma. But no one was talking.

Finally, the bravest of the litter raised his hand. "Mrs. O'Brien, why do you keep licking that flashlight?"

I examined my pretty-in-pink coffee container, and realized it did indeed resemble a flashlight. And 19 sets of eyes were glued on me to see if I had lost my mind. And to determine what the consequences might be for them. A flashlight licking teacher might mean more work and less recess. Or worse. (Viola Swamp for a substitute comes to mind.)

There was an audible sigh of relief as I showed them the hidden button which opened a spout on top. The opening  released hazelnut caffeine happiness into my mouth. I was touched that they were guardedly concerned about my mental health. Or their workload and personal comfort.

Off to find my laser pen. An old Seinfeld episode reminds me of some fun things I could do with it on Monday morning.


Dawn said...

Oh, my... LOL!

Reminds me of the time I announced to my class, "If you need to go to the restroom, speak now or forever hold your peace." All motion ceased. Silence fell over the room as twenty-some pairs of sixth grade eyes stared at me. I stared back. I even looked down at myself to make sure nothing was askew with my clothing. Finally, one brave girl asked, "Ms. S., did you just tell us to forever hold our pee?!"

It was a good thing I wasn't drinking coffee at that moment! LOL

V....Vaughan said...

that's all! Just, HHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!
HEy, Rayeanne...THANK YOU for the comment about the sketch of Samuel. I am one of your followers, but I am not sure what it means, since I never know when you post unless I "go there"...maybe it's something I am missing?...but whenever you write, I always go back to catch up on what you have been posting. ..I walk with you, friend, quietly remembering my years with Doug after Sam, my sister died...I ache with you and several times I have driven by to grab you for coffee, but miss you every time...One day you will be there and I can at least give you a hug!

Sarah said...

Ha! Priceless!