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Bus drama

3 Oct

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I looked at the other teacher sitting with me on the bus, my eyes sending her a telepathic message,  Did she just say that?

It was our annual  bus evacuation drill and we were on the bus with a driver who had just told our 6th graders that if they didn’t listen and follow the rules they would die.

The driver certainly had our attention.

She had presence, a well-projected voice and a flair for the dramatic.

I learned about the double hull construction of a school bus . Who knew?

I learned that a bus will fill with smoke in two minutes.

And I learned that this driver would drag the “lifeless body” of a child who choked on a piece of gum off the bus and begin first aid as soon as she could.

As we exited the bus, reeling a little, one of my students simply said, “She talked a lot about dying.”

Definitely the most dramatic bus evacuation drill I have ever experienced.

 

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Not so silent reading

26 Sep

I almost laughed out loud during silent reading yesterday. Not at my book. Not because the kid at the table in front of me was laughing at his book.

I almost laughed out loud during silent reading yesterday because of all the sounds I hear. Sniff. Cough. Sneeze. Blow.

It is the fourth week of school and cold season has descended upon us.

I made my own contributions to the Congestion Symphony. I’m in the trumpet section, rising frequently for a kleenex. There is a choreography of sorts as students get up for a tissue, blow, put the tissue in the trash can,, then return to their seats. Some rise only one; some are frequent flyers. Perhaps I should call it the Congestion Ballet instead.

 

The over-the-counter medication I brought to school wasn’t doing much. I could have added moans and groans over the sinus pain I felt, but I’m the adult in the room and I am trying to be a good role model.

Today, I am bringing the out-of-date prescription decongestant I have in my bathroom cupboard, a relic from a more serious illness a few years ago. They might be out of date, but they still work.

Today, I am hoping to not be part of the audience. I am sure there will be someone new to take up my spot with the horns, so I can listen to the symphony and watch the ballet.

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Back To School Night 2017

19 Sep

Early Morning – Home                                                                                                                  Choosing two outfits                                                                                                                             Wearing the one I’ll teach in                                                                                                             Carrying the second

Before Students – School                                                                                                      Stapling up the photos                                                                                                                        I took of the students last week                                                                                                        Gussy up the classroom

Daytime – School                                                                                                                                Writer’s workshop begins                                                                                                                   Students engaged, thinking, writing                                                                                                  I worry about the night

After School – Near School                                                                                                        Dinner with the team                                                                                                                         At our favorite restaurant                                                                                                            Only water, please.

Before BTSN – School                                                                                                                            Classroom lights are off                                                                                                                       I sit quietly at my desk                                                                                                                         Awaiting the onslaught

During BTSN – School                                                                                                                        Wearing the second outfit                                                                                                                   Pacing and talking too fast.                                                                                                                   Can they see me sweat?

Mid BTSN Interruption _ School                                                                                                The Sheriff is here                                                                                                                                If you parked in the fire lane                                                                                                     Please move your car now.

After BTSN  – In the car                                                                                                          Driving home, there’s rain                                                                                                              Washing away the long day                                                                                                         Peace in my heart.

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Libraries to the rescue

12 Sep

I pulled into the grocery store parking lot at 5 on the dot. It was the end of the first week of school and I wanted to treat myself (celebratory ice cream?) and get grocery shopping for next week out of the way.

I grabbed my school bag, heavy with a laptop, exited the car and walked to the trunk where I would keep the bag while I shopped. I hefted the bag into the trunk and opened it to get my wallet.

I couldn’t find it.

I pulled everything out and it still wasn’t there. As I repacked my school bag, I realized that I must have left the wallet on my desk as I packed it before leaving school. I remembered taking the wallet out in order to make room for everything I wanted to take home. Apparently, I’d forgotten to put it back in.

Getting back into the car, without my treat or groceries, I thought about what to do. By the end of the five-minute drive home, I had a plan.  After parking the car, I texted my VP. Her office is close to my classroom and maybe she’d still be there at 5:15. I entered the house to Lucy’s manic greeting and took her for a walk, hoping for news when we returned.

After her quick walk, Lucy got dinner and I checked the phone. My VP was already home. I was disappointed but decided I had one last hope. Maybe someone was still at school and checking their email. I could send out an email SOS.

I opened my school email, looking for an “all staff” email I could use for a “Reply all” when I noticed that Kelly, our school Library Assistant, had sent a message mere minutes before.

Hope rose in my heart.

I sent the SOS directly to her and she replied. At 5:30 pm. On the first Friday of school.

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Relief washed over me.

On Saturday, I took a credit card and walked to the grocery store. With my driver’s license at school, I didn’t want to tempt fate by driving. The walk was about 20 minutes, so I didn’t get the celebratory ice-cream – for fear it might melt- but I walked home knowing I had what I needed for the week and that my wallet was safe.

slice-of-life_individual

 

First Day Jitters

5 Sep

I tossed and turned all night last night.

The night before, I dreamed I was doing something with Queen Elizabeth.  The details escape me, but it was more stressful than pleasant.

Friday night, I had an honest to goodness first day nightmare.

I am nervous and excited, even though this is my 29th first day of school as a teacher and my 48th total!

I am grateful to have found a job I love.

I am grateful for colleagues who work together. I eat lunch every day with my teammates and the 6th grade Humanities team are a model of  professional collaboration.

I am grateful to teach in an air-conditioned building. Temperatures are projected to reach 100ºF and the air smells of the forest fire burning 50 miles away. Portland Public, with mostly older buildings without AC, is ending school two hours early today because of the heat and air quality.

Whether you have already started, or start today, I wish you a wonderful 2017-18 school year.

slice-of-life_individual

 

 

A Little Luck

29 Aug

 See a penny pick it up.

All the day you’ll have good luck.

I don’t really believe that old superstition.

And yet, whenever I see a penny on the ground, I pick it up and recite the rhyme. It is just what I do.

I don’t really believe picking up pennies will bring me luck.

And yet, last week, while taking Lucy for a walk, I found a penny and picked it up. A littler further on, I found another penny and a dime. I picked those up, too. If a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, what is 12¢ worth, I wondered.Did I now have 12 times the luck I’d left the house with?

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Post-apoc-eclips-ish

22 Aug

I had intended to write a post about how I sat, eclipse glasses on, knitting  my 2018 Back-to-School socks with my eclipse yarn, during yesterday’s eclipse.

It didn’t quite work out that way.

I started planning weeks ago. I bought my eclipse glasses on the way home from Bend in the first week of August. I tested them Sunday, just to understand what I would see.

I preordered my “Total Eclipse of the Sun” yarn, picked it up on Saturday and cast on my 2018 Back-to-School socks Monday night. I wanted to be ready.

 

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Yesterday, I made sure Lucy took a potty break just before 9 a.m.  Her tummy has been a little off and I didn’t want  any accidents (cosmic or biological proportions) while the eclipse was going on.

A little after 9, I heard on the radio that the event was beginning. I donned my glasses, opened my front door  and took a look. A  nibble appeared on the sun’s upper right edge. I felt more excited than I thought I’d be. No one else was out and we still had at least an hour before we made it to the 99.2% eclipse we were expecting in Portland. I had joked earlier in the day that we were in the Path of Totalitish.  I puttered happily in the house, then decided to pop my head out again. And that is when my glasses slipped.

It was a mere, momentary flash in my right eye, but that was enough. I quickly entered the house and tested my vision. I was OK, but when my eyes were closed, I could see the residual image of the eclipsing sun. I had heard on the radio that such an accident probably wouldn’t cause blindness, but I was spooked. I stayed in the house for a while testing my eye, relieved that, within about 20 minutes, the residual image had disappeared. But I was done with my ill-fitting glasses.

I heard my neighbors setting up in the courtyard popped my hatted head out the door again, facing away from the sun. They had eclipse glasses and pinholed paper plates.

I had found these directions on-line earlier in the day and sent them to my brother-in-law who had no glasses. He had made one, tested it and said it worked, so I knew I could be safe and experience the eclipse.

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I had a box I’d been planing to use to for the classroom books I’d collected over the summer.  I grabbed it and got to work.

I almost gave up when I realized I had used up the last of my tape that morning on a package I planned to mail today. Of course, I could find no glue. Fortunately, I have a “can do” attitude and found some stickers I could use as tape.

I made sure the foil was well secured.

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Then I attached the paper that would capture the image,

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Voilà! I felt safe to join my neighbors.

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Feeling more confident, I had a great time in the courtyard with my neighbors, who were also a little skittish about blinding themselves.  They mostly used their pinhole devices, but, from time to time they put on their glasses and quickly turned to look at the eclipsing sun, then back again. We laughed at how much more excited we were than we’d expected to be.

We noted the darkening world, the dropping temperatures, the strange color of the light as the moon moved across the sun. When we got to the point that was as close to 99.2% as we were getting,  the light seemed almost orange and we noticed strange patterns that I later learned were called shadow bands. It was fun to go into the street and, back to the sun, and doff my box to see all the people who were home and excited by the eclipse.

“The sun is still frowning,” my neighbor James commented.

“It was a smile inside my box,” I joked, realizing the pin-hole camera had given me a reversed image. My near disaster had turned into a community event. Everyone was amazed.

When the process started reversing itself,  I donned my box once more and saw that the smile was getting bigger. People started slipping back in to their homes and, before too long, the sun was fully back in the sky. I brought my box back into my house, and set it back near the stack of books I will take in to school later this week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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