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Today was our first official day back to school, Operation: In-Service. In Dallas, we always go back for 5 days of staff development before the kids come for their first day. I showed up around 7:40, as I had been promised breakfast, and on that matter, I was not disappointed. Some tasty breakfast burritos and a cup of OJ later, and I was a happy (er) camper.
However, things were not cool with my classroom. Literally. It was already 102º today, yet the heater was running full blast in my room. It should have been the A/C running, but it was blowing hot air, and when I opened my door, I felt like a victim from the movie Backdraft. Needless to say, I shut the "A/C" off, but the room didn't get much cooler. Thankfully, I wasn't in my room much as we had other things on the agenda.
Item 1 on the agenda was the mystery field trip. We had received an email from our principal last week saying that we were getting on buses and going somewhere, and that we should wear sunblock, shades, and a hat. If you noticed my earlier statement -- it was freakin' 102 degrees outside today -- you might guess that we were not especially pleased to hear that we would be outside for any amount of time.
A few people had guessed at where we would be going, and they were correct. In conjunction with the planned "Meet the Teacher" night this Thursday, we visited our students' apartment complexes and passed out fliers announcing the event.
Now, if I had been in charge of this field trip, I would have gotten a list of apartment numbers at each complex where our kids lived so that we weren't putting fliers on doors of people who had no kids at our school. Or I would have assigned certain people certain sections of each complex to go to, so that even if the wrong doors got knocked on, at least they weren't being knocked on 2 or 3 or 4 times. Or, most likely, I would have just thought of these things and not done anything, and things would have gone exactly like they did today.
The buses pulled up the first complex, teachers grabbed a handful of fliers, and we all started randomly walking around the apartments, knocking on doors. A few people did report getting yelled at by people who were awakened (hey, I would have been asleep at 9 too, if I hadn't had to report to school), and several were greeted by people in various states of undress.
I was walking around (aimlessly) with a colleague when another group of teachers called to my colleague to come see a former student. This girl had been one of MY former students the year before, so I went as well. As we walked over, I recalled that this former student, while SUPER sweet, was also the cousin of one of my worst kids from last year. This was the child that I yelled at so loud last year that the other teachers in my hall all asked about him by name.
Sure enough, as we approached, I see both the little girl and the little boy hanging out the apartment door. The little boy, A, sees me and yells, "MISTER TEACHER!!!!" and runs over to give me a big hug.
Ahhhh, short term memory.
We visited 4 apartment complexes in all, and I can say that the Disney World vacation prepared me well for this morning. Walking around in extreme heat without letting the back sweat overwhelm me.
At our third stop, after the excursion, most of us had gotten back on the bus, and we were waiting for one of the teacher's aides to come back. As she came within sight, so did a mother and her four children. We had seen several people come outside while we were around to talk to us and get fliers, so we figured this was happening again. The TA went over and handed a flier to the mother and said a few words that we couldn't hear, but we presumed pertained to Thursday night. She then turned and got on the bus.
So did 2 of the kids.
The lady wasn't out there to get a flier, she was out there to put her kids on the school bus! Our TA didn't even realize the 2 kids had followed her onto the bus until we started laughing and telling her to turn around. And the kids were just looking for an empty seat, like it was perfectly normal to see a bunch of grownups wedged into the seats.
After lunch, we blessedly stayed inside. Last year, we had done an activity where we had to choose what animal we were most like and then discuss in that group what our qualities were. Fun. I was an owl. This year, we did an activity where we had to choose what shape we were most like and then discuss in that group what our qualities were. The choices were square, circle, triangle, and squiggly line.
I put myself in the squiggly line group for no discernible reason other than that I feel I'm sometimes a bit unusual. But I soon came to the conclusion that I was in COMPLETELY the wrong group. Several of the traits that people in my group wrote were "Creative," "extroverted," and "party animal." Yeah, not really me.
I should have been in the square or triangle group, for sure.
Ah well, day 1 is done. And even if I HAD been a square, after returning to my super-heated room for a bit of arrangement definitely melted me down into a squiggly line.