Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Student Teaching Shenanigans: The Early Dismissal

Last Night, some of the teachers and I stayed a bit late to get some work done for the classroom.  We ended up talking about the weather and how not a single meteorologist seemed to know what the heck was going on. They all forecasted snow and rain mixes, starting and ending at all different times, from Tues night through Wednesday.  All we could hope was that we had off for the next few days.  After our planning and our "See you on Friday" wishes, we went home, keeping our fingers crossed for, if nothing else, a delayed opening.

I woke up to my alarm at 6:30 disheartened.  No phone call had woken me up to say that we were delayed or off.  Mom tells me that it has been snowing, there is probably about 2 inches outside and no end in sight. My dad takes my sister to school at her high school and calls to say that the roads are awful! My co-op even calls me when she was on her way in to tell me the roads are crap and the students shouldn't be going in under such conditions.

I got on the road to school and they weren't exaggerating.  Slush, snow and black ice were everywhere, a hazard for not only buses, but for cars and for the poor students who would have to walk to school.  I finally get to the school and begin to set up for the day, ready for a crazy, workless day.

We had 18 of our 23 students show up to class, which shocked me.  The kids arrive around 8:20 to the school on average, but today, we had buses still pulling in around 9:00 because of the conditions.  It was an absolute wreck.  People were very upset with the day and the phones were ringing off the hook in the office.

After everyone finally got settled and we did a bit of our usual routine, we decided to do a butterfly project with the kids to go with the book we were reading.  Around 10:00, as Maria was explaining the instructions, her phone went off.  I looked at the number and it was 411-000-000, which made no sense to me at all.  She said to ignore it, but I was curious, so I googled the number on my phone.  Here's a tip for anyone: If you see this number, answer it, it means there is a school announcement of some kind! The website I found said they got a call from this number and it was a school calling about a school closing announcement.  I tell my co-op this and she has me listen to the message that was left.  The internet was right, it was a school announcement, we were going to have an early dismissal.  We were getting out at 1:00.  We inform the kids of this and then begin the project.

About 10 minutes into the project, the principal enters the room.  My co-op was out, so the aide and I were the only ones in there.  He tells us that the lunch schedule has been changed to accommodate the early dismissal and that there would be no recess.  He also tells us that we are now responsible for calling all of the students parents and finding out how they are to be getting home. At hearing this, I will admit I was pretty upset.  Not only were we called in under crap conditions only to be sent home in a few hours and waste a day, now our day was made completely insane for us! How are we supposed to take care of a classroom and try to keep an order while making at least 18 phone calls???

I say at least because just calling a phone number and getting the answers you need is never that simple.  You get an answering machine at the house, so you have to call the cell phone, but that is turned off, so you have to call the work, but they are not working so then you have to call the emergency contact...And then you get the houses that are no longer listed under the numbers on the emergency card or the number is no longer a working number.....get the picture? Making these phone calls was beyond insane.  I am glad that the aide, Feo, was there though to help with the Spanish speaking callers; I got a couple calls where the first words were "You speak Spanish?" where I would simply say, "No, un momento" and hand the phone off. 

So after the phone call fiasco, it was time for lunch, where Maria and I had duty.  We warmed up our lunches and went to the cafeteria where we proceeded to stuff our food down our throat while making sure the kids did the same.  After this, there was only about an hour or so left before dismissal, so we did calendar and another butterfly worksheet and then got the kids ready to go home.  This was probably one of the only times that I will see all of the buses there in time for dismissal. We got the kids where they needed to go and sent them on their way.  And once they were gone, I had a brief chat with some other student teachers about their crazy days, grabbed my things and went home!

Moral of this story: When you think you are going to have to send the kids home early, Do Not Bother Sending Them At All!! It is dangerous for both parents and children who not only have to make the dangerous trek to school, but then turn around a few hours later and do it again! Not to mention, its a pain in the ass for teachers and a waste of a day! We would much rather make up one day than waste one in this fashion!

Oh! and of course I have a couple one liners.  To show how out of it my co-op and I were, she had this great one liner while trying to tell the students to do a page in their "I'm Done" books: "I want you to do I'm one done page one. (Said after I burst out in laughter)....That didnt make sense did it?" 

And this lovely one liner came from a boy who was in the cafeteria. He was strutting with his food to his table and randomly burst out "I had a dream about Twilight".  Completely random but hey, that's what these one liners are all about! :)

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