So, here’s the deal. I’ve been giving myself pep talks every day reminding myself that even though I’m not following the much-revered instructional schedule, it’s not as if I’m poisoning the kids’ minds. They’re still working with most of the expensive, bloated curriculum–it’s just that it seems it’s not a bad idea to mix things up…every day.
So, it’s like this.
I’ve unleashed a new brand of crazy inside and outside the classroom.
It’s called ‘the da Vinci-zone’.
I got the kids all amped up on being observant and curious. Oy. It’s so not easy to rein them in. Am figuring it will calm down, but for now…they were in full-swing on the walk to the supermarket and back. I take that back. Inside Food City as well.
The poor manager was engulfed with questions, like:
- What temperature do you keep the ice cream at?
- How old are the spare ribs?
- Which gum sells the fastest?
- How early in the day does the smell of your roasted chicken start to travel around the store?
- What is YOUR favorite smell in the store?
- Do you move the older apples from the bottom to the top so they don’t get old?
- My mom says in the old days the cashiers had to punch in numbers for the prices. Was she kidding?
I decided the day before to scale back on their activity sheets, so it was down to:
- English/Language Arts: Write down the sentence or sentences that make you want to buy a product.
- Report to your iPad/camera buddy and have them record you telling two things you learned during the visit.
- Math: Fill in the blanks: I would buy ten [name of product]. It would cost me [_______].
- Science: Find an item that depends on aging or fermentation.
Find an item that you think consists of 30% to 70% water.
Let’s just say there were multiple flurries of activity throughout the store.
Of course, nothing compared to the cheer for the free donuts they scored at the end of the visit. [When we got back, they had to calculate the number of calories they consumed, based on Dunkin Donuts estimated per item count of 260 calories. I told them the donut gave them each enough added energy to do the math.]
When we got back, Mr. Taylor told me Mrs. Nix was looking for me.
Film at 11 on that one…
well, I really am doing myself in. I’m feeling, well, like…
But, more and more, I’ve realized… 1. Philosophically, I reeeeallly don’t belong here. 2. I’m still helping kids…despite my utter inability to follow the ‘painstakingly-concocted-but-unrealistic-to-many-learners’-needs’ schedule. 3. I’m not just juggling lessons and activities, I’m juggling emotions and suspicions…and baking chores. [After all, Mr. Taylor and Mrs. Helm do need the occasional dose of
As crazy as things are, I’m almost scared to take the whole class into a grocery store.
Baked goods image created from Canva collage tool.
To: Ms. Page
From: Mr. Taylor
Ms. Page: Happy to take any kids who aren’t on-board with your supermarket spree.
As for your ongoing challenges from Mrs. Nix [challenges which, I might add, you seem very willing to answer a few of your own], well, consider me an interested onlooker.
I will admit I like the safety and security of my status of semi-neo-noncommittalness.
I just wish—purely for professional development purposes, of course…though popcorn wouldn’t be refused— there were video replays of her visits. I’d even consider setting up a little informal pool for cash-backed predictions on the results of each visit. Cash-backed predictions…others might use the unsavory term ‘betting’, but I’m above that, at least semantically.
Anyway, I will grant you this—things around here could use a little jolt, though I’d prefer you not share this with the ‘morning java status quo queens’—say that five times fast—I don’t want to have to hire someone to pre-taste my food in the lunchroom. And if you do tell them, I’ll deny everything, including even knowing that you exist. ;->
Have a good day and thanks for the toffee bar cookies. Majorly good.
You should drop by after school to sample your own cooking. It’s really quite impressive. I might even pull out the ultra-uber-top-secret espresso machine and make us a latte. Ssssh, only Nick the new night custodian and I know about it.
To: Mr. Taylor
From: Ms. Page
So, I’m guessing you read the Mrs. Nix note I photocopied [such an old technology, right? ;->] and shared with you. It appears I can’t win. I have to say, it looked like the most fun she’s had in her job in years, but still, she chooses to pick at nits. [eeewwww!]
It’s looking more and more like I’m going to either tow the line [or is it ‘toe the line’?…I’ll get back to you on that.] or I’m going to actually enjoy my job, with no in-between.
Could you send over one of your kids to write my lesson plans for me? I’d have a better chance of pleasing ‘the boss’.
Okay, I just realized you may not want to get dragged into this…well, the ball is in your court.
P.S. Thanks for offering to take any of my kids who aren’t going to the grocery store with us.
Staff meeting. Interesting. I sat down and the two colleagues at the table found reason to move elsewhere. I kept my head down in the Austin Kleon book I was reading and busied myself by taking out my wheel book.
Then our librarian, Sally Helm, sat down by me. I didn’t expect her to be staying for the meeting, but figured she had some quick announcement for the staff. I pulled out my Joy of Cooking chocolate chip drop cookies [hold the extra tablespoon of flour, thank you very much] and, after pulling out a couple for Mr. Taylor, plopped them between us. I shot her a glance and a smile, then nodded toward the cookies. She dove in.
A few minutes later, we both eyed the last cookie. I nudged it toward her. She chuckled and, with her notebook, slid it back toward me. Kate Smalley leaned forward and hissed [that’s really the only word that fits here], “Would one of you two eat it?” I scooped up the cookie and napkin and underhanded it to her table.
Was happy Mrs. Nix hadn’t shown up yet. It would have been just like her to pull the ol’ “And Ms. Page, did you bring enough for everybody?’ line.
After the meeting ended, it hit me. Shirley was not on the meeting agenda, but there she still was.
“Did you sit here just for the cookies?” I asked her.
“I can’t think of a better reason,” she said.
But it hit me…when she sat by me, there was no hint of chocolate chip drop cookies.
A highlight of my day, that lady was.
Mr. Taylor: Ms. Page, what’s with the fridge tucked away in the corner?
Ms. Page: Is it that obvious?
Mr. Taylor: I’d say draping a rainbow-colored towel over the thing doesn’t exactly hide it.
Ms. Page: Yeah, I guess I should go for funeral-gray, shouldn’t I?
Mr. Taylor: So, a fridge?
Ms. Page: Here’s the deal. Last week, Max came in after lunch recess with a nasty bump on his elbow. He was in pain and you could almost hear the fluid and white blood cells rushing to the bump.
Mr. Taylor: Well, as long as you’re not exaggerating…
Ms. Page: Okay, okay. But it was swelling up and I sent him to the office with Jeremy and, like I said, he was in pain. And 15 minutes later, he came back with the typical sandwich bag of ice. And I figured, we’re so far away from the office, why don’t I just keep my own ice blocks ready for something like this? So I wheeled one in over the weekend.
Mr. Taylor: Whoa, whoa, I’m still stuck on your sending Jeremy with Max. Wasn’t Max already in enough pain?
Ms. Page: Just an experiment. I’m thinking Jeremy just needs a few responsibilities to distract him from his bullying.
Mr. Taylor: Orrrr, you’re opening up another opportunity for him to torment a kid.
Ms. Page: Just give me time. Besides, I thought you were interested in the fridge.
Mr. Taylor: Okay, back to the fridge. Can I keep some stuff in it?
Ms. Page: Of course, but it’ll cost you.
Mr. Taylor: No way!
Ms. Page: Just kidding, but I did send the district $50 to pay for Frieda’s estimated electricity costs.
Mr. Taylor: Frieda? You named your fridge?
Ms. Page: What can I say? I’m already attached to it. Besides, I have a whole ‘states of matter’ science unit planned where the fridge will be really helpful.
Mr. Taylor: So you sent the cash straight to the district office. Aren’t you going over the boss’s head a little bit?
Ms. Page: You know how that goes…better to ask forgiveness than permission, right? And I’m not sure it will reflect well on her if I ask the district office for my money back because my administrator wants the fridge removed.
Mr. Taylor: You’re just evil.
Ms. Page: I prefer the word ‘resourceful’, thank you. And, if you’re interested, there might be some juice bars available after school on Friday.
Mr. Taylor: Okay, now you’re not even playing fair.
For the first 20 entries to this writing project, click here.