Thursday, January 14, 2010

Chaos Theory In Practice

Kids need routine. Kids like predictability, and when you mess with that, you better be prepared. Change one element, and it can throw off the whole delicate operation that is the elementary school day. As predicted, this week has, indeed, been one hot mess. Monday, we moved out of our classroom. 24 children lugging backpacks, textbooks, coats, sweaters and recess equipment while their teacher pushed a large grocery cart with books, cd player, computer, paper, pencils and other items. We looked like some sort of deranged parade. Along the way, I lost several of my kids. I'm not sure where they went, but they showed up 20 minutes later.
We settled comfortably into our temporary digs and dismissed from that room. Fine. The next day, we hummed along as best we could. Until the afternoon. When Bad Boy comes back to the room from going to the bathroom and delivering a message to another teacher for me. (20 minutes later)

BB: Mrs. Lewis? I have paint all over my hands.

Mrs. L: Why?

BB: Because I stopped by our room and touched all the wet paint.

OF COURSE HE DID!!!!!!!! But I have to give him props for admitting it. So when the kids were dismissed, I took him down to our room and made him apologize to the painters who now had to re-paint all of our shelves because someone's little fingerprints were all over them. And he did. And so I sent him away. That was Tuesday.

We were told we could move back into our room Wednesday morning. However, the painters finished our room Tuesday night and told that art teacher she could move into our temporary room right away because her room was next in line. Move into where we were. Which we had no idea about. Wednesday morning, I walk in and find her there. Getting ready for her first class. In 20 minutes. Of course, we had PE on Wednesday, and as you know from HERE, on cold days, PE has to be inside. And it was 35 degrees out. So the art teacher, who is, no doubt, a Super-Super Colleague rearranged herself to accommodate us. Because there was no way, even though the paint was dry, that we could have had PE in our room. And this is why:

The kids desks are somewhere under there. No idea where. While the kids were doing PE, I hastily packed up all our stuff, again, and tried dragging it by myself back to our room so the art teacher could get into the temporary room right after PE. It was not pretty. Things spilled. I crashed the cart twice and cracked my shin against it at least three times.
At exactly 9:05 I dragged my kids out of the room with all their stuff. Three went missing again. I found out later they had an unfortunate meeting with the assistant principal. They came back, unscathed, although I later heard that one of my girls told someone to "Kiss my butt", which brought about the meeting with the VP.  We are all assembled back in our room, and it occurs to me that there is no way we can do anything until we put some order back into the room. So we try, but the kids are totally wound up, and I am seriously losing it. As I am about to blow a gasket, along comes an angel. A wonder. A woman whose debt I will forever be in. The fourth grade teacher on my row pops her head into my room and sees the chaos that is the day. She offers to take my kids, and, not only keep them in her room, but do a writing lesson with them!!!!!!!! While her kids are in there too!!!!!!!  I mean, seriously, does it get any more super than that?!?!?! NO!!!! WOW!!!!! So She takes them. For 2 hours. And I take two trustworthy kids of mine and we put the room back in order. She also takes them for half an hour after lunch. I love this woman. I worship at the altar of her awesome-ness. I, of course, will do the same thing for her when she has to put her room back together, but I am still feeling the glow of her kindness.
And that was Wednesday.

The drama of Thursday is coming up, but re-living the first part of the week has exhausted me all over again, and now I must take a nap.


  1. And your point is.... you expect kids to not touch the paint????
    Meanwhile, it has to be zero here for the kids to stay inside for PE. Of course, they mostly have jackets....
    At the U they close when the air temp is 20 below zero. Leave Florida! Come to MN! The kids touche paint here also.

  2. lol the picture cracks me up. these painters must be thinking, 'is ALL this shit really necessary?' imagine some of the rooms (and storage spaces!) they are seeing!

  3. Yeah, I sort of had the same thought as I was hauling it all around the room.
    FYI Em, the "Kiss My Butt" kid was one of yours!