I was in my first year of teaching first grade EXACTLY fifteen years ago today and what I’m about to tell you happened on a FRIDAY on HALLOWEEN. Please keep in mind throughout the telling of this story that I was in my FIRST YEAR. And I was proud and happy to have my own classroom. I was IN CHARGE. I knew what I was doing.
I had a pretty normal morning. Since it was Friday, the girls and I went out for lunch. When we returned, we met our kids out on the playground where they lined up.
My kids were all in an uproar. I heard variations of “Esteban (I changed the name) went to the office!” “Esteban got in a fight!” “Esteban is in trouble!” “We don’t know where Esteban is!!” It was pandemonium.
Well, let’s remember I was IN CHARGE.
“Boys, and girls, relax. Shhhhh. Quiet down! Stop! SHHHHHHH!” I had absolutely no signals to get my kids’ attention whatsoever.
I said The office will call me if I need to know anything.
We went into the classroom and I told them about this GREAT activity that we would be doing for math. It was called Spinning Ghosts and it was an AIMS activity and it was fantastic for a first year teacher to do especially because we didn’t have standards and/or math curriculum so I could teach whatever the heck I wanted and nobody said anything about it. The best part about this Math activity was that students got to stand on their chairs while they were spinning their ghosts. Yes!!!! Let’s all stand on our chairs!!!!! What an awesome idea!!!! And I’ll do it, too, so I can be a good role model!!!!
So there we all were, spinning our ghosts, when sweet little Carol asked to go to the bathroom.
Let me give you some background on Carol.
Carol was a know-it-all. She tried to correct me all of the time. She constantly told me that I was spelling things wrong, which I wasn’t but she really wished that I was. She was into everyone’s business and knew everything that was going on. Carol was onto me. She knew I didn’t know what I was doing.
And let’s be clear. I didn’t.
“Can I go to the bathroom?” Carol asked.
“Sure, ” I answered.
We kept spinning our ghosts to see which ghost would actually spin (the one with one arm down? or the one with both arms up?) and we were having a great time. The next time I looked up . . . oh, I don’t know . . . ten minutes later (??), there was a huge crowd of kids around Carol.
From the perch on my chair, I said, “What’s going on???” in a very stern, in charge voice.
The kids replied with lots of squeals, “Carol’s got Esteban’s finger!!!!!!”
I am proud to say that I got down from my chair. Oh, yes I did. I walked over to the crowd and I was annoyed.
“Carol, whatever you have, throw it away, wash your hands, get back up on your chair, and SPIN YOUR GHOST!”
And that’s what she did.
The rest of the day went by without a hitch. Well . . . some kids fell off their chairs and no one would stay quiet and everyone was super excited for Halloween, but we made it to the end of the day.
At dismissal, Esteban’s older sister came to my classroom and asked if she could get his backpack and stuff.
“Sure. What happened to him, by the way?” I asked.
“Oh. I don’t know. I just know he got hurt and went to the hospital,” she replied.
???????????????? Uh ohhhhh. ????????????????????
I dismissed my kids and ran up to the office.
“What happened to Esteban?” I asked whoever would listen.
Seriously. Which one?
“Esteban LAST NAME!!!!”
“Oh!!!! Oh no. You didn’t hear?”
“Um, no. No one called me.”
Why would they, right?
“The big outside door to the boy’s bathroom (which is usually held open by a large, circular trash can) slammed shut on Esteban’s finger and cut half of it off.”
I don’t really know how she understood me because I told her the whole story in one breath at a high decibel. We decided to get a craft stick and a Dixie cup to forage through the trash.
While we were sifting through the garbage, the classroom phone rang.
Really. My principal did that.
We said, “
We said, “
We screamed, “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!”
Please please please leave a comment so that I know you don’t think I’m an awful human being and/or teacher.
Have a happy Halloween. And remember, I believe all of the statutes of limitations have run out. So don’t even bother. Put the phone down.