One of Those Days

I was fine by the end of the day  Pretty fine.  But I love a good “You will not believe my day!” story.  This is all happened yesterday; so. . .  here I go. . .  What a crazy day I had yesterday. . .

Pulled into the parking lot at work this morning and realized I didn’t have my key card to get in.  (My lanyard has a key card to to enter the building from any entrance and also has a key to my classroom, and I hadn’t left it in the car or my purse, as I normally do.)  I hurried to catch up to a fellow teacher who was about to enter the building.  As I snuck in with her,  I had the fleeting hope: “I hope I just left it on the kitchen counter.”

Then, I had a dance practice for the school talent show, so I got a little bit behind on my prep for the day.  An hour later, at the end of my first-thing-in-the-morning planning time, I had a discussion with a co-worker about some union/district issues, so then I had that on my mind for the rest of the morning.

It is important to note at this point that 1) I hadn’t gotten my full hours sleep the night before  — or any night this week, for that matter; I’d been feeling the stress of work and too many extra curricular activities, and I was finding some “me time”, at the expense of a full night’s sleep.  2) I hadn’t taken my vitamins.  I had forgotten in the midst of dance  practice and worrying about my lanyard, and at that point, it was too late.  (If I don’t take them with food, the feeling in my stomach is none too pleasant.)  And, I am dependent on those vitamins.  They give me a good energy boost and help me to keep focused and on top of what’s happening with the kiddos each day.  I could already feel myself faltering this morning, losing track of my objectives, lagging behind.  My students noticed it, too, and actually began nagging me to get back on track.

Then, my bilingual coach dropped in for a visit.  We’d been forewarned that a visit was coming.  We’d been asked to submit a schedule and list some areas that we’d like to improve.  I’d done that.  But we’d never been told when she was coming.  (Though, I’m quite used to that now, with all the visits/”walk-throughs” etc this year . .)  She came in the middle of a read aloud, so I mustered up whatever energy I could find and dragged my read aloud out a bit.  As I continued to read, I realized they were staying longer.  Maybe for guided reading.  So, I moved into a transition.  We had been having some trouble with transitions today, but I’d already scolded and threatened the class and given them reminders about “moving quietly and quickly” and “working the whole time”, so it went ok.

They sat in on my last reading group.  This also was ok.  The group did a good job, and even though I was a bit disorganized, I pulled it together and made a good go of it.  The coach and I had a fairly good discussion, with her partner looking on quietly.  They cut into some of my writing time, and I therefore lost out on a chance to get my hyperactive student focused and on track, but at least it was another thing out of the way.

This day I was keeping most of  my students in to finish homework.  In between recess and lunch, I sent them off to get their food, and I rushed to the lounge to quickly prepare my own lunch.  To my dismay, the “black bean soup” I thought I’d grabbed before I ran out the door this morning was actually “refried beans”.  Not much of a tasty lunch, without cheese, chips, or any embellishments.  It was going to be another one of those days. . .

After lunch we got into math.  We’re learning conversions and other measurement objectives for the English system (one of the hardest areas in fourth grade).  It’s always so, so painful to get through.  We had a double block of math, so I was hoping to get in some final review and have the students take the chapter test before we moved on to the metric system.  Important note: for 1/2 hour during my 2 hour block, I have a teacher assistant.  She comes in during math and often takes a group of students for extra instruction.  She came in at her normal time and then 15 minutes into our time, the fire alarm went off.  We all rushed outside and stood in line, facing the playground, and waiting for the checks to be completed and the “all clear” to sound.  Ten minutes or so later, and we headed back to the building, but I realized I didn’t have the outside door key NOR my classroom key.  The one day I don’t have my lanyard. . . But, there are many other teachers who did, so we followed behind the other classes, like rounded up cattle, and then stood outside our classroom door, waiting for someone to rescue us.  Our savior is our teacher assistant who lets us in, and promptly leaves us, as her half hour has expired, and she must continue on to her next class.

Finally the bell rang, the students leave, but my day was not over.  I had to complete my absolutely most favorite activity of all — making sub plans.  All of my favorite guest teachers were unavailable to cover my class during my workshop tomorrow– one was already helping out in a leave of absence, one just had a baby, and one was out of town, so I was leaving my class to a complete stranger.  Well. . . not a complete stranger.  I asked around in the office and talked to some of the teachers who have had him, and I found out that everything would be fine, as long as I left very detailed plans.

Yes, detailed plans.  . .  Must. . .muster up. . . more energy. . .  Finally, just under 2 hours after the kiddos left, I walk out the door, glad to have survived another day.  At home I found my lanyard, sitting on the kitchen table.

Image: Stuart Miles /

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