Random Notions and Stories of Teaching

January 13, 2006

Film at 11

Earlier in the year, one of the morning preschoolers was "missing" for several minutes. Have I mentioned this? He had run out of the preschool room and into the hallway. I swear, this is how news stories happen. Anyway, he was found and returned to his room. Since then he has been labelled "a flight risk" and is therefore watched like a hawk. The principal couldn't understand how no one would notice a child leaving.

Let me just say that with nine children running around, screaming, laughing, crying, etc. It is a challenge to keep track of them all. Add to this that the room has no door and the challenge is magnified.

When I heard this story, I too wondered how you could "lose" a child.

Well.

Let me tell you, it is easier than you would think.

Today I subbed for one of the afternoon preschool classes. These are the same kids I subbed for back at the beginning of the year. Boy are they adjusting! Before many of them were incredibly shy. One cried just knowing someone new was in the room. The Cryer was also non-verbal. He'd just give blank stares or cry. Those were your options. Now? Well now The Cryer is verbal (according to the teacher). Yeah, he says words you can't understand and NO! Everything is No, No, No. I realize he's just learned this word and its meaning. I realize he's just exerting his newfound "power", but good grief.

So anyway...

I had a very enjoyable afternoon. The kids were wild, but it was Friday and there was a different teacher there. It's to be expected. Finally, it was time for the buses to come (HOORAY!).

We waited...and waited...and waited...and waited. We saw one of the buses drive by one way. Turn around and drive right past. Around this time, I had a bad feeling. The classroom teacher had come back to school by then and was sitting with me and the kids. She said that it Bus #1 usually goes by, but then turns around and comes back. This going by twice thing was not good.

She suggested I take the kids outside to the end of the sidewalk to wait. Uh...I don't wanna. It was a nice day - however, it is much easier to watch 3 preschoolers when they are confined to the lobby. Outside, I had visions of them running out in front of buses. So, against my better judgement, I took them outside. I gave them the rule that they could no go on the sidewalk, they had to be in the grass. Still a large area, but further from the parking lot and buses.

So we waited...and waited...and waited.

The Cryer swung his bookbag (like those gym bags from the 80s) around and around and around. The second time he hit someone, I took his bookbag and held it for him so he could twirl. And he cried. I told him he could have it back when it was time to get on the bus that way he could spin and not hit anyone. Eventually he got over it.

Finally, their regular teacher came out and told us that Bus #2 had broken down (about 100 feet from the train tracks...eep). So Bus Driver of Bus #1 had gone to get the kids on Bus #2 and then we were going to load everyone on Bus #1. Bus #2 takes all the special services children home. So there are preschoolers from different buildings as well as MH students.

Bus #2 arrives and I had The Cryer his bookbag. He screams. He wails. He doesn't want to hold his bookbag. Arghhhhh. I finally stuck it over his head and across his body so that he was wearing it to get on the bus. He jumped up and down and cried. Oy.

At long last, all of the Bus #2 kids and all of the Bus #1 kids are on the bus. There aren't any extra seats to be found, but they're all on there.

Doodle le doot - goes the radio. It's the bus garage. Hold the Bus #2 kids at the school, they're bringing a replacement bus.

Shut.
Up.

So we get allllll the Bus #2 kids BACK off the bus. A replacement bus is coming but it's going to be a while. Principal has them line up from shortest to tallest. It kept them occupied and relatively entertained (way to go, Principal). Then a little voice says, "I hope that bus hurries, I hafta pee."

Crap.

Being the sub, the one who knows the least about the kids and the procedures, I volunteer to take him. He was the first kid in line, thus the shortest. This will come into play later. Down we go to the primary hall to use their bathrooms. I send him in and I wait.

And wait...and wait...and wait.

"Uh...need any help in there?" I call while standing outside the little boys' room.
No answer. I wait a few more seconds then enter the stinky little boys' room.

No little boy standing outside.

No little feet hanging under the stalls.

Hmm. Strange. I went over to see if his feet were just too short to be seen. Nope. There is absolutely no kid in that bathroom.

Oh.
My.
God.

I lost a kid! I'm going to be fired. I'm going to be on the news. "INCOMPENTENT TEACHER LOSES STUDENT - Film at 11"

I check the girls' bathroom. Nothing. I frantically search around some of the rooms close by. He's simply vanished. Did he fall in? He WAS pretty little.

I run up and ask the secretary, "did you see a little boy in a yellow jacket go by?" Nope.

SHIT!

Finally, my mother comes down to watch the kids so I can go talk to the math teacher I am subbing for next week. "Mother! I lost a kid!" (I'm beginning to feel somewhat frantic at this point)

She asks the secretary. Still hasn't seen him. The regular preschool teacher is coming inside, "have you seen the little kid in the yellow jacket?"

"Fred? or Ethel?" I DON'T KNOW HIS NAME! Wait...wait...it was a boy. Fred. Definitely, Fred.

"Oh yeah, he followed the principal back outside and got on the bus."

Oh dear Lord. No more preschoolers.

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