Tap Dancing All Day Long

It’s been a loooooooooong day, spent doing what I call “tap dancing” the whole time. That’s when the substitute teacher has to readjust the plans while simultaneously keeping 18 kids in order, teaching a lesson, and making sure no one trashes the bathroom or breaks anything.

I didn’t succeed where those last two were concerned today.

But let’s back up to the beginning.

The schedule was off because we were going to Mass. Little Brother appeared in my classroom after the day’s opening prayer, because his class is my foster homeroom’s Buddy Class and we were going to Mass together at the suggestion of Little Brother’s teacher.

I was all for it, because my foster students are 7, and pretty wiggly, and I thought it would be good if they saw a good example of church behavior. The only thing that worried me was seating, because the classes have set locations in church and doubling my class size (with Buddies) would mean that other classes had to sit farther back. I left that whole thing to Little Brother’s teacher to figure out.

The seventh grade trooped in and we matched them with their buddies and lined everyone up. Their teacher explained to all the kids how Communion would work (since my kids don’t receive yet) and since he had to get to church to set some things up, we headed down the hallway.

Mass went amazingly well. The Buddies helped my class find the right pages in the hymnal. There was no horsing around or whispering. Definitely this was the high point of the day. After Mass we returned to our classroom and got started on the Snack-and-Bathroom Routine. Then I found out that my class wouldn’t be going to gym today.

wawa latteThere went my chance to use the bathroom and heat up the coffee that had gotten cold before I had five sips of it. But I figured I could fit in a quick restroom detour when we went to play rehearsal.

We finished our snack and did our Jesse Tree ornament of the day and moved the Holy Family a little closer to the manger. Then I lined everyone up in the right order (which has changed 4 times this week) and reminded everyone to use “Marshmallow Feet” in the hallway and on the stairs into the cafegymatorium. We exited the classroom silently and practically tiptoed down the hall. I was super proud of the kids, until the principal stopped us and said, “You’re not having rehearsal this morning.”

So we turned around and went back and I had to find something to do for 40 minutes until lunch, because my lesson plan said “Rehearsal.” I decided we’d work on the Snowman Handprint ornaments the kids were making for their parents (the other second-grade teacher got this all going. I’m craft-impaired.)

We were deep into an assembly line of “name on paper, paint on hand, hand on ornament, ornament on paper upside-down, go wash” when a first-grade teacher came in to offer to hold rehearsal in her classroom. I asked if I could send the kids as they finished their messy craft. And that was all fine until a Tiny Tattler informed me that two other girls were trashing the bathroom with the white paint. It was smeared all over the floor and mirrors.

I made the two of them clean their mess up as best they could with Lysol wipes. We all finished the craft, practiced “Joy to the World” in the first-grade room and then headed off to lunch. Late. I retrieved my cold coffee, went upstairs to the faculty room to (finally) use the restroom and nuke the coffee, then returned to my classroom to eat lunch alone because I was upset enough that if anyone had even said “hello” to me, I might have broken into tears right there.

As we were having inside recess due to cold weather, I retrieved my kids after my 20-minute break, and they played for half an hour instead of going outside. We worked for a little while on a timed reading test, then got ready (again) for our 1:15 rehearsal. Then the classroom phone rang; we weren’t going to be able to use the cafegymatorium until 2 PM. A first-grade teacher popped in to suggest that I have the kids all packed to go home, with coats ready, before we went to rehearsal at 2. That sounded good to me, so we got our coats, then since the ornaments were dry, we decorated them with Sharpies.

Everything was going along quite nicely until an ornament rolled off a desk and hit the floor. There were tears and shards of glass everywhere. No, I wasn’t the one crying–it was the little girl whose ornament hadn’t stayed on her desk. I reassured her that she could make a new one first thing Monday and we got on with our day, and then at 1:55 someone poked their head in the door to tell me that, no, we weren’t rehearsing after all.

I grabbed a Christmas storybook out of the teacher’s storybook box and we read a story. Then I took the boxes of inside-recess toys out and let them have some extra playtime. Every last one of us was just DONE at that point.

7 more school days until Christmas.


6 thoughts on “Tap Dancing All Day Long

  1. God bless you! I would have been in tears by lunch, and you just made me realize I could never teach school because I use the bathroom at least every hour.

    • Then you have an idea of just how close I was to tears BY LUNCHTIME! That’s why I was hiding in my classroom to eat. If anyone had said one thing to me, it would all have been over.
      As to the bathroom thing, I’ve been functioning semi-dehydrated for the past 7 weeks for just that reason.
      Boy, am I glad that day is over. It was a rough one.

    • I can’t take credit for Marshmallow Feet. I stole that from one of the teachers in the school; I can’t even remember who. Might even be the teacher I’m subbing for right now. But yeah. It was NOT a good day.

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