Today was a much needed snow day. I am a firm believer in the theory that snow days are little gifts from God sent specifically to teachers as his way of saying, "You know what, you've been working so hard, just take a moment and relax."
They are a beautiful, beautiful thing.
This snow day was a bit painful because although other areas in the region were getting snow, my house and my Ezra Jack Keats loving daughter was only getting rain. So although our snow day did not end up being a memorable Peter-puts-on-his-snowsuit type day, it was just what we needed anyway.
The day before my entire school was sent into the field for an aerial photograph. I've seen this done in other schools and I remember taking part in it in my middle school (a very, very long time ago) but I've been a part of it before. And I have to admit, I hope I'm not a part of it again.
For the kiddos in my program it was particularly painful. They like their routines, a lot and here we were totally blowing their routines out of the water. Grant it, it's a good opportunity to practice rolling with the flow, but practicing rolling with the flow tends to put a lot more stress on us as teachers. My kiddos just couldn't understand what was happening. Why, oh why were we outside in the field, not having recess and not lined up for a fire drill?
After we'd been out for what felt like two hours (but was in fact more like 15 minutes) one of my girls started yelling, "no, no, No, No, NO!" and shaking her head to announce she was done. This is usually our sign to have her take a break before things get more stressful, but here we were, packed into a field with all the other students at our school, trying to smile when the photographer told us to smile.
While I was worried about what to do with my pre-meltdown friend another of my kiddos didn't want to waste time merely telling us he was upset. One moment he was standing beside me and the very next he was sprinting across the field, looking backwards to see if I was coming after him, and giggling with absolute glee. I can't say I blame him. It was a beautiful afternoon, we were outside and not doing math, and normally when we're outside it means playtime.Frankly, at that moment I wanted to run away from the mass of elementary school students myself.
Anyone who works with young children with disabilities knows that the cardinal sin in working with runners is that you do not chase them. The last thing you want is for them to think it is a game and have them run faster. Of course, anyone else would see a running child and immediately sprint after them.
Nothing beats those few moments of having a child run away from you while the entire school looks on. You have two choices. You can try to keep it together enough to not chase him so that you don't reward the behavior by playing the game. Or you can run after the child in hopes of ending the whole situation as fast as possible Walking as quickly as possible I prayed I didn't look ridiculously lazy and incompetent as I marched after my giggling, quite happy friend who was absolutely shocked and a bit taken aback when I (finally caught up to him and) explained that it wasn't time for running.
It was a long, long 20 minutes. And a well deserved snow day.