I always loved the First Day of School when I was teaching. Something ALWAYS happened and the events ran the gamut from tragic to downright surreal. As good as my first day stories are; however, they can’t touch the stories Budge comes home with each and every year.
Budge teaches 4th grade six minutes from our house, which I always thought was extremely unfair, but these days it means more sleep for both of us. Anyway, she has a plethora of great tales because, well . . . let’s be honest, the little ones are a sight cuter than the older, bigger models I was used to dealing with.
One year, she and the rest of the 4th and 5th grade teachers were stationed at the intersection of their halls with the main hall directing traffic and making sure everyone got to the right room. The crowd had thinned out noticeably when one of the teachers, Mary, caught site of a backpack wearing a little boy. He couldn’t look up for the size of his shiny new Jansport pack, but he was obviously WAY too small for 3rd, 4th, or 5th grade and that was all that was down on this end of the building.
Mary stopped him and knelt down to look at him and she said, “Now what grade are you in young man?” He replied, and I’ll attempt spelling his pronunciation, “Kinoorgaren!” Apparently, he had been standing in the huge mass of students waiting for the instructions to start to class from the atrium holding pens when everyone started to move. Since he could only see the floor beneath his feet and just a few feet beyond, he fell in with one herd and followed along . . . to the COMPLETELY wrong end of the building. K5, 1st, and 2nd grades were on the other end of the main hall, at least a good football field away. When Mary and one of the other teachers gently turned him around and adjusted the straps on the bookbag so that he had a full field of vision, they pointed to his correct destination . . . and he sat down and began crying tears of heartrending grief. Budge said she felt so sorry for him because, to one his size, that was and expeditionary length hike.
Ruefully, he stood up, dried his tears, and set off towards the far reaches of Robert E. Cashion Elementary, a regular little Admiral Perry or Shackleton resigned to his fate. Luckily, he had been missed in his class and one of the dear, sweet, long-suffering K5 aides had been dispatched to recover him. She intercepted him about a third of the way into his journey and, taking the bookbag from him and extending her hand, which he gladly took, lead him to the land of coloring book, cookies, and sandboxes.
Now, as touching as that story was, this one is downright sidesplitting to me. I hope it doesn’t fall into the “you had to be there” category for all y’all.
This first day had gone without incident for the most part, but after lunch, the school secretary came on the PA in a somewhat strained if not downright panicked voice and said, “Mrs. Wagner (the assistant principal), please go to the first grade hall IMMEDIATELY.” Jen had gone to the same high school as Budge, albeit a few years ahead of her, and had run track. That fact, and the fortuitous choice she had made that day to eschew here usual high heels for more sensible flats, saved the day.
To quote several of my favorite students, “What had happened was!” Budge later found out was one of the first graders, a little boy, apparently didn’t care much for school. The day had progressed along quite well as the afflicted teacher pointed out. She’d been going over stuff, they’d had a bathroom break, and generally engaged in many of the time-honored tasks of the first day. One particularly diminutive tow-headed lad; however, had politely raised his hand at least three times and announced to the teacher, “Ma’am, I’d like to go home now, please. I don’t much like it here.” Well, she had been kind to him and explained that he’d need to stay since he was a big boy now and had many things to learn.
Lunch had come and gone and the class was back to working when the little one again said, “Ma’am, I really would like to go home. I’m tired of sitting.” Again, his new status as an engaged learner on the way to becoming a productive citizen was pointed out to him upon which he nodded and the teacher went back to going from student to student engaging in some task. Her teacher radar went off and she jerked up just in time to see the classroom door quietly click shut while a sea of horrified first grade eyes looked on.
Normally, this wouldn’t be cause for alarm, BUT, this particular classroom was next to one of the six emergency doors in the school. Sure enough, she heard the buzzer go off as someone tripped the alarm. Obviously unable to leave the ninety and nine to go look for the one lost lamb, she called the office in an absolute state of mortification resulting in the aforesaid PA announcement and Mrs. Wagner’s re-entrance into the world of distance running.
When Jen got to the classroom, the teacher gave an instantaneous summary of the foregone events and out the door Jen went. Just in time as it turned out. Even though this little one was quite short of leg, he was determined in his course and steadfast in his decision– having asked nicely four times and being refused — to GO HOME. Budge’s school sits about fifty yards off a main county road. Fifty yards is a long way for a little guy, but e’en so, his new school sneakers had already touched asphalt and he was looking both ways to get his bearings by the time Mrs. Wagner caught up with him.
Being an extremely well-mannered youngster, he didn’t put up any fuss when Jen called his name and held out her hand. He merely took the pro-offered palm with a sigh only the thwarted can know, and allowed himself to be lead back to the office. Lest you be worried for the child’s safety, he was not punished. Mama was called and excused herself from work long enough to come to the school and sternly, firmly, but very lovingly explained to our erstwhile adventurer that he must, in fact, remain in school for the majority of the next twelve years. She praised him for being polite but reiterated that, polite or not, he was NEVER to duplicate his actions again. Then, with a hug and kiss on the forehead, Mama returned to her office and the little lad, in the company of Mrs. Wagner, returned to class, where he did, in the end, have a good year and proved to be a capable and intelligent student who was eventually quick with the answer — from the back corner of the room opposite the door.
After all, no need to take chances!
Have a great year all teachers.
Love all, y’all and don’t forget to wash those feet!