I brought my class inside when the bell rang this morning and one girl came over to my desk and said, "Big news! I started my period yesterday." Fortunately, she wasn't shouting it or anything, but she wasn't whispering either. I asked, "Do you have everything you need?" She responded, "Yup." And that was the end of that.
After lunch, a boy got really sick. He struggles with migraines. He came to me in tears and said he felt dizzy and that he wanted to throw up. I directed him to pick up the garbage can as I personally escorted him to the office, you know, in case he passed out. Both secretaries were busy on their phones, so I had him lie down in the nurse's room while I called his mother from there. I reported, "He's got a migraine, he's dizzy, and feels like he's going to throw up. He wants his medicine and he just wants to 'go home and sleep.'" She replied, "I'm on my way." I asked the poor kid who would know how to gather up his backpack and things so we could send it down to the office. He rattled off a list of several guys. When I made it back to the classroom, I realized I had left my garbage can in the office. I asked who would like to take the personal items to the office and retrieve the garbage can. Just like that, a committee of three trusty fellows rose up out of their chairs: one grabbed the backpack, one grabbed the football, and the third guy said, "I'll get the garbage can." I know it's just a small and simple thing (and that some children love to escape the classroom for a minute or two), but in light of the funeral for a slain officer today, I couldn't help but think that school is one of those places where little boys get their lessons in standing up for each other, doing their duty, and being there for their best buds. Today they remember to send the guy's football home. Tomorrow they hug the widow.
After the boys left, it dawned on me that the activity that was happening when I left the classroom had concluded and the students had put everything away. They were sitting at their desks and behaving well. They had also anticipated the next step in our routine and one reliable girl was just finishing passing out papers for that. A sick child wasn't a huge emergency, but these students chose to pull together and carry on when something out of the ordinary happened. A leader emerged and took over my responsibilities with no coaching from me. I never even told them I was leaving--I just left.
After the last recess, a girl reported that she was hit in the face with a basketball. "Do you have a bloody nose?" "No." "Do you need ice?" "No." "Okay, then, let's get on with our reading."
3 hours ago