Today is April 1st. In the teaching world this is a day of greatness and a day of dread.
Dread because it’s April Fools’ Day – and when you teach 6th grade, that means anything, anything could happen. Gone are the days of whoopie cushions or chalk in the eraser (I don’t use chalk & eraser’s electronic). Anything could happen.
Luckily not too much did. (Have I mentioned lately that I <3 my class?) They did try a cute little trick, convinced the art teacher to let half of them hide in the back room and she told me they’d been sent to the office.
Clearly my kiddos aren’t schemers because they chose all the teacher’s-pets to be the hiders, which I kinda get – they don’t get in REAL trouble, but it’s safe to pretend. The remaining kiddos giggled, hid grins behind marker-smudged hands, and examined their shoes.
I played along. “Really? They got in trouble? I’m so disappointed. What did they do?”
“Surely you guys must’ve seen something. What happened?”
“Um, they were goofing off.”
“And being disrespectful.”
“Yeah! Disrespectful – that’s it.”
“And then one of them threw something.”
“Uh-huh, and it hit me in the head”
“Wow. That’s awful! I’m so proud of you for not getting involved. Maybe you guys should have the night off of homework. That’ll be my thank you for behaving.” I raised my voice so the crowd tittering in supply closet could hear, “And those other kids – man – they’re going to have so much homework, they’re going to wish they never got came to school today. They know better!”
The ‘behavers’ were about to lose it, so I winked at the art teacher and started walking them back to class.
We made it about halfway down the hall before the others came tearing up after us, laughing and whooping: “We got you so good!” “Ha ha!” “April Fools.”
I froze, put on a stern face, and turned to face them: “Sixth grade! Is that how we walk in the hallway? Turn around, go back to the art room and try again.”
When the hiders slunk into the classroom, they were nervous. I kept my sternest face on and addressed them: “I don’t care about the prank, that was actually pretty funny – but what about that hallway behavior? Is that how we walk in the halls? Were you being role models?”
Chastised, they lowered their heads. “No.”
“Not at all! Why don’t you come in at recess and reflect on appropriate hallway behavior.”
*sighs and sorrys*
I let them fret through Reading class – possibly the most evil thing I’ve ever done as a teacher – then lined them up for lunch. “Those of you that had some hallway issues this morning, don’t forget to meet me in outside the cafe after lunch. We’ll have a discussion about that behavior and then maybe write some letters to your parents telling them what happened this morning.”
Shoulders slumped, okays were muttered.
Without missing a beat, I shut off the lights and led them out of the classroom: “Now let’s have a nice quiet line all the way down to lunch. And April Fools.”
The kiddos were halfway down the stairs before the first kid stopped and said: “WAIT! Did you say…? Did she say…?”
Kiddos, don’t mess with me – this is my 6th time in sixth grade. You’ve only been here six months.
Oh, and the reason today is wonderful? It’s the first day of poetry month.
Today we listened to and analyzed George Ella Lyon’s “Where I’m From.”
Some of the kiddo’s responses made me teary. And not in that I’m-scared-you’re-going-prank-me way.
Luckily, there’s another 29 days of poetry month, while April Fools’ doesn’t reoccur for another 364 days.
That gives me plenty of time to plan for next year!