Thursday, March 01, 2007

A Crazy Afternoon

My classroom was infested this afternoon, by a veritable army of winged ants. They were mostly not flying, but they were crawling around on the floor. R- noticed first. "An ant, Mi' Hay'!" she squealed, pulling her feet up off the floor (unlike in Massachusetts, where the ants are mostly innocuous, Mississippi ants almost all bite.) I stomped on it and showed her its little dead body. (We save the crickets by putting them outside, but I draw the line at ants.) And then I stopped thinking about ants.

For about ten minutes.

Then D- raised his hand. "There are some ants all over the floor," he told me. There were indeed. I decided that we would ignore it and continue with our nine-weeks science exam, with one modification: J-, who normally takes her tests on the floor by my desk (because otherwise she cheats), would sit in her seat instead. I was feeling creepy-crawly, the way you do when you see ants even if they aren't crawling on you, and I could see that my kids were feeling that way, too. And then I felt a sharp pinch on my leg. And then another one.

I got my assistant to take over test-reading duty (she's been remarkably helpful this week, after being very little help at all last week, and moderately helpful the week before that) and hightailed it to the restroom, where I stripped off my pants to shake out any ants and check on my welts. Then I went to the office to find the janitor (who has very toxic-smelling ant-killing spray) and the principal (to ask if we could relocate to the cafeteria.) Neither one was there. The principal was at a meeting at Central Office and the janitor was on his lunch break.

So I went back to the classroom and gathered up my students, our journals, and our pencils. We went to the cafeteria, where they were finishing mopping from lunch, and sat down at a table, much to the annoyance of the cafeteria staff, who informed me that they were not going to clean up after us (all we were doing was writing in our journals???) Instead of wasting the last hour of the day, we spent most of it revising our drafts of some stories. We were going to work on the collages we are doing to go with the stories, but the third graders came in for their "planning period."

Basically, that means that a class of third graders sat at a table in the cafeteria for the last half hour of the day, with nothing to do, basically unsupervised. They call it their "planning period" because that is what their teachers call it, although I don't really understand why the third grade teachers need a half hour more of "planning time" every day, especially if it means their kids are not doing ANYTHING (every class has a half hour per day of either computer lab or library.) Anyhow, the kids were already hyper because it was the end of a testing day during a testing week, and one of their teachers is (unfairly) suspended. An assistant teacher sat with them for a while, then he left for a while, then he came back and WRESTLED with another assistant to the cheering of the students, then he left again. I tried to get them to play the "quiet game," but it was really just too loud. By then the janitor had come back from his break and sprayed the room, so we went back for folder-passing and stamping and to read a little Charlie and the Chocolate Factory amid the ant-killing fumes.

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Nina said...

gross... sorry, that just sounds awful. It reminds me of the termites on the window, do you remember?

7:12 PM, March 04, 2007  

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