February 24, 2011 Leave a comment
I have wanted to return to Meaghan’s classroom since my first visit on their 100th Day Celebration. I love working with kids, they make me smile as if I had slept with a hanger in my mouth. I left home at 10am and made the 50 minute drive to Fenton Avenue Charter School in Lakeview Terrace.
I signed in at the office and waited for Meaghan to come meet me. The kids had just been released for lunch so Meaghan and I headed to the cafeteria for her break. I stood inside the cafeteria, laughing that school cafeteria pizza has not changed. It’s still that same soft, rectangular pizza I ate at Lake Elmo Elementary when I was a child. Meaghan ordered herself Orange Chicken off the staff menu before we headed to the faculty lounge for lunch. I smiled on the inside, thinking of how mysterious the faculty lounge was to me when I was a child. We always thought that something really grand was going on in there. Grand, no. Simply a group of staff eating lunch discussing their lesson plans.
The staff bell rang and we headed to the recess area to meet the kids. We greeted the class, lined them up and returned to the room. They slowly settled themselves into their seats before Meaghan handed out a math test. After they all completed their tests we handed out materials for an art project. The kids were given a dozen pieces of shaped construction paper. After a series of simple folds and cuts, the finished project would look like Barack Obama.
We got about halfway through the art project when another teacher poked her head in to see if we wanted to join her class in checking out the book fair. We lined up again and headed to the Primary Center to view the books for sale. I always loved the book fair when I was little and as I walked around with the kids, I made a list in my head of what books I would have purchased.
We walked back to the classroom, finished our Obama pictures and began to clean up our mess. Shortly after clean-up started, the fire alarm went off. The kids lined up in a mild panic as Meaghan grabbed the fire extinguisher, a vest, a sign and a package filled with the kid’s emergency cards. I was shocked by all that she had to do in a fire drill. Not only because my memory of a fire drill was simply lining up and going out the playground, but because the kids were already in such a panic, how would they react should there really be a fire? We sat outside thinking it was a fire drill until a fire truck roared around the corner, stopping in front of the school. It was a guess that someone had pulled the fire alarm and the kids went wild with excitement when two firefighters stepped into the recess area. They waved like true heroes and all the kids waved back. It was pretty darn cute.
When all the madness was over we headed back the classroom and started watching Despicable Me, as the day was almost over. I sat staring at the kids, a little saddened that this was the last time I was going to see them. I looked at the little 7-year-old girl in front of me and wondered where she would be in 20 years. Would I recognize her if I saw her walking down the street? Where will she go in life and what will she do? I shifted my eyes to Meaghan as she began cleaning and organizing her classroom. I admire teachers. They work so much harder than anyone gives them credit for. They possess more patience than all those people in this world that judge their jobs as easy. They shape the futures that I sit here wondering about today.