Friday, January 14, 2011

Tiny Town High

I said I was going to have to play catch up a bit. 

Wednesday was our first day in our new high school.  It was great fun taking our advisory students around on a tour of the building and finding lockers.  The locks had been installed at zero hour, so every hall had a construction person standing by to help with locker problems.  We worked combination locks, and students got used to the idea that there was a place for their coats and bags.
There was a ribbon cutting ceremony in our new auditorium with dignitaries seated on stage.  There were speeches by the Principal, Board Members, the Mayor, and the Superintendent.  We watched a video of Tiny Town High from the morning after the tornado to the present.  Then the staff joined the dignitaries on stage for the ribbon cutting.  Student body presidents from the last three years of Trailer High held the ribbon/banner.  There were some touching moments for those of us who had gone through the ordeal of losing our school and half of our town. 

We returned to class, and besides occassional visitors dropping by, our school day went on. 
A little brainwashing never hurts!
It was so hectic when the kids entered that I didn't take a single picture of students in the seats. We "toured" my room.  Actually, I told them where to find the textbook storage, the location of my "library" and where they could find the hand lotion and kleenex.  (Those had always been available in the bathroom.)

Speaking of bathrooms, I never thought I'd miss having one in my classroom. Actually, I don't miss the toilet, but I can't tell you how many times I have headed into my storage closet expecting to check my hair in the mirror (there isn't one) or thought that I'd empty the last of my coffee down the sink.  (There isn't a sink either.)  All adjustments take time, I guess.

A favorite moment of the day was when a student told me that I wasn't near as intimidating in this classroom as I was in the trailer.  What???!!  Maybe it was the fact that I was practically standing on top of them in the trailer that kept them in line.  My desk was about a foot from the front row of student desks.  When I walked in front of them, I was usually about 6-8 inches away from their desks. I guess you could say that I was on top of things.  Almost literally.

I am still adjusting to the fact that I can move freely around the room again. My whole teaching style changed while we were in the trailers, and I didn't even realize it. I can give every area of the room my attention now.  I had forgotten how much I was irritated by the confinement when we first moved into the trailers.  After a year of adjusting, I made the "confined" teacher work.  It is good to be "free" again. 

Having halls again is wonderful. 
It is so strange to see kids three or four times in one day.  And they seem shocked to see me that often, too. 

The whole way of dressing is changing.  Students have to be reminded to leave their coats in their lockers.  (Of course, they also have to be reminded to bring all their books to class.) I've seen a lot more cute shoes, and now I know what they have been wearing under those coats!  (Dress code issues, here we come!) 

After lunch I tried to help one little freshman who was having trouble with her locker combination. I couldn't get it to work either. That's when she discovered that instead of locker 62, which we were trying to get into, her locker was 61. And a big "DUH" to both of us!

One of the funniest things was when the first bells rang.  The students didn't budge.  They just sat there.  They haven't heard bells for two and a half years and didn't know what they were or what they were supposed to do.  We had to tell them it was time to go. One hour the bell didn't ring, but when the clock read the time of dismissal--the students all got up and moved to the door.  I had to remind them to wait for the bell. (And to think that when we first went into the trailers, we worried about how we would ever get along not having bells!)

At the end of the day, I stood in the crowded hallways and listened to them tell each other good-bye.  I haven't heard that for a long time.  Locker doors were slamming.  I heard a boy tell a girl to wait and he'd walk her to the bus.  (Sweet moments that I once took for granted. Not anymore!)  One girl grabbed me by the arm and said, "Mrs. E.!!  Look at this."  She held up a near empty backpack.  "There's almost nothing in here."  Chiropractors-0, Students-1.  I felt a bit misty as the halls emptied. 

I'm pretty sure I could get used to this again, but I hope I never forget what it was like doing without the things that I used to take for granted.


Kim said...

Thanks for the glimpse at your new digs! With all your town has been through, I don't think you will forget to appreciate things - big and small. Happy Friday!

Mary said...

I am so incredibly happy for y'all! I have tears in my eyes reading this!