I looked at my reflection in the mirror. Nope, no way to make this outfit look attractive. The white crew neck tee with the blue and orange logo large and spreading across my chest left much to be desired. I don't remember ever hearing in college that when you're a teacher, there will be days you'll be forced to put on clothes you wouldn't ordinarily wear out in public. Was that written in the contract and I somehow missed it? It was for a good cause, I supposed, and resignedly headed off to work.
As expected, energy was quite high at school as the students eagerly anticipated the main event of the day: the annual Fun Run.
The first indication that this day was destined to be a bit of a lost cause was when I was walking to class after the first bell and another teacher stopped me to fill me in on the misadventures of one of my students. Sheesh, the day had just officially started and already there were problems.
The fun continued when my class entered the room. Their Fun Run t-shirts were waiting for them on their desks.
"Put on your shirts and get ready for the run. We have to be out there in 15 minutes," I informed them. All around the room, exuberant third graders began to put on their shirts.
"I'm not going to wear this shirt," came a loud voice from the center of the room. I'd recognize that voice anywhere.
I walked over to K's desk.
"You need to put on your shirt," I repeated, trying my best to be patient. "We need to get ready for the Fun Run. Everyone's participating."
"I'm not participating. I didn't get any pledges. I'm not participating."
Ugh. This was going nowhere fast.
"Put on your shirt," I said one more time as I walked away. Fortunately, the girl sitting next to K somehow managed to convince him to put it on, so he was ready to go when it was time to line up.
I should have known it wouldn't end there. Watching the excited runners take off around the course, one runner caught my eye. There was K in the middle of the track, waddling like a one hundred year-old duck.
At the end of the race, everyone excitedly shared the number of laps they completed.
"I got 36!"
"I got 43!"
"I got 50!"
"I did 6."
Not bad for a one hundred year-old duck, I suppose.
After taking a class photo, we returned to our classroom for some much needed water, snacks, and rest. Maybe now that the kids had gotten some exercise and had a little recovery time, we would be able to get some work done.
"Mrs. Regan, my knee really hurts. I can barely walk," B said, with a wounded look on her face. She had told me the same thing immediately after the run, so I knew I wasn't going to be able to convince her that she would recover if she just sat down and rested for a bit. With a sigh, I reached for the health pass, filled it out and handed it to her, sending her on her merry way to the office.
"Mrs. Regan. . ." came another voice. "I have a blister."
Lifting up her foot, N slipped it out of her shoe to reveal her injury.
"You're not wearing socks," I pointed out.
"I know. We were in a real hurry this morning."
How do you not have time for socks? I wondered. Looking at her sad, woe-is-me face, I could see there was no way she would be satisfied with simply putting a band-aid on it. One more health pass and student number two was on her way to the office.
Even with two casualties, the show must go on.
"Okay, everybody, time to get out your math homework to correct," I said.
Looking around the room to make sure everyone did in fact have their math in front of them, I notice L. There he was, sitting quietly, ready to correct his homework, the paper cup from the water handed out at the run hanging off his ear.
Okay, a little strange, but we had just finished the run, so he was probably still just feeling the rush of the endorphins. Or something like that. I didn't really have a plausible explanation for why the cup reappeared on his ear after lunch and again after the final recess.
I have to say, though, that despite the resistance, the injuries, and the slightly odd behavior afterward, the Fun Run was indeed a fun event. For the most part anyway.