Walking up to my line of students waiting to be led to the classroom for the school day to begin, you could feel the excitement. Many were carrying extra bags overflowing with pillows and stuffed animals and favorite books to read. We had decided last week that we would do nothing but read, read, read for the first hour and a half of school to celebrate Read Across America Day. After being out sick last Thursday and Friday, I was looking forward to a little quiet time to get caught up on the mountain of paperwork piled high on my desk.
I wasn't too surprised or too worried when it took my class a while to find their spot, lay out their blankets, and settle down. Settling down quickly is a skill this particular group of kids hasn't quite mastered yet. After a few "Okay, we should all be settled down and quietly reading" announcements from me, they finally quieted down and began to read. Well, mostly. I found myself on several occasions winding my way between blankets and stuffed animals, trying not to step on outstretched legs as I made my way to the other side of the room to remind students they should be reading and not talking. Or throwing stuffed animals.
On one of my many passes through the obstacle course of third graders, one of my students approached me at the back of the room.
"Mrs. Regan, my neck hurts," J. whined.
"I'm sure that's just because of how you've been lying on the floor. Change your position," I suggested.
He quietly went back to his spot to continue reading and I returned to my desk once again. It wasn't long, though, before I was making my way back to the rear of the classroom. Once again, J. followed me.
"Mrs. Regan, my neck still hurts. And I feel like I'm going to throw up," he said.
Before I could respond, he bent forward and made a heaving motion. Shoot, he wasn't kidding! Quickly, I grabbed the nearby trash can and placed it in front of him. Thanks to my split-second timing not a drop of the vomit that promptly spewed from his mouth landed on the floor.
After sending him off to the office, trash can in hand, I returned to my desk wondering what other unexpected pleasures the day held in store.