Now. We’ve arrived back from the station. I’ve had a bit of a talk with them about line business and what-have you, and then we’re off to lunch (which is late and at the end of our day except for specials. Which means you would think my day was pretty much concluded. It wasn’t). I drop the kids off at lunch, tell the aides that it’s okay if they use the cafeteria restroom, as I didn’t really give them the opportunity to go beforehand, and exit for my own lunch.
When I come back to pick them up, I find out that one of my students, Teddy, had been in a fight in the bathroom. Apparently the aide was letting too many boys go to the bathroom at one time. I heard which students were involved, and called the one not from my class over to me first as my student is a good kid, but doesn’t shy from telling stories in a way that casts him in a more positive light.
So I hear the others student (Q’s) story, first, and then call mine over to get the other half. And this is what I piece together. As said, too many boys were in the bathroom at the same time, and when Teddy was in the stall, a student from a different classroom (J), opened the door on him, and Teddy felt like J was watching him pee. So, when Teddy walked out of the stall, he was very upset and angry. And Q, seeing this, thought Teddy was going to fight with J, so he tried to stop him. By holding his hand out. Into Teddy’s neck. Thus followed a slight scuffle.
After hearing the story, it made sense in my mind how it came about, and I could understand their sides. So I didn’t really punish them as talk with them about it for a bit, and then moved on.
I take my kids back to class, where we have time for a quick read-aloud and lesson at the rocking chair before specials. Thus do we do so. A few minutes into this, the students in my front row start making faces and groaning and holding their noses. This has happened before when a student has gas, so I repeat that that’s rude and you need to ignore. Not thinking any more of it, I line them up for specials – coach. They’re in line, I walk to the front, and immediately smell poop.
I quietly ask the first five students if any of them had accident. “No. No. No. No. No.” Oooookay. Maybe it’s in the hall. We start to walk down the hall. Still smell poop. I tell them to stop. I ask them individually again. “No. No. No. No. No.” I tell them to wait here. I walk to the end of the hall. Test the air. No poop. Call my students forward. The line stops where I am. Poop.
I ask again, still quietly, but more forcefully. One student admits to having had an accident. The student whose birthday it was (remember? The cupcakes? Time-out chair at the fire station? Yeah, him. Eddie.)
I take the class to coach, but keep him with me. I also kept back another student. One who had been pushing and whining and hanging on me almost the entire time since making it to the fire station. I take both to the clinic. The later to nap, the former to change his clothes.
But first, he tells me his story. Apparently, at lunch, Eddie asked to go the bathroom. The aide said yes, and he walked in, just as the “fight” happened, and he got nervous and left without going to the bathroom. Correction. He did go to the bathroom. Just in his pants. And he didn’t tell anyone. For thirty minutes.
So I drop the kids off at the clinic (the nurse loves me. She really does), and run back to my room. The nurse didn’t have any pants. I look around the closet and find an extra pair of pants, and bring it back to her, then rush back to my room again. At this point, I have maybe twenty minutes to fill out agendas (including a large note about Teddy. – my losing his sunglasses which I don’t mind reimbursing, and his sort-of fight, and about Eddie. – time-out at the fire-station and why he went poopy in his pants). I also have to put together their gifts from the fire-station – workbooks and hats. I’m working frantically when Eddie. comes back into the room. Still wearing his original shorts.
Me – “Eddie, you’re still wearing your shorts.”
Eddie – “Yeah.”
Me – “Why aren’t you wearing the pants I gave you?”
Eddie- “No. I’m wearing my shorts.”
Me – “I know you’re wearing your shorts. Why are you wearing them? You’re supposed to be wearing the pants.”
Eddie (exasperated) – “No! I’m wearing my shorts.”
This goes on for a good five minutes before I figure out that he apparently put up a fuss about his shorts, and the nurse gave up, smelled them, said they were fine, and let him wear them (though he did change his underwear).
At this point it’s time for me to grab my kids, and I haven’t finished getting everything together. The end of the day, by the way, is crazy. We have five minutes to get them back, get them packed, and get them out the door to their designated areas. And one of my students (Joseph), comes to me from V.E., and rides the first bus outside, which means we have to book it, and are always rushed.
So I grab him, go back for the kids, come back, frantically have them grab their backpacks, get their papers, and sit by me so I can finish handing out agendas and fire station goodies.
Eddie – “Do I have tutoring?”
Me – “No. It’s Friday. You never have tutoring on Friday. And don’t forget your clothes (the nurse had placed his dirty underwear in a plastic bag and given it to him)
The bell rings, we’re still getting ready. I line them up for buses, Joseph first.
Me - “Eddie! Do you have your bag?”
Eddie – “Yes.”
(Side note: I completely forgot to mention. Eddie had brought cupcakes, you’ll remember. At some point, after the fire station, we had them.)
At the last second I see Eddie’s extra container of cupcakes – which I had placed at his desk so he wouldn’t forget them – They were still sitting at his desk, so I grab them.
Me, to my bus line – “Okay, let’s…”
Student – “Mr. Gardner! I found this by the backpacks!”
I look down. It’s Eddie’s bag of dirty underwear. Awesome.
“I’ll take it. Okay. Let’s go!”
And I walk out the door, the bus riders lined up behind me. I go through the workroom, cut across another teacher’s classroom, open the door to the bus hallway. Look behind me. Annnnnnnnd, no students. No one had followed me. I turn around, still holding cupcakes and poopy underwear, head back through the classroom, through the workroom, and back into my classroom. My line is just standing there, with Joseph at the lead.
“Joseph! We have to go! Come on!” Turn back around, still holding cupcakes and poop, back through the workroom, back through the classroom, back into the hallway. No students. I spin around, run back to class. Joseph’s looking at me blankly while the students are yelling at him to go. “Come on! You’re going to miss the bus!” This time he and rest of the class follow me, and I’m practically rushing them through the hallway to busses, with the cupcakes and poopy underwear bag still in hand. I sit them down, get Joseph onto his bus, and turn around to give Eddie his missing items. Annnnnnnd, no Eddie.
No answer. I rush back down the hallway, still carrying poop and cupcakes, and almost run into Teddy. I ask him where Eddie is. “He said he had tutoring! I tried to tell him he didn’t!”
“I already told him he didn’t have tutoring! Go join the class.”
And I rush into my room. No Eddie. Check the bathroom. Nope. Run out the other door and to the cafeteria (where he meets for tutoring on the other days). Nope. I rush to the car riders. Still holding cupcakes and poop. Kids see me and try to give me hugs. “Not a good time…” as I, hold my prizes above shoulder level. Outside. No Eddie. Run back to busses. No Eddie. I load the other kids onto the bus. Exasperated, I call the office and have them do an all call for him. Sure enough, two minutes later, he shows up.
Me – “Eddie! Where were you???”
Eddie – “I thought I had tutoring!
Me – “I told you, you didn’t have tutoring! Where did you go?
Eddie – “To where we have snack.”
Me – “Even though no one else was there?”
Eddie – “Yes. I didn’t know.”
Me. – “Fine. Here are your cupcakes. Here’s your underwear.” I hand him his poop and cupcakes. “Now get on the bus.”
And that’s how I ended my field trip to the fire-station.